Arris Gives Sling a Shot
After years of effort, Sling Media Inc. has finally found a way to slingshot itself into the cable industry.
Arris Group Inc. has announced a new Media Streamer 4000 product that features Sling technology for streaming live and recorded content -- up to four simultaneous HD streams -- to tablets, smartphones, and other mobile devices. The new streamer pairs with the Arris MG5000 Media Gateway and the company's MOXI whole-home platform.
The MS 4000 will be commercially available to all of Arris's service provider customers late in the first quarter of next year. The company will be demonstrating the product at this week's IBC conference in Amsterdam.
Arris has talked about pursuing a Sling-like approach since 2009, but not about partnering with the company directly. The deal marks a major triumph for Sling, which so far has been tied exclusively to satellite TV provider and cable rival Dish Network Corp. in the service provider channel. (See Arris Crafting Its Own Video Sling 2009.)
According to Sling General Manager Michael Hawkey, "Arris reached out to us and said 'hey, you have all the pieces needed to make this a reality. You can bring [TV] any time, any place. You're TV Everywhere.'"
Hawkey also noted that pursuing the service provider channel does not mean Sling isn't equally devoted to the retail market. "They're both critical, vital parts of the Sling business growth," he says.
Arris initially had another place-shifting solution in its product line-up: the Televation product that it inherited from its acquisition of Motorola Home earlier this year. However, the company made it clear at The Cable Show in June that Televation had essentially run its course. (See Arris Shows Off New Mojo.)
In a statement to Light Reading, Arris product manager Frank Pantuso called Televation "the first of its kind and one of the first true multi-screen products." He went on to say, however, that "we continue to support current Televation customers -- but are moving forward with a new and expanded portfolio to support evolving and next-gen content experiences."
Pantuso also emphasized that the new Sling solution is targeted at small-to-mid-size service providers. When asked about initial customer response to the product, he said Arris is "seeing lots of great interest from our service provider customers. Expect to see more announcements in the coming weeks/months… stay tuned."
— Mari Silbey, special to Light Reading Cable