Slingbox is a simple to use device that enables you to remotely view your home cable, satellite, or personal video wherever you go, and soon it may do for your T.V. what Apple’s iTunes and the iPod did for music.
For Irish born CEO John Gilmore, the “wow” moment comes when your humble laptop or phone is suddenly transformed into a fully functioning T.V. It doesn’t matter if you own a Blackberry, an iPhone, a PC or a Mac, because with Slingbox you can use them all to watch anything that’s broadcast to your home TV no matter where you are in the word.
The good news for consumers is that you don’t need a degree in engineering to get it running. Slingbox is simple to setup, the software is easy to use and it requires no special installation. Even the most technology challenged will have it operating within minutes, and when you do it could quickly become as central to your life as Google Search and email.
Gilmore’s passion for the new product stems from his awareness that his company is at the forefront of the same kind of new media revolution that turned Apple’s iTunes into the biggest music store in the world in less than a decade.
“Who would have thought ten years ago that Apple with iTunes and iPod would become a leader in the music industry?” Gilmore tells IrishCentral by phone from his office in Silicone Valley. “Major changes are coming in terms of the television and video industry and how we receive them. Slingbox will be a part of that. It’s exciting to be part of a technology that’s changing the way consumers interact in their day-to-day life.”
Although Slingbox really comes into its own when you’re mobile, it isn’t just an away from home device, it’s also a major website offering downloads and live content, a global portal where you can watch your favorite shows on 153 different channels, including network and cable channels.
Homesick Irish expats jonesing for homegrown fare will be delighted to discover that with the press of a button they can suddenly reconnect with unmissable hometown favorites like The Late, Late Show and The Podge and Rodge Show. Slingbox also broadcasts major Irish rugby tournaments, GAA finals and those all-important soccer matches in real time as they happen. When the word finally gets out, just like the iPod, these things will be probably be flying off the shelves.
“We started the company very much in terms of just delivering the Slingbox. But we’re much more than just the box itself now; our overall vision is connecting consumers to the content they want to watch, regardless of location, and regardless of source, and regardless of the screen on which they want to watch it on.”
With so many different media sources flooding the market with different technologies, Gilmore isn’t surprised that many people get confused or intimidated. “Our vision is to keep it simple and accessible, to make sure you get to watch what you want to watch, when and where you want to. That simplicity and ease of use is what we’re all about.”
Slingbox will succeed, Gilmore says, because it transfers broadcasts across the Internet to basically any major device with a screen – whether it’s a laptop, a phone, a computer or a television screen. “The most effective way to understand how it works is to pop into a store for a demo. As soon as you see how easy it is to set up and view live TV on your computer or mobile device, you’re likely to be hooked.”
Anyone wondering about the rights issues that accompany unfettered access to international TV need not fret. “It’s a one-to-one viewing experience,” says Gilmore. “We believe when you take out subscriptions or you pay for cable service at home, that’s your content because you paid for it. As long as you are using that as a user and not broadcasting it, you’re within your rights. We’re also encrypting the stream to make sure it can’t be taken over by someone else.”
Alongside his commitment to Slingbox, Gilmore is one of several senior Irish managers in Silicon Valley who has worked to ensure that Ireland gets its deserved share of the global Research and Development pie. With other Irish technology leaders like Brian Fitzgerald, former vice president of operations at Intuit Inc, Niall O’Connor, chief information officer at Apple, Rory McInerney, director of engineering at Intel and Tony Redmond, chief technology officer at HP Services, the new network of Irish leaders is committed to helping Ireland face up to the challenges involved in capturing new technology opportunities and raising awareness in Silicone Valley of Ireland’s prowess in the Research and Development field.
“We want to introduce Irish technology graduates to the entrepreneurs and venture capitalists that grease the machine and keeps it all going,” Gilmore explained.