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CES 2010: Sling Gets Flashy

EchoStar Technologies has signed an agreement with Adobe Systems to integrate Adobe Flash media player software into the Slingbox platform -- which will potentially allow users of dozens of Flash-enabled devices like gaming consoles, mobile phones and TV to access video over any Internet connection.
John Paul, executive vice president of EchoStar's Sling Media division, said the company plans to release a firmware upgrade to add Adobe Flash for most current Slingbox models in the first half of 2010.
"The advantage is that Adobe has done all this work to integrate with devices," Paul said at a briefing with reporters here at the Consumer Electronics Show.
Earlier this week, Dish Network announced a suite of "TV Everywhere" products -- built by EchoStar and Sling -- that will let subscribers access live TV and DVR content over the Internet and home networks.
EchoStar is offering the same capabilities to other pay-TV providers, including the Slingbox 700U, which connects to existing Internet-connected set-top-box via a USB port. That's an easier proposition to take to an MSO than having to integrate Slingbox capabilities, Paul said.
"This way, the cable operator doesn't have to redesign their whole set-top," he said. "They just do a firmware upgrade."
At its booth at CES, Sling is showing several Flash-enabled devices -- a Linux PC, a Sony PlayStation 3, a Nokia 5800 mobile phone, and Broadcom's BCM97405 set-top box reference platform -- accessing a Slingbox over the Internet.
Paul said the Flash file required to access a Slingbox could also be integrated into Internet-connected TVs. He pointed out that mobile phones based on Google's Android platform, such as the Google Nexus One, will support Flash as well. "This is how we'll get to Android," he said.
Sling providers player software for Web browsers on PCs and Macs and mobile devices including BlackBerrys, Symbian phones, Palms, Windows Mobile smartphones and iPhones (although Apple and AT&T do not allow access over the carrier's 3G network).
The Flash upgrade will not be available to all Sling devices, such as the Sling Classic, Paul added.