A very good set of questions. I wish you luck with getting a reply.
As to your last point, I am afraid this has been the case for years. IMHO Slingplayer 'peaked' with the standalone Desktop Player V1.5, Ever since then, each upgrade has reduced the functionality available. Unfortunately the stream quality and connectivity have improved so much that we have effectively been forced into accepting the reduced functionality in exchange for the improved performance.
Many pleas to Sling to just move the missing functions into an 'advanced' sub-menu have been ignored. The only reason I can think of for this illogical behaviour is that the engineers have been told to 'dumb down' the interface to simplify everything and reduce the number of support calls.
Thanks for the depressing reply, and I note none from the company yet.
I did call about one or two of these and all I got was that that is how it works, but most of this, except the select channel delay settings, happened just a few weeks ago. I should add that I use slingbox on a large tv using windows and Chrome, not an Ipad or similar. Remote control functionality from a sofa is more critical in that mode than sitting in front of a monitor.
However, I do not believe any of this is difficult, or advanced. Surely setting the intial location for the on screen remote is trivial. Dumping it in the middle of the frame, and half way down can only be sloppy.
Making the remote disappear when the mouse doesn't move for a second, while one is looking at a guide for example, is just plain sloppy.
Making the guide smaller while trying to scroll through it is just plain sloppy.
Going back to a small window when changing channels is just plain sloppy.
Maybe their programmers were moonlighting for Healthcare.gov while doing this update.