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Sling Media, makers of the Slingbox, have just opened up their television streaming site, Sling.com, to the public. The service, which is not only just like Hulu but actually streams some of Hulu’s content as well, also allows you to watch any content you have on your Slingbox at home right on your browser. That’s a nice feature, but it’s hardly enough to make the masses turn to Sling.com rather than Hulu. That will only happen if said masses can’t live without CBS content. In other words, it won’t happen… yet.

That’s not to say Sling.com isn’t nice — it’s quite nice. It looks nice (though not as nice as Hulu), it performs nice (though again, in quick tests, not as nice as Hulu) and it has a nice selection of content — but yes, Hulu still has better. While a lot of Hulu content is available on Sling.com, some of it, like anything from Comedy Cental, isn’t.

Sling.com is apparently hoping that content from CBS (which Hulu doesn’t have) will make up for this. But unless you’re addicted to NCIS or are over the age of 65 (CBS demographics tend to skew older), you’ll probably prefer Hulu’s offerings.

Sling.com’s distinctive feature is the ability to stream any content (including live TV) from your Slingbox to Sling.com no matter where you are in the world. Of course, you need a Slingbox, a device which starts at $179.99. And owners of the device have already been able to “sling” their media to themselves on the road for a while; this is simply a new portal to do so.

This feature also apparently only works on PCs right now and requires a browser plug-in, according to TechCrunch. That small barrier is still high enough to turn some people away.

Earlier this month at the NewTeeVee Live event in San Francisco, Sling Media chief executive Blake Krikorian billed Sling.com as “really the world’s first multi-source, multi-platform site.” By that he meant that it would be available on devices beyond simply computer web browsers. We have yet to see that, but if Sling.com works on say, a Slingbox (which apparently is in the cards), it will be a lot more interesting.

Until then, while Sling.com easily beats another competitor, Joost, in terms of user interface, ease of use and content, it’s still a poor-man’s Hulu. When it introduces some new content and the ability to stream to a set top-box, we can revisit this debate.


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