SlingTV Connects With YouTube

Place-Shifting Device Blends Live TV With OTT
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Sling Media has rolled out several new YouTube-facing enhancements for its top-shelf model, the SlingTV, including a feature that lets users “snack” on YouTube videos that are relevant to what’s on live TV.

This new “contextual” YouTube overlay presents a row of relevant YouTube thumbnails on the lower one-third of the TV screen. Rather than generating those relevant YouTube videos by pulling metadata from the live TV show, the system bases those results on built in automatic content recognition (ACR) technology from Audible Magic that “listens” to what’s happening on-screen.

In this video demonstration of the feature (at the 6:40 mark, and appropriately posted to YouTube), the system pulls up YouTube videos relevant to NBC’s Saturday Night Live.  

That’s one of a set of YouTube features Sling Media has added to the $300 SlingTV (the model formerly known as the Slingbox 500). In addition to a new standalone YouTube app (with resolution up to 1080p), the SlingTV also features a tab in the Gallery View that shows top trending videos from the YouTube universe.

Sling Media will use the YouTube enhancements to mount more interest in the SlingTV, a complement to the M1, its recently launched mainstream video place-shifting model. Sling Media hasn’t revealed Slingbox sales figures, but the company said in July that there are “millions” of users in the market.

Integrating YouTube is a budding trend in the pay-TV universe. While TiVo has supported YouTube for years, UPC Hungary, the unit of Liberty Global, integrated YouTube at the set-top box earlier this year using a cloud-powered platform from ActiveVideo Networks. The idea has proven to be a hit so far, with the MSO reporting that 80% of UPC Hungary customers who access YouTube via the set-top return for repeat views.