Buzz on the Floor: CES 2014 Days 2 & 3 Recap

CES Survival KitLas Vegas and CES can be draining. (Hence the Day 2/Day 3 combo recap.) In addition to being on your feet from early in the morning to late at night, the dry air is a killer on the lips and the sinuses. And if you come to Las Vegas sick, plan on being sick the whole week and if you didn’t get sick while here, you’ll likely come down with something the week after. That’s what we sign up for every year and that’s what happens when you have 150,000 people from all over the world congregating in one spot!

What’s the talk of the show? It’s all about wearables. Google got a jump on this last year when they introduced Google Glass, but you can’t buy Google Glass just yet. On the other hand, smart watches are readily available from startups like Pebble to industry stalwarts like Samsung. Fitness trackers are another form of wearable computing that’s getting a lot of interest and we’ve had several conversations with media members here at the show who have proudly shown us how many steps they’re walking on an average day (7,000 to 12,000) as they criss-cross the convention center, the hotels and the parties.

The Slingbox booth has had its share of the action as well. Day 2 and 3 have been jam-packed for Sling Media with meetings, interviews, panels and fireside chats. Here are some highlights:

Digital Hollywood Hybrid TV Panel

Michael Hawkey, Sling Media’s General Manager and Senior VP, appeared on a panel discussing how CE manufactures, content owners, infrastructure companies and others are delivering the ultimate TV experience using broadcast, cable, premium and OTT content.

Engadget Fireside Chat

Hawkey also sat down with Engadget’s Richard Lawler for a one-on-one discussion on the Engadget Main Stage and discussed what Sling Media had been up to the last several months and what the company was focusing on in 2014. You can find the full interview here.

CES Live Interview

Brian Jaquet, Sling Media’s head of communications, sat down with Derek Kessler and John P. of GeekBeatTV to catch everyone up on the latest Slingbox news. That interview can be found here:

TechCrunch Tours Sling Media Booth

Chris Velazco of TechCrunch also dropped by the Slingbox booth to talk to Andy Panizza, one of our senior marketing managers, to get a quick rundown of what we’re showing at CES. Check it out the video here.

In Other News…

Finally, Parks Associates, the firm that put on the CONNECTIONS™ Summit at CES, released some interesting news today: More pay-TV subscribers want access to programs stored on their DVRs similar to the way Dish Network customers can use its Hopper with Sling product to watch video from set-tops inside and outside their homes on any Internet-connected device.

“Remote access to DVR content was the most popular among pay-TV households without that service,” John Barrett, Parks Associates’ director of consumer analytics, stated.

Parks Associates conducted a survey that found 31% of pay-TV subs want DVRs that provide access to DVR content. This number was greater than the number of subs wanting a TV Everywhere authenticated solution. Since Sling Media focuses on delivering content across all your screens both inside and outside of the home, this is no surprise to us, but definitely reaffirming.

You can find a link to the article and the Parks Associates press release here.

If you made it to Day 4 and you’re still standing, come see us at the Slingbox booth, #8243, in the Central Hall.

Weather, Controversy and Meltdowns Dominate Day 1 at CES 2014

North Avenue Beach, Lake Michigan, Chicago, Polar Vortex

There are 150,000+ people here in Las Vegas for the annual tech pilgrimage to the Consumer Electronics Show. Talk on the street has been about how many people aren’t here due to the Polar Vortex gripping the Midwest (Lake Michigan’s North Avenue Beach in Chicago, pictured right) and East Coast. EchoStar, Sling Media’s parent company, was not immune from being impacted when the head of investor relations couldn’t make it out of Washington DC and therefore wasn’t able to moderate the company’s annual Analyst Breakfast, which took place Tuesday morning.

