We've been waiting to get our hands on the SlingCatcher ever since it was announced at CES in 2007 (and re-announced at this past CES) but it looks like we'll have to wait a little longer -- Gregg Wilkes, Sling's VP of sales, has said the product won't be released this quarter as scheduled, but rather sometime later this year. Sling hasn't made this announcement publicly, though: Gregg simply emailed a would-be customer his apologies, saying Sling was committed to providing a "compelling and enjoyable user experience and value proposition," and that the SlingCatcher is still being refined. He also mentioned that Sling's recent acquisition by EchoStar has gummed up the works a bit, but that "all indications point" to a SlingCatcher release in 2008. So reassuring considering the product is already a year late. We talked to our friends at Sling and while they wouldn't comment directly on the contents of the email, they did say the SlingCatcher will only be released when the company "is confident it's designed to our high standards." Yep, that's a delay. Full email exchange after the break.

[Thanks, Christopher]

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As an owner of a Slingbox Solo looking to put the feed onto a big screen without the use of a laptop, I've been anxiously awaiting the arrival of the SlingCatcher. It was announced at the 2007 CES and set to be released the middle of 2007, then pushed back to the fall, then announced again at the 2008 CES (despite having already passed FCC testing late near the end of 2007). The only word on a release date is 'sometime in 2Q08.'

Now, I understand that being bought by EchoStar can mean delays and changes to business plans, but this is getting absurd. We're a week into 2Q08 and there no SlingCatcher for sale, no release date announced...heck, there isn't even a date of when they'll announce a release date for the SlingCatcher. As I said, I understand delays, but it's a very poor business model to completely leave your consumers in the dark. The only thing you're doing is driving the consumers to competitor products like HAVA.

As want to eliminate connecting my laptop to my TV to display the Slingbox feed on a larger display, the SlingProjector and Clip+Sling have very little appeal to me right now. You've driven me to the point of contemplating the complete opposite. I'm tempted to drop hundreds of dollars and build a top notch HTPC to place into my setup instead of your product that's 'coming soon.'

Bottom line, you need to inform your consumers, otherwise you're simply going to lose them. So, I ask, when can we expect an update on the SlingCatcher? When can we expect the SlingCatcher in stores? More delays (after showing working models at the 2008 CES) are not acceptable.

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I understand you frustration and I apologize for that. You are correct, after being purchased in Q4 of '07, you can certainly understand that product roadmaps and strategies don't happen quickly...certainly not over a quarter.

It is not our intention to frustrate our customer base but to provide the most compelling and enjoyable user experience and value proposition possible.

Will the catcher ship in Q2? No. We are upgrading the user experience and making enhancements to the feature set. These may or may not all ship at the same time.

Will the Catcher ship in '08? All indications point to this happening in 2008.

When we do ship the Catcher, where will it be available? At most of our current retail and online reseller partners as well as Sling Media.com.

I hope this helps...more to come.

Gregg Wilkes
VP Sales
Sling Media, Inc.

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SlingCatcher delayed again, this time until "sometime in 2008"