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Video hardware

Arris Goes Exclusive With Sling

Arris has signed an exclusive deal with Echostar-owned Sling Media to be the sole-source provider of Sling technology to the cable and telecom market.

The announcement comes barely a month after Arris Group Inc. (Nasdaq: ARRS) and Sling Media Inc. jointly introduced the Media Streamer 4000. The standalone transcoding product features Sling technology for streaming live and recorded content and pairs with the Arris MG5000 Media Gateway and MOXI whole-home platform. (See Arris Gives Sling a Shot.)

Arris and Sling plan to roll out their technology in three phases. In the first phase, Arris will sell its integrated MS4000 solution. In the second, it will bring Sling functionality to new headed and headless video gateways in the Arris portfolio. In the third, the company will license Sling technology to third-party hardware devices, which could include set-tops from competitors like Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO) and Pace plc .

Despite its success with Dish Network LLC (Nasdaq: DISH) and at retail, Sling has had a difficult time breaking in to the cable and telecom markets. According to Sling Vice President and General Manager Michael Hawkey, the company was looking for a new way to approach potential pay-TV customers, and for a partner who could be a "very strong leader in technology and sales effort[s]." In detailing why Sling decided to do an exclusive partnership deal, Hawkey told us that Arris has a strong industry presence and an important end-to-end solution. He called the company the "predominant and premier provider in [the cable and telecom] world."

For Arris' part, Vice President of Business Development Mark Depietro explained that the deal with Sling is not an unusual one, and that it mirrors a strategy the company has employed with other technology solutions like SecureMedia and DreamGallery. In both of those cases, Arris can integrate with other hardware providers.

Depietro also explained how the licensing part of the new deal would work, stating that Arris is now "effectively a reseller of the Sling technology." The contractual side of any licensing agreements will be handled by Arris, while future hardware integration will be managed by both Arris and Sling.

When asked about possible upcoming customer deployments, Arris and Sling agreed that new announcements are expected shortly. The companies have said officially that the Arris MS4000 with Sling technology will launch in early 2014.

— Mari Silbey, Special to Light Reading Cable

albreznick 10/17/2013 | 5:35:12 PM
Re: The changing market So who will be next to break down the cable walls? Apple? Sony? Intel? The mind boggles at all the possibilities. 
msilbey 10/16/2013 | 6:23:13 PM
Re: The changing market The Sling team clearly understands that they haven't been successful on the cable and telco front. I agree that Sling needed this deal more than Arris did.

At the same time, Sling brings a cool factor to the deal, and the timing is certainly right on both sides for this partnership. Look at TiVo and the reports of progress in talks with Netflix. The cable MSOs are opening up.
albreznick 10/16/2013 | 5:13:40 PM
Re: The changing market I wouldn't be surprised if Arris insisted on the exclusivity, Dan. But I think they got it because Sling needed this deal even more than Arris did. Sling has been desperately trying to break into the cable market for years without success. This deal gives them the access they've been seeking. What say you, Mari?
albreznick 10/16/2013 | 5:13:01 PM
Re: The changing market I wouldn't be surprised if Arris insisted on the exclusivity, Dan. But I think they got it because Sling needed this deal even more than Arris did. Sling has been desperately trying to break into the cable market for years without success. This deal gives them the access they've been seeking. What say you, Mari?
albreznick 10/16/2013 | 5:12:13 PM
Re: The changing market I wouldn't be surprised if Arris insisted on the exclusivity, Dan. But I think they got it because Sling needed this deal even more than Arris did. Sling has been desperately trying to break into the cable market for years without success. This deal gives them the access they've been seeking. What say you, Mari?
DOShea 10/16/2013 | 4:32:53 PM
The changing market You can make an argument that Arris might have more to gain from this partnership, given the rising importance of alternative set-tops and retail OTT gear to service providers. Was it Arris that wanted the exclusivity?
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