CES signageTuesday was the first day the floor was officially open to attendees and also marked the first of several keynote presentations, including Yahoo’s Marissa Mayer, Sony’s Kaz Hirai and Cisco’s John Chambers . However, all the talk Tuesday morning was about John Legere, T-Mobile’s charismatic CEO, who got kicked out of the AT&T Developer Party the night before. Was it a stunt or did Legere just want to see the Macklemore concert? I guess we’ll never know for sure.

Sling Media had a busy opening day with SVP/GM Michael Hawkey participating on a panel at the Parks Associates’ CONNECTIONS™ Summit here at the Las Vegas Convention Center. We announced we are a 2014 International CES Innovations Design and Engineering Awards Honoree for the recently introduced SlingPlayer for iPad. We published our second infographic on How People Sling that also charts the top shows watched via Slingbox products and other products that use Sling Technology (like the Hopper with Sling).

Finally, the day would not be complete without a teleprompter meltdown. For that, we turn to Michael Bay, the renowned director of movie hits including Transformers. Bay was on-stage at the Samsung keynote to lend his support for a new technology Samsung was showing when the teleprompter went haywire, forcing Bay to improvise. Unfortunately, that didn’t last long and Bay got flustered and ran off stage. He later tweeted a mea culpa that quickly started trending at the show.

If you’re at CES, come on by and see us at Booth 8243 in the Central Hall for a demo. Ask us for the special discount (our biggest ever) or, better yet, find out how you can win a Slingbox 500 + Roku LT – both exclusive to CES attendees. Check back here tomorrow for a recap of Day 2!

 

SlingPlayer for iPad Receives 2014 CES Innovations Honor

Sling Media's SVP/GM Michael Hawkey holding the 2014 CES Innovations Award.

Our hard work has paid off!

Today, the revamped SlingPlayer for iPad was recognized as a 2014 International CES Innovations Design and Engineering Awards Honoree by a judging panel of independent industrial designers, engineers and trade media. SlingPlayer for iPad was selected for its outstanding design and engineering in cutting-edge consumer electronic products. (Sling Media’s SVP/GM Michael Hawkey is pictured right, holding the award.)

Last October, we launched SlingPlayer for iPad and talked about it on the Slingbox blog.  It is the ultimate first and second screen app. for use by Slingbox owners both inside and outside the home and includes the following features.

  • Watch home TV content on the most popular Internet-connected PCs, Macs, tablets or smartphones – virtually anywhere in the world.
  • Discover content with the rich, visually appealing interface that enables easy navigation with a single tap of the screen.
  • Take advantage of the split-screen navigation to browse other content in the guide, view show details or engage on social media – all while streaming live TV.
  • Use the iPad as an in-home remote control.
  • Look up stats of your favorite sports teams or athletes – while watching the live game.
  • Use Thuuz’s sports discovery engine that rates the excitement level of each game in real time to determine which games are worth watching at any given time.

Check out the press release for full details or, if you’re at the show, drop by for a live demo of SlingPlayer for iPad at Booth 8234 in the Central Hall and meet some of the key members of the product team.

Ringing in 2014 at CES

2014 CES logoEvery January, two things happen:

(1)    The world celebrates the New Year.

(2)    Sling Media goes to Las Vegas for the Consumer Electronics Show (CES).

January 2014 is no exception.

From Tuesday, January 7th through Friday, January 10th, Sling Media will be at CES with flying colors, showing off our latest products, including new features on the Slingbox 500:

  • Blockbuster On Demand
  • DishWorld

…as well as some new SlingPlayer apps:

  • SlingPlayer for Windows 8
  • SlingPlayer for iPad
  • SlingPlayer for Roku

If you’re in town for the show, visit us at Booth #8243 in the Central Hall of the Las Vegas Convention Center and ask us for a demo. We might even have some cool giveaways, contests and special promotions going on, too. Drop by and say hi!

Don’t worry if you’re not going to be in Vegas. We’ll keep you up-to-date on what we see, do, say. We’ll be live-tweeting throughout the show and during speaking engagements. Check back here at the end of each day for a quick recap of the day’s events.

