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Slingbox M1 Jumps the Pond

EchoStar Corp. said the Slingbox M1, a redesigned version of the TV place-shifting device launched in the U.S. last summer, has gone on sale in the U.K. and Europe.

The M1, viewed by EchoStar as an easy-to-install model for mainstream consumers, carries a U.K. manufacturer’s suggested retail price of £129 (US$202).  In the U.K., the M1 is available at retailers such as PC World, Currys, and Maplin, and via European distributors such as Turbosat International Limited, TechData and EET Group.

The M1, equipped with dual-band 802.11n WiFi and HD-quality streaming capabilities, is currently for sale in the U.S. for $149.

Sling Media said its M1 for the European market, like its U.S. counterpart, is not limited by geo-blocking (the inability to access content outside of the country where the Slingbox is installed), and can access all of the content of a user’s pay TV subscription.

Sling Media has not announced M1 sales, but it’s had a “strong reception” in the U.S., according to a statement from company SVP and GM Michael Hawkey. "The Slingbox M1 sets a new standard for ease of set-up and use, while delivering incredible value for the pay-TV satellite subscribers that we have always targeted with our products and services,” he said. “With a Slingbox M1 that has been completely localised for customers, we're delivering the most affordable Slingbox packed with the most robust set of features that we believe will significantly expand the mobile TV and video market."

Sling Media has taken some heat for inserting ads into its free Web browser and standalone PC apps for Slingbox devices, but said the strategy is necessary to offset the costs of ongoing engineering and technology testing. Sling Media does not insert ads on its paid apps for iOS and Android devices.