Slingbox Getting Bricked – You Have Less Than 24 Hours

Photo of the back of a slingbox appliance, with ports shown and arrows going to them describing what each of the ports does.

The Slingbox devices used to let you catch up with the programming on your TV when you weren’t near it, using your Internet-connected mobile device. As cable TV became less popular, their business model faded away, and in 2020, they scheduled a service shutdown for November 9th, 2022. If you own a Slingbox, it’s getting bricked tomorrow – for those reading this in EU, that’ll be today, even. Do you have a Slingbox? You might still be able to repurpose it, let’s say, for local media streaming – but only if you waste no time.

[Gerry Dubois] has been developing the “Slinger” software for the past few months, a small app you run locally that proxies commands and video for your Slingbox, thanks to reverse-engineering communications with Slingbox servers. However, it needs a “hardware password” alphanumeric string, that you need to get from the Slingbox service web interface – which is to be promptly shut down. If you think you might have a use for what’s essentially a network-connected analog/digital video capture card with decent hardware, the GitHub repo has a lively discussion tab for any questions you might have.

One one hand, Slingbox shouldn’t be bricking the devices in a way that requires you act fast – perhaps, releasing a final update that makes the device hacker-friendly, like O2 did with their Joggler appliance back in the day, publishing the hardware documentation, or at least setting up a service up that lets anyone retrieve their hardware password indefinitely. On the other hand, at least they gave us two years’ notice, something less than usual – the amount of time between bricking and an announcement can even be a negative number. For those of us stuck with no operational device, a hardware exploration might be in order – for instance, we’ve torn down the Sling Adapter and even ran simple custom code on it!

41 thoughts on “Slingbox Getting Bricked – You Have Less Than 24 Hours

  1. It’s a shame that manufacturers can break a device you bought and paid for, on purpose. Even if it is “no longer supported”, being able to use what you already bought should be the baseline. Logitech comes to mind, what with their recent abandonment of the Harmony remote ecosystem. To my knowledge, no real alternative exists (aside from DIY), so whenever they pull the plug, I’ve got thousands of dollars of useless remotes-turned-ewaste.

    That aside, I wonder what the comb filter is like in the Slingbox hardware. I don’t imagine it’s very good (most aren’t), but it would be really cool if it were at least decent. I’m a LaserDisc enthusiast/collector (so sue me), and I think it would be cool to stream LaserDisc content from one of my many players. Perhaps set one up for straight composite, one out of an iScan over component, and one out of an iScan over HDMI/DVI. Three different discs in rotation, have an “analog Netflix” with a limited number of films.

    I hope Slingbox doesn’t ruin it permanently… I’d love to pursue that.

    1. Indeed… but where do you draw the line?

      There are lots of cheap GPRS/GSM modules on the market… and second-hand 2G mobile phones are being thrown out. Guess what? No 2G towers to use them with, and no you can’t legally run your own as you likely won’t have a spectrum license needed to operate one.

      I’d argue an analogue television set picks up all worthwhile television stations even today, but some want to watch something other than “static”.

      1. A 2G MS won’t radiate until it has seen a base station broadcast channel, so that part is covered, if the network is turned off. Besides if you are really paranoid you can operate in airplane mode and still play the games or use the camera etc.

        1. Tbf last year for 7 months I’ve driven my Miata with rear brakes removed because I could not afford replacement caliper and disks. I only fixed them right before its yearly technical examination (polish: “badanie techniczne”) date was due.

          Luckily it’s lightweight so I could mostly brake by changing gears.

    2. FiveEyes, I’m a recent collector of LaserDisc. I would really appreciate any good resources you might know about for disc issues. Wish I could PM rather than go public with this request, but here we are.

      1. lddb is my favorite spot. They have a forum, a huge repository of disc information (including covers, specific release information, disc rot reports/potential, specs down to the THX intro type, you name it) and even a marketplace that I maintain is cheaper and substantially better than places like ebay.

        The LaserDisc subreddit is also pretty decent, a lot of repair advice (which I also contribute to, having repaired several dozen Pioneer players).

        AVSForum also has some good posts, although most of them are older.

        If you need anything, I’ll be happy to help!

