Sling ups the app ante: Android and iOS updates add Roku support, Windows 8 app on deck

Slingbox users are getting improved mobile apps, Roku compatibility, and -- soon -- even a dedicated Windows 8 app.

SlingPlayer 3.0
John P. Falcone/CNET
The Xbox One isn't the only gadget that's got a bull's-eye on your television viewing. Slingbox owners are about to get quite a few additional options when streaming live TV.

The new SlingPlayer 3.0 apps for Android and iOS, available today, offer an overhauled user interface with a variety of improvements on both platforms. Among the upgrades delivered are improved guide data for better program discoverability and filtering; accompanying statistical data during live sporting events; and in-app Twitter and Facebook integration. (See the video embedded below for a sneak peek of the new app in action.)

The app remains priced at $14.99 for both platforms (the iOS version is not universal, so it requires separate purchases on iPhone/iPod Touch and iPad).

SlingPlayer comes to Roku
Sling is also adding a Roku channel for the first time. The Roku app turns any recent Roku box into a SlingPlayer client, allowing Slingbox users to watch their video streams on a big-screen TV. The Roku app is free, but it can't work without the help of a mobile device. The Roku channel can only be manipulated from the iPhone or Android apps (the Roku control functionality will be added to the iPad app in the near future) using onscreen touch controls. However, because the user log-in and authentication happens on the phone, that means Slingbox owners can stream to a friend's Roku without inputting any username or password info into the Roku itself; the phone and the Roku just need to be on the same network.

The addition of Roku streaming comes less than a month after Sling enabled AirPlay support for Apple TV, which allowed iPad and iPhone owners to display live TV streams on that media box as well. (SlingPlayer apps were already available on the WD TV Live, the Sony Internet Player with Google TV, and Netgear NeoTV family of products, but those have far smaller install bases than Apple and Roku.)

The SlingPlayer app should be available on most 2011 and later Roku models soon. Sling says the Roku 3, Roku 2 XD, Roku 2 XS, Roku HD 2012, Roku LT 2012, and the Roku Streaming Stick could see it hit as early as today, with the Roku 1, Roku 2, and Roku LT 2013 following next week.

SlingPlayer Roku app
EchoStar

Windows 8.1 dedicated app coming soon
Slingbox owners have long been able to access their TV streams on the Web via Sling's free browser-based client, but the company now has the latest version of Windows set in its sights for a dedicated app. Expect a touch-enabled Windows app to be available by the end of December on Windows 8.1 and RT 8.1 devices, including Surface tablets.

 

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