Slingplayer comes to the Amazon Fire TV and Fire TV Stick!

You’ve probably seen those commercials with Gary Busey, being as Busey-like as possible, using Amazon’s Fire TV and Fire TV Stick. He makes such points as how much more useful the Fire TV Stick is than a seashell:

As of today, the Fire TV products can boast yet another feature that seashells don’t have: a version of our Slingplayer app! Along with Roku, Chromecast and Apple TV, this adds another option for our customers who want a way to watch their home TV content on a second TV, anywhere in the world with an Internet connection.

Like all Slingplayer products, our Fire TV app lets you access your home cable or satellite programming, live or recorded, with no restrictions whatsoever. Whether that means setting up a Fire TV at a vacation home in another country, bringing a Fire TV Stick to a friend’s house if you want to watch a game on a channel only you get, or simply setting up a second TV in your own home, this is another way that Slingbox lets you maximize the value of the TV you already pay for.

The Slingplayer for Fire TV app is compatible with the Slingbox M1, Slingbox 500 and Slingbox 350. With sufficient bandwidth, the app is capable of delivering an HD picture, and it does not require a phone or tablet app to control set-top box commands — the Fire TV remote is all you need for it. The Slingplayer for Fire TV app is available now, for free, in the Fire TV app store.

Top 10 most watched of the week (entertainment): Sons of Anarchy finale hits the list

Your 10 most watched programs of the week on Slingbox, non-sports edition, were as follows. Check after the list for a few quick thoughts on this week’s most watched home entertainment:

1. Today
2. Good Morning America
3. The Big Bang Theory
4. Fox and Friends
5. Law & Order: Special Victims Unit
6. America’s Newsroom
7. Sons of Anarchy
8. The O’Reilly Factor
9. The Voice
10. Family Guy

The biggest TV event of the week was the series finale of Sons of Anarchy, which ended up being the most-watched episode in the series’ seven-year history, but ultimately it only rose to No. 7 on our list. Rather surprising that the number of people watching the FX drama, both live and people watching their pre-recorded programs, did not add up a higher place on the top 10.

Morning shows once again dominated the top two spots, and we’ve also been seeing quite an uptick in news programs (specifically, Fox News programs) like Fox and Friends, America’s Newsroom and The O’Reilly Factor in recent weeks. Is it possible that during holiday shopping, Slingbox users are tuning into the news to watch shows while waiting in line?

We’ll be back later with our sports top 10.

Watch Slingbox M1 appear on The Price is Right! [VIDEO]

December 12, 2014, was a big day for The Price is Right — not only was it longtime former host Bob Barker’s 91st birthday, but it was also the day that our Slingbox M1 made an appearance on the legendary daytime game show.

Presenter Rachel Reynolds introduced the M1 (along with an iPad, to watch on with Slingplayer) as a “hot item for my husband David’s present this year,” as needless to say, we agree. (Especially since David is former MLB player David Dellucci, and Slingbox is the only way to watch all your sports online anywhere.)

Everyone in the audience received a free M1, and it was a blast to be a part of the show! Watch the segment below:

Top 10 most watched of the week (sports): NCAA football contenders reveal themselves

Your 10 most watched programs of the week on Slingbox, sports edition, were as follows. Check after the list for a few quick thoughts on this week’s most watched live sports:

1. NFL: Cowboys vs. Bears
2. NFL: Falcons vs. Packers
3. NFL: Patriots vs. Chargers
4. SportsCenter
5. NFL: Seahawks vs. Eagles
6. CFB: Alabama vs. Missouri
7. CFB: Florida State vs. Georgia Tech
8. CFB: Arizona vs. Oregon
9. NFL: Colts vs. Browns
10. Liga MX soccer

We always see Slingbox users watching college football online, but that happened a little more than usual this week. Three of the four teams who punched a ticket to the College Football Playoff — Alabama, Oregon and Florida State — showed up on our list. (The fourth, Ohio State, came in at No. 11 with its matchup against Wisconsin.) On January 1 the Crimson Tide will play the Buckeyes in the Sugar Bowl, and the Ducks will play the Seminoles in the Rose Bowl, and the winners of the semi-finals will meet in the College Football Championship Game in Arlington, Texas on January 12. We’re looking forward to seeing how many Slingbox users will be watching football anywhere for those events.