On Monday, January 6th, we’ll also be at Pepcom’s Digital Experience! event at the Mirage Hotel & Casino, 7-10 pm, for tech media to get a preview of what will be displayed at the main show.

Until then, Happy New Year!

Slingbox 350 Launches in Brazil

eMarketer statistics on Brazil's Internet usage based on sports interestsSling Media launched the Slingbox 350 in Brazil today, with positive reception from local media and tech enthusiasts. Why Brazil?  A few reasons:

First, Brazil is online. According to Internet World Stats, out of the 199 million people who populate the country, 46 percent are surfing the Web, making it the largest market for Internet usage among all Latin American countries. eMarketer suggests that this percentage will continue to grow over the next few years.

Second, the mobile phone industry in Brazil has experienced significant growth. Back in 2011, Brazil had more mobile Internet users than fixed broadband users, according to eMarketer. The organization also predicted that by 2015, 69 percent of the population will have a mobile phone.

Graffiti in Brazil for 350 launchThird, Brazilians are driven to the Internet by their intense passion for sports. Online videos and updated sports news are important to them (see chart above). Now that the Slingbox 350 is available in Brazil, TV accessibility is expected to become a priority to avid sports fans as the World Cup, coming in June 2014, and the 2016 Summer Olympics will increase the demand for an affordable, high-quality “TV Anywhere” solution.

Stay tuned for news on future global launches.

How TV Intersects with Social Media

Social TV“Who is the Next Doctor?”

In August 2013, the BBC generated excitement and mystery around the 12th actor to assume the role of Doctor Who by posing this question on BBC stations throughout the world. On a special live broadcast, called Doctor Who Live: The Next Doctor, the network revealed the new actor (Peter Cataldi), and social media activity exploded. Fans flocked to Twitter, Facebook, GetGlue and Viggle to voice their opinions, making it the No. 1 ranked show with the most social media activity in a given day, according to Trendrr.tv.

Doctor Who is one among many TV shows that receives a good amount of social media activity. Content creators, like the BBC, recognize the relationship between TV and social media and how one affects the other. But why is this happening? Why do people turn to social media as they watch TV?

To understand the connection between TV and social media, Viacom, the mass media heavyweight, conducted a study (May 2013), in search of answers to the following questions:

  • What drives audiences to social media?
  • How does social media activity affect viewing behavior?

The goal was to figure out how to extend the life of their programs beyond the televised broadcasts.  How can content creators drive conversations off-screen and strengthen connections between fans, shows and characters?

The study revealed three distinct motivations that drive TV viewers to social media:

  • Functional: Updates, news, schedules
  • Communal: Connect with shows and other fans
  • Playful: Show-related games, quizzes, freebies

In addition to Doctor Who, here are a few other examples that illustrate how TV and social media are intersecting and creating the new virtual, real-time water cooler:

  • Jimmy Fallon, host of Late Night with Jimmy Fallon, asked his audience to tweet made-up spoilers for the series finale of Breaking Bad with #fakebreakingbadspoilers. It became one of the top trending hashtags at the time.
  • Live programs – like the Oscar Awards and sports games — often receive a good amount of Twitter action because people can tweet as the action is happening. According to Trendrr.TV, the Super Bowl received three times more social media activity in 2013 than in 2012.
  • The Red Wedding episode of The Game of Thrones inspired a ton of tweets that resulted in even more blog posts, articles and YouTube videos.
  • CBS designated a week in April 2013 as “Tweet Week,” where TV-show celebs tweeted – along with their fans — as their respective programs were broadcasted. Fans and celebs were able to interact with each other.
  • AMC created the official Mad Men blog, but other indie blogs have cropped up that are just as popular, giving fans multiple ways to connect with the show.
  • Even Slingbox owners can watch their cable channels on their own Facebook page or invite their Facebook friends to watch in a web browser.

What other ways do TV and social media intersect for you? Go to Twitter (@Slingbox) and weigh in (#slingsocialTV).