I first noticed the ads creeping up back in like, November; it's only gotten even worse as the months have drug on.
Hulu shows ads even on the paid service; Netflix doesn't though; and it's probably against their contracts on content to do so. Sling has no contract over the content we're watching...because it's a private stream and we bought hardware.
Even if the class-action doesn't go through; I'm pretty sure it will have attracted the attention of the content providers...who will likely start their own suits.
Maybe I don't understand how Slingboxes work, but the general concept of a "home DVR you can access from anywhere" doesn't seem to require that the vendor maintain a server or stay in business for that matter for the basic DVR and remote-viewing functionality to work.
Here's basically how Slingboxes work: you have a piece of hardware that is connected to your network and the A/V connections on your cable box (it even has pass-through ports); the box then digitizes and compresses the A/V stream being spit out of the cable box. You also have a small IR emitter (built in to later boxes) that relays remote control commands to the box. It's not exactly a "home DVR you can access from anywhere"; it's quite literally a device that streams whatever your set-top-box displays while allowing you to control it.
Now, one thing they've done well is making the device a bit "fool-proof" for the average user to use. Most people don't know what an IP address is, or how to look it up, or that it changes; it's not a problem for those of us who have been doing that type of stuff for years. So what they do is maintain servers that keeps track of your Slingbox's IP address; so you can access it without having to know anything but your slingbox ID. The servers don't just do that; but they are also capable of relaying a stream (at reduced quality), should some crazy firewall/double-NAT/other reason occur that your client can't directly connect to it. However, most of the time the boxes will attempt to set up a port-forward on your router through UPnP, if that fails, it will then attempt to blast through the router using UDP, then falling back to relay if that doesn't work. While I would almost buy the argument "we have to cover those costs", one could argue "no one is asking you to"; they've just basically built all that in to the product.
There is also the issue that, for a while; they were hosting additional bandwidth as playback had gone strictly to browser-embedded clients. They had a desktop application for a while; but discontinued it sometime around 2011 and the 2012 models weren't supported. The worst part about that was if your internet went down with the older boxes; the client application could still find them over the LAN and connect without any intervention from Sling. The browser method meant if your internet was down; or their servers went down...you were totally unable to watch the device at all (unless it was an older unit) They have a desktop program now...and I'm still not sure if they list it as being supported by anything except the latest models. But at this point, all they're really doing is pushing a minimal amount of bandwidth to tell the client where your boxes are. It may still be able to find local boxes without intervention from Sling, but I haven't tested it. In retrospect, using a device that wasn't connectable using standard software was a bad idea; at the same time...the $180 investment was *much* cheaper than buying the hardware necessary to digitize 1080i video over component and compress it to a high-efficiency video codec in realtime. I actually considered something like an HDHomeRun; but I'd have to cannibalize a cable box for it's CableCard or pay an extra I'm-not-even-sure-what-it-costs for a standalone cable card...which at the time my provider was not allowing self-install on...and didn't do installs for anything except home-theater-PCs.
But ultimately, you can still only go so far keeping people locked in; and while many of us put up with some of thier stupid stuff in the past...making us feel like we've got to pay them to watch our TV on hardware we bought from them is an insult.
You don't need a 30 second advertisement (or more) to fill what is essentially a 5 second buffer. Your PC is streaming and buffering the content from the Slingbox, while the client is displaying a server-based advertisement. I'm not even 100% it keeps any of the content that was streamed to you other than to fill the buffer; I haven't checked where the 30-minute rewind actually starts at when the box stream does finally get going.
But now here is Sling, wanting to profit off all of that. It was one thing when they were selling you just a piece of hardware to do it; networks had less legal ground to call foul (well, they did for a short period of time, but everyone waited too long and the judge stated if no one had a problem with it to start, why now?). So while yes, Aereo was re-transmitting in all the classical sense; that whole issue comes down to someone profiting off the content without having a legal right to. Sling doesn't seem to have much of a legal right, considering it's not their content and it's involving physical hardware they've been paid for.
In a lateral form of thinking...it's along the same lines as what Comcast did by forcing a public "members-only" wifi point on everyone without consent; which basically lets them build a "wi-fi network" by forcing customers to provide part of the resources. "Hey, you've gotta have all this stuff hooked up anyway; so we're gonna make it so other comcast members can connect to your wifi...and we're going to use this as a marketing ploy to make us more money...and we're not compensating you for this."
They aren't inserting ads over the video stream; what they're doing is inserting an advertisement before it will play your live TV stream. These ads range from
They are not actually inserting advertisements in the video stream; but what they are doing is requiring you to watch one before it will begin playing your TV. As many pointed out Youtube does this; I also point out to people that I don't buy hardware to watch youtube; where as I've purchased a physical piece of hardware as well as subscribe to a TV service to utilize the hardware.
To make matters worse; Sling has seemingly gone downhill in customer support. When you question the advertisements to them on social media, you don't get a response; you get silenced and banned from that social media page. If you talk about it on the forums; they will delete the posts. They're going to great lengths to not only hide the fact you will get advertisements from them in this manner; but even greater lengths of blatantly ignoring customers.
The whole issue with this is they are in fact monetizing your viewing; which is the exact same thing Aereo got shut down over. I'm getting the feeling that they were taking the one judge stating Singbox is not retransmission in a manner they weren't supposed to; and decided to monetize every time you connect.
I get that they have server maintenance to pay for; but it's not like they quit selling Slingboxes; and no one was actually complaining when it was an un-obtrusive banner ad displayed on the client plugin. But the fact they're basically making you watch an entire advertisement that does nothing but benefit them; so you can watch TV you pay for, on hardware they own; they've just taken the "evil corporate" route.
As a former Slingbox evangelist; Sling's position on the advertisements has been to silence and block users who complain about the practice and has driven me away from not only wanting to use the technology, but recommending it to others.
Link to Original Source