Looks like Verizon is shopping for ways to get its brand spanking new 4G airwaves loaded, because Sling's just announced an unusual subscription-based deal with them that should kill the upfront cost normally associated with buying a Slingbox and a $30 SlingPlayer Mobile app. Monthly pricing hasn't yet been announced, but if you've got one of Verizon's new LTE phones, you'll have the option of getting some dollar figure tacked onto your monthly bill and a box will get shipped to your door on loan; cancel the subscription, and you'll presumably have to return it or pay a fee. It's an interesting shift in Sling's business model, but from Verizon's perspective, it's also got an air of anti-net neutrality to it -- especially if the $30 SlingPlayer option in the Market goes away. Here's hoping it doesn't! Follow the break for the full press release.

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Sling Media Announces Subscription Offering for Verizon Wireless 4G LTE Customers

Complete Package to Include Slingbox and SlingPlayer with Easy Billing for Subscribers

LAS VEGAS and BASKING RIDGE, N.J., Jan. 7, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- From the 2011 International Consumer Electronics Show (CES), Sling Media, Inc., today announced a subscription offering that will soon be available on select 4G smartphones on the Verizon Wireless 4G LTE Mobile Broadband network.

Sling Media has created a subscription service offering that gives Verizon Wireless customers the ability to watch their home TV on new 4G smartphones. The subscription service provides a Slingbox®, the SlingPlayer™ application and networking accessories.

"With significantly increased speeds and reduced latency, the Verizon Wireless 4G LTE Mobile Broadband network provides an ideal environment for a fantastic Sling viewing experience with great video quality," said John Gilmore, senior vice president and general manager at Sling Media. "Sling's subscription offering is a new, easy way for consumers to start enjoying their home TV wirelessly, with one monthly bill from Verizon and without a long term contract for the Sling app."

With a Slingbox at home and a Verizon Wireless 4G LTE Mobile Broadband connection, the award-winning SlingPlayer application gives users the ability to watch live sports, catch up on the news or enjoy movies on their smartphones. Users can enjoy their TV while having their oil changed, waiting for a flight or taking a study break. Verizon Wireless customers will be able to sign up for the offer through V CAST Apps, Verizon Wireless' mobile storefront, beginning later this year.

The Verizon Wireless 4G LTE Mobile Broadband network, launched in December 2010, is the fastest, most advanced 4G network in the United States, providing speeds up to 10 times faster than Verizon Wireless' existing 3G network. Consumer devices with a wide range of applications are expected to be available later this year. Verizon Wireless' 4G LTE Mobile Broadband network currently reaches one-third of all Americans, with plans to expand the network to the company's entire 3G coverage area over the next three years.

More details about the Verizon Wireless and SlingPlayer offering will be available during CES in Verizon Wireless' booth (#35216 in the South Hall of the Las Vegas Convention Center) and at the Sling Media booth (#9014 in the Central Hall of the Las Vegas Convention Center). For more information about Verizon Wireless' 4G LTE network, visit www.verizonwireless.com/lte. For more information about Verizon Wireless at CES, visit www.verizonwireless.com/ces or follow the company on Twitter at http://twitter.com/verizonwireless.

About Verizon Wireless

Verizon Wireless operates the nation's fastest and most advanced 4G network and largest and most reliable 3G network, and serves more than 93 million customers. Headquartered in Basking Ridge, N.J., with 80,000 employees nationwide, Verizon Wireless is a joint venture of Verizon Communications (NYSE, Nasdaq: VZ) and Vodafone (LSE, Nasdaq: VOD). For more information, visit www.verizonwireless.com. To preview and request broadcast-quality video footage and high-resolution stills of Verizon Wireless operations, log on to the Verizon Wireless Multimedia Library at www.verizonwireless.com/multimedia.

About Sling Media

Sling Media, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of EchoStar Corporation (Nasdaq: SATS), is the leading provider of video place shifting products and services for consumers and television service providers. Sling Media's product family includes the internationally acclaimed, Emmy award-winning Slingbox that allows consumers to watch and control their living room television shows at any time, from any location, using internet-connected PCs, Macs, PDAs, tablets and smartphones. For more information, visit www.slingmedia.com.

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Sling hooks up with Verizon to rent Slingboxes to LTE customers