Placeshifting can be defined as watching or listening to live, recorded or stored media on a remote device via the internet or over a data network. This is not to be confused with time shifting, which is watching or listening to recorded media locally. There are two kinds of placeshifting. Placeshifting from a consumer electronics device like a TV or cable box or placeshifting from a PC. There are a few devices which currently 'placeshift' media such as cable television or satellite television, including [ Tv2ME] , Sling Media's Slingbox, Sony's LocationFree, and Monsoon HAVA. These devices allow a person to access their home entertainment system, and stream media nearly instantaneously to their computer or mobile device. Several companies have also developed PC programs which allow consumers to 'placeshift' media stored on their PCs to a remote device. Companies which provide PC software are Orb, Avvenu, Sharpcast, CMWare, Oxy Systems, and SageTV.

Placeshifting, especially that done with PC software, is similar to remote desktop software like VNC or pcAnywhere in its ability to view and control electronics remotely. However, placeshifting refers specifically to the viewing and controlling of "media" rather than all general applications, and implementations are specialized and optimized for this purpose.

How does placeshifting work?

Placeshifting works essentially by capturing an output and streaming it and displaying it in another location. Placeshifting from Sling Media looks like this (other companies' solutions are similar):

The video signal comes descrambled out of the S Video (or component) connection on the cable box and is directed to the Slingbox where it is transcoded into MPEG 4 and sent to a PC

Future plans from several manufacturers are to combine placeshifting technology with other consumer electronic devices, such as a DVR or cable box, eliminating the requirement for another separate piece of hardware. Incorporating the transcoding into the set top box and partnering with content providers would also allow any DRM and conditional access protections to be maintained by eliminating the descrambled output stream. Other plans include set top devices that receive the stream on the other end and transcode the signal back to a standard TV signal for viewing on a regular TV instead of on a PC.


The history of placeshifting both commercially and legally begins with time shifting. Time shifting is the ability to watch content in a desired time slot. The best known examples of time shifting are the VCR and DVR.

Placeshifting began in the electronic workshop of Ken Schaffer in Manhattan and his home away from home in Moscow, Russia. Inspired into the world of electronic innovation by Sputnik. To much acclaim Schaffer shifted Soviet television space to American universities, starting with Columbia University during the cold war 1980s.

To make his 21st century take on spaceshifting, Schaffer introduced TV2Me "A way to make home TV reception portable -- with high -quality pictures to be watched, and channels to be changed, form [ anywhere in the world that the internet can reach"]

Easier for non-specialists to understand, he recoined it with the more commercial cultural term, "placeshifting". Schaffer was inspired by his frustration at missing episodes of Seinfeld, Ted Koppel and the Sopranos as he traveled between New York and St. Petersburg. Schaffer developed software and a circuitry that controlled his home cable box and TiVo DVR and allowed video compression to operate more efficiently and to generate a near-broadcast quality picture. Prominent among [ TV2Me] early adopters was the musician Sting who, beginning in 2003, used TV2Me to stay with his beloved Newcastle football team wherever he toured.

Two years later, brother Blake and Jason Krikorian, away on a business trip, found themselves missing a playoff baseball game back home. From that trip emerged Slingbox. Released as a consumer electronic product in the summer of 2005, the Slingbox allows users to take the feed from their cable or satellite set top box and over any broadband connection, placeshifting the TV signal. from one location to another. The Slingbox was designed as a consumer product, and is widely available. Placeshifting, as most technologies, appeared first as an expensive general-purpose device using discrete components in TV2Me and eventually as a low-cost, mass-produced, embedded technology by Sling Media and other competitors.

Legal Issues

Placeshifting raises legal questions in the area of intellectual property stemming from the rebroadcast of copyrighted media; these theoretical debates have become increasingly relevant as the technology has become easier to use and more widespread. Proponents of the technology stress the similarities to time shifting, the practice of which has been upheld in jurisdictions across the world, most famously in the United States under Sony v. Universal (1984), also known as the "Betamax case." They argue that the personal nature of the rebroadcast makes it a non-infringing fair use, and that since these technologies are marketed on the basis of their substantial non-infringing uses, that the "Sony" test is satisfied in the United States. In this line of reasoning, placeshifting is similar to the type of space shifting allowed by portable MP3 players, which was upheld in "RIAA v. Diamond" in 1999. [ [| RIAA v. Diamond] ] Commercially available technologies avoid the sort of centralized storage that, by contrast, have generally been held to be infringing, such as in
UMG v. (2000) and A&M Records v. Napster (2001). However, no example of the technology has yet been tested in court. Opponents argue that current examples of placeshifting are insecure, lacking DRM, and also enable widespread rebroadcasting to multiple users in a way that would clearly infringe on copyright. Some of the commercially available products contain restrictions in order to address these concerns; for example, the Slingbox only allows access by one computer at a time, while [ NXVision] partners with content owners to maintain the DRM and conditional access protections already on the content.


External links

* [ TV2ME]
* [ NXVision]
* [ The Sling Media website] - The makers of the slingbox.
* [ The hava placeshifting box]
* [ ] - Sony's placeshifting device
* [ Sling Community] - The official user community for Sling Media and the slingbox.
* [ the::placeshift] News, Views, Reviews
* [ DVR Playground] - what is placeshifting?
* [ a2bTV] - The Largest managed placeshifter "hosting" environment for American expats.
* [ IGOCOLO] - Provides professional managed placeshifter "hosting" environment for European & Middle Eastern expats.
* [ THETELLY.NET] - Provides professional managed placeshifter "hosting" environment for British expats.
* [ Techware] - Provides professional managed placeshifter "hosting" environment for American expats.

ources and notes

* [ NY TIMES - I Want my Moscow TV Dec 2, 2004]
* [ “Columbia Tunes in Soviet Television” The New York Times October 9, 1984 p.B2]
* [ How Ken Schaffer's TV2ME (or Something Just Like It, But Cheaper) Will Change Television Forever]

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