Meanwhile, the NFL of course maintained its usual huge presence on the list, and the most popular game this week saw Dallas trounce Chicago 41-28 at Soldier Field. And, Liga MX turned in another impressive showing to ensure we didn’t have an all-American football top 10 like last week.

We’ll be back next week with another set of top 10s.

Top 10 most watched of the week (entertainment): Friends reruns are there for you

Your 10 most watched programs of the week on Slingbox, non-sports edition, were as follows. Check after the list for a few quick thoughts on this week’s most watched home entertainment:

1. Today
2. Good Morning America
3. The Big Bang Theory
4. Law & Order: Special Victims Unit
5. SpongeBob SquarePants
6. Family Guy
7. Friends
8. Fox and Friends
9. Criminal Minds
10. Modern Family

For the most part, Slingbox users’ live TV online habits were typical this week. Morning shows atop the list, SpongeBob, lots of people watching network comedy or drama shows abroad or at home, a sitcom that went off the air 10 years ago … wait, what?

Yes, Friends somehow snuck onto the list, helped no doubt by its heavy rerun schedule. Why this week in particular made people especially likely to want to hang out at Central Perk isn’t clear to me, but hey, why not? Friends is not be confused with Fox and Friends, which, despite what you might think, was not a crossover in which David Duchovny’s X-Files character investigates possibly alien fossils discovered by Ross. We know lots of people use their Slingboxes to watch local news internationally, but plenty of people use them to watch cable news shows too.

We’ll be back tomorrow with our sports top 10.

9 shocking live awards show surprises (that you wouldn’t have missed with a Slingbox)

6883792695_f479ee1158_oThere are certain TV events that you have to watch live if you’re going to watch at all, and awards shows are most definitely in this category. So what do you do if you’re out doing errands, on a business trip, or on a vacation in another country while they’re happening? Situations like these are why we created Slingbox — so you can watch anything on your home TV, on any mobile device, with no restrictions whatsoever. While Slingbox may not have existed for some of these awards show shockers, it sure would have been helpful if it had — and luckily, it exists now for any future moments like them.

Rocky: Best Picture, Oscars, 1976

If you remember the end of the boxing classic, you’ll recall that the scrappy Philadelphia underdog turned in an inspiring performance against, but did not actually defeat, overwhelming favorite Apollo Creed. The same can’t be said of the movie itself: Despite facing off against cinematic heavyweights All the President’s Men, Network and Taxi Driver, Rocky still managed to come out on top.

Jethro Tull: Best Hard Rock/Metal Performance, Grammys, 1988

’88 marked the first year the Grammys attempted to honor heavy metal. According to many angry fans, the result proved they didn’t know how to do so. Instead of genre titans Metallica, the win went to Tull, who were more known for flute-tinged, folksy, early-’70s prog rock. The band’s members reacted with bemusement, as frontman Ian Anderson joked, “”Well, we do sometimes play our mandolins very loudly.”

Metallica ended up winning the award six times thereafter. And to be fair to everyone involved, certain songs on the winning album Crest of a Knave did rock fairly hard:

Katherine Heigl: Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series, Emmys, 2007

Quick, who’s the only actor on Grey’s Anatomy to win an Emmy? Title character-portrayer Ellen Pompeo? Breakout star Patrick Dempsey? Longtime favorites Sandra Oh or Chandra Wilson? All wrong — it’s Heigl, who played Dr. Isobel Stevens for six of the medical drama’s 11 (and counting) seasons. She was so surprised to win (Oh and Wilson were also nominated) that the cameras captured her uttering an expletive upon the announcement of her victory.

Avenue Q: Best Musical, Tonys, 2004

Wicked was (and still is) one of the biggest phenomenons in Broadway history, and no one thought for a second it would fail to win the Tonys’ top prize in ’04. And then it did — to a formerly Off-Broadway show starring foul-mouthed and sexually explicit puppets.

avenue q

This was seen as theater’s ultimate David-beats-Goliath moment, but as always, the truth is more complicated than it looks. There’s a fascinating story behind the upset — Avenue Q had quietly launched an unprecedentedly aggressive campaign to win, challenging voters to “vote your heart.” In other words, they said, vote for the universally praised and unique Avenue Q over the lucrative but relatively old-fashioned and middlingly-reviewed Wicked.

