Slingbox plans on adding a software client to complement their popular Slingbox streaming video content hardware device. According to IP Democracy:
Place-shifting pioneer SlingBox is slated to announce
at CES this week a new software client that allows any Windows Media-capable device to serve as a viewing platform for a customers' multichannel video or PVR service. This is a phenomenal development given that SlingBox is cutting across the top-line business priorities of motion picture studios, TV program producers, cable operators, wireless phone providers and even Apple Computer, which hopes to build a business on mobile video.
IP Democracy hits the nail on the head when it states, "So far, not a peep from the litigious studios, or even a threatened lawsuit from cable or satellite operators. I suspect that it's difficult to come up with a legal rationale against what Sling is doing -- this is not unauthorized copying or transmission of content. It's merely controlling the set-top box from a distance; in some cases thousands of miles. Secondly, Sling hasn't caught on yet and so doesn't pose a tangible threat to the media power structure."
Even though this is "personal & fair use" time-shifting of your own recorded TV content transmitting the video content over IP to your remote laptop/PC instead of directly to your TV, I'm sure the Hollywood lawyers will come up with some loophole to try and block this "fair use" technology. Heck, they're trying to block the "analog" copying loophole. Yep, that's right, not only does the government want to protect digital content from being recorded (perfect copies) but now it doesn't even want you recording analog copies (lossy video) either. :@ Streaming from a Slingbox to your mobile device / phone would be cool.
Of course, what Slingbox is doing is nothing new - Orb Networks has been offering streaming video/live TV/recorded TV and music to any Web-enabled device for "free" for quite some time now. I've used it on my Windows Media Center 2005 PC before and it works quite well.