Since its inception, the Slingbox has been a tough pill for some broadcasters to swallow, and while many were screaming injustice, Sling Media declared its flagship product a model of fair use. Apparently some of the accusations have prompted changes, as Sling's latest firmware upgrade adds encryption to the Slingbox's video streams, contrary to its previously encryption-free process. Presumably in reaction to the demands of content owners and the media industry, this encryption should at least appease those who don't want any streamed content to end up being illegally distributed. But the alteration has caused at least one piece of add-on timeshifting software to become defunct. The At-Large Recorder (previously the Replay SlingCorder) from Applian Technologies had allowed users to record their streamed data directly onto a computer, but now cannot function due to the added layer of encryption, causing its CEO to rail against the decision, saying, "They basically added a feature that nobody asked for, for reasons that they're not willing to discuss, and it happens to break our product too." A spokesperson for Sling claimed that encryption had been in the works for awhile, and the timing here is "completely coincidental," despite Sling's previous run-in with Applian, where they obliged the software company change the name of its Replay SlingCorder product. While the upgrade was likely a defensive move to appease an ever-wary content industry, Sling has stifled some extended functionality with the update; exactly how much choice Sling was left regarding the matter when facing the mighty media regulators we may never know, but for the time being there is a number of Applian customers not too stoked by Sling's decision.

[Via Techdirt]

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Slingbox encryption upgrade limits functionality