Emil Jannings: Best Actor, Oscars, 1928

Okay, so even if Slingbox had existed back then, you still couldn’t have seen this one — the first Academy Awards were the only ones not broadcasted on either radio or TV. But if you were an Academy voter in the room, you may have been surprised — the real winner of the first Best Actor Oscar, according to biographer Susan Orlean, was one of the biggest box office draws of the time, Rin Tin Tin. And the Academy refused to give him the Oscar just on the minor technicality of his being a dog.

Jannings would end up returning to his native Germany to make Nazi propaganda films during World War II — confirming that the Academy erred in not awarding the true, canine, winner.

Mary-Louise Parker: Best Actress in Musical or Comedy Television Series, Golden Globes, 2005

Desperate Housewives was dominating the TV world in the mid-’00s, and nowhere was that more evident than in the nominees for this category. Marcia Cross, Teri Hatcher, Felicity Huffman and Eva Longoria were all nominated, leaving room for only one non-Housewife: Parker, for her role as a drug-dealing suburban mom in Weeds.

Perhaps the fact that the Housewives vote was split four ways made this result unsurprising, but it didn’t seem to reflect the show’s ubiquity at the time. Bonus fun fact: Parker was actually offered Hatcher’s role on Desperate Housewives first, but turned it down to do Weeds instead.

Arcade Fire: Album of the Year, Grammys, 2011

The nominees in this category didn’t lack for star power: Recording industry giants Eminem, Katy Perry, Lady Antebellum and Lady Gaga all were recognized. But the award ended up going to hipster legends Arcade Fire for their album The Suburbs, which until that moment had seemed squarely in the “it’s-an-honor-just-to-be-nominated” category.

No one was more surprised than the Grammys’ producers — Arcade Fire’s performance segment concluded right before the announcement, leaving them to hear the news backstage.

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The Practice: Outstanding Drama Series, Emmys, 1999

Today we’re accustomed to cable ruling prestige television. In the ’10s thus far, only three broadcast network shows have been nominated for Outstanding Drama Series (PBS’ Downton Abbey, CBS’ The Good Wife and NBC’s Friday Night Lights). Every single other slot has gone to AMC, HBO, Netflix and Showtime.

So it’s easy to forget that until 1999, no cable series had ever been nominated. That was the year The Sopranos announced it was time to take cable series seriously, and everyone expected it to make the biggest statement of all on Emmy night. Turned out the voters weren’t quite ready: They gave the award to ABC’s legal drama for the second year in a row. NBC’s The West Wing won the next four years after that, and it wasn’t until 2004 that The Sopranos, and cable, finally broke through.

Johnny Depp: Best Actor, SAG Awards, 2003

The Screen Actors Guild Awards are particularly reliable predictors of the Academy Awards — they are currently running an impressive streak of 10 consecutive years (and counting) where their choice for Best Actor lines up with the Oscars. The last time that didn’t occur? ’03, when Johnny Depp won for a role that, while iconic, might not be what most people think of as awards fodder: Captain Jack Sparrow in Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl.

Header image credit: Prayitno/Flickr

Top 10 most watched of the week (sports): Thanksgiving football rules the roost

Your 10 most watched programs of the week on Slingbox, sports edition, were as follows. Check after the list for a few quick thoughts on this week’s most watched live sports:

1. NFL: Eagles vs. Cowboys
2. NFL: Bears vs. Lions
3. NFL: Patriots vs. Packers
4. NFL: Seahawks vs. 49ers
5. SportsCenter
6. NFL: Broncos vs. Chiefs
7. Liga MX soccer
8. CFB: Auburn vs. Alabama
9. NFL: Dolphins vs. Jets
10. CFB: Michigan vs. Ohio St.

Thanksgiving may have disrupted our non-sports top 10, but it only strengthened the status quo in sports: Slingbox users’ desire to watch football anywhere was surely increased by the three NFL games on Thanksgiving. The traditional Cowboys and Lions games came in 1-2, while Turkey Day’s third contest, the NFC showdown between Seattle and San Francisco, was No. 4. The highest non-Thanksgiving game was the 26-21 Green Bay win over New England.

As for the non-NFL action? SportsCenter held down its customary spot — I wonder how many Slingbox users on vacation over the holiday watched ESPN on Roku, Chromecast, Apple TV or FireTV. Liga MX was once again the lone non-(American) football entrant, and two huge rivalry games in the college ranks made it as well.

We’ll be back next week with another set of top 10s.