    3. There is a reason that Echostar, which owns both Slingbox and Dish Network did what they did. Dish Network has had a terrible time keeping cost down, which is the cost of buying programing for Dish Network. In a deal made with Hollywood producers, Dish Network got discounted programming in return by killing Slingbox, which Hollywood has wanted to kill for years. So that is the true reason that we no longer have Slingbox and why they went through so much trouble that Slingbox will never run again.

  2. Why must those be bricked? Why can’t they just push out a final update and make it clear that there is no support for this device should the owner wish to keep using it beyond the support end of life date?

    This is going to tick off right-to-repair party.

    1. Bricking those devices means you will be forced to buy another device, theirs or from another brand, but a new device. If every brand does the same, it’s a win for them (and not for you). So no matter if you had a bricked Logitech and got a Sonos afterwards, or the other way around, the result is the same: a new device will be bought.

      1. Yet when too many IoT gets bricked just because they are old, people would be less likely to buy any more IoT devices and get those that are open source or aren’t dependent on internet access.

        1. For people to choose something else they have to know something else is available, or be able to find it easily when they search in frustration – both of which require some understanding of how the stuff is functioning to make that judgement of if its a stable platform.

          Oneday maybe we will get there but as it stands all the advertised services and devices are generally this proprietary and remotely brickable mess. So when you need a new x, your choices still suck if you don’t have the tech knowledge to roll your own, limited as that may be as the community of more interested nerds creates their install scripts etc.

  3. I’m just hoping Microsoft doesn’t decide one day to push a brick command out on a ‘routine’ Windows update.

    Really, what’s actually stopping them? Legit question. What measures are there really in place to prevent a bad inside actor from deploying a kill switch to western civilization?

      1. Then many old ATM and POS console would be bricked because a lot of them are still using Windows XP which was supposed to have been retired 8 years ago

        Bricking obsolete Windows is sure to cause major economical disaster and even Microsoft knows this. They allow obsolete Windows to keep running at owner’s risk.

        Most IoT devices that are bricked in comparasion only numbers in the tens or hundreds thousand customer and mostly personal use. Bricking them won’t cause McDonald’s to close for a week or so and cause ATM to be locked out.

    1. > What measures are there really in place to prevent a bad inside actor from deploying a kill switch to western civilization?

      None I think.
      Thanks to antisocial media like FB, TikTok, YT, Insta (and so on) basing their business model on targeted advertising and the “outrage machine” (attention grabbing and keeping algorithms no matter the content, eg. flat out untruths, lies etc.) they’re already rationalizing debate culture away.

      Remember forums where you had to argue your point? No upvoting whatsoever… (mostly)

  4. Thing is if a company sends a update to disable thousands of devices wouldn’t that be considered digital terrorism? That’s how it would be if some hacker group did it right? Do we know if sling would toss out malicious code as a update to brick a bunch of devices?

    1. afaiu the devices are gonna be effectively bricked because they’re taking the servers down, there’s no update being rolled out. if you follow the tutorial, you can manage to point your Slingbox at a server of your choice, but you need info from their servers for that, and you gotta follow the tutorial to get that info on time.

  5. Really glad I came across this article on the last day the servers remained runnin. I was able to retrieve my passwords. (now to decide if I will actually use those old slingboxes for something or not…) In any case – thanks for posting this article!

    1. I can’t get the VLC working. Documentation is lacking. I think the biggest problem is using VLC to send a stream out or to view a stream (in) is not clear.

      But, just pointing to the URAY device and maximizing the preview screen works fine for me.

      Now I’m trying to decide if getting these slingboxes working is worth the effort for another location.

      1. VLC works great with urays!

        If you are trying to connect to the uray on your local lan, then type “” into the “Open Network Stream” option in VLC.

        If you are trying to view the uray from the internet, then you need to first setup a port forwarding rule in your router (for this example port 10000>80) then type “Http://yourhomeip:10000/0.ts” into VLC

  6. It’s also possible to get the Slinger app to integrate into Plex Live TV & DVR.

    Bit of a hack but it acts like an hdhomerun tuner in plex. my father in law has been using it for a few weeks out of state without any issues.

    You can record shows, commercial skip, channel change, channel guides, multiple tuners, remote access and all that good stuff through Plex. All running on a Synology NAS using docker. (Plex is running through package center)

    See here, including some screenshots:

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