Slingbox server shutdown will kill every box in two years

In two years your Slingbox will stop working, but the apps you need to watch its streams may die even sooner.

Sling Media co-founder Jason Krikorian displays the Slingbox (L) and a Sprint mobile device with SlingPlayer Mobile software playing a streaming image off his television set from his home at the International Consumer Electronics Show January 6, 2006 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Ethan Miller via Getty Images)

Before streaming video from the cloud was a normal thing, a Slingbox was the best way to access TV from anywhere. Just plug one of their transcoders into your antenna or cable box, plug in the internet, and it provided a stream you could watch at work, and eventually, on your phone. As CEO Blake Krikorian explained to Engadget just after it launched in 2005, the concept was that while TiVo enabled time shifting, Slingbox could do placeshifting.

Back in the day, there was even the idea of “slinging” console games for play on a mobile phone or other screen — imagine that.

It could also get around local broadcasting restrictions that might black out games in a team’s local area, or restrict them to local viewers after you’ve moved out of town. As you can probably guess, leagues like the NFL and MLB hated that, but the company kept on going anyway, despite a few lulls in between the introduction of new hardware and software that seemed to age in dog years.

All that is over now, as the Sling name is more prominently attached to a TV service, and Liliputing points out Sling Media informed users today that in two years its servers will shut down. Once that happens, all of the existing boxes will stop working. Dave Zatz mentioned the possibility of DNS workarounds that might let users connect directly, but in lieu of that, it’s time to get a streaming subscription or try something like Channels.

Even before that, the number of devices you can actually watch a Sling stream from will decrease since it’s no longer updating the apps — that kind of rot already claimed viewing apps for Android and Roku last year. SlingPlayer on Mac hasn’t worked since Catalina, and so on.