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AT&T has banned users from using SlingBox over 3G on the iPhone. Wi-Fi is still working, and 3G on other phones remains enabled.
Other phones still have access to the service streamed in 3G

Sling Media’s Slingbox is an intriguing device that allows you to view your cable TV or recorded PVR content on-the-go via transmission from an internet-connected home PC.  The technology was made even sweeter when 3G streaming SlingPlayer Mobile was unveiled for smartphones. 

However, just as good times seemed at hand for iPhone users, the service's 3G streaming capabilities were unexpectedly absent in the $30 app that hit Apple's App Store this week.  It turns out AT&T cut off the 3G streaming citing that its HSPA network likely could not handle the strain.

AT&T issued a statement, describing, "Slingbox, which would use large amounts of wireless network capacity, could create congestion and potentially prevent other customers from using the network. The application does not run on our 3G wireless network. Applications like this, which redirect a TV signal to a personal computer, are specifically prohibited under our terms of service."

However, the strange part comes in its following statements, and the fact that it is still allowing 3G streaming on BlackBerry, S60, Windows Mobile, and Palm phones.  AT&T’s reasoning is that the iPhone is a PC.  It states, "We consider smartphones like the iPhone to be personal computers in that they have the same hardware and software attributes as PCs."

While the ban will likely incense iPhone users, it also does not solve the key dilemma -- how to cope with video streaming.  AT&T writes, "That said, we don't restrict users from going to a Web site that lets them view videos. But what our terms and conditions prohibit is the transferring, or slinging, of a TV signal to their personal computer or smartphone."

Sites like Hulu, YouTube, or AOL Video will likely pose a similar threat to the network.  With growing adoption of smart phones, similar problems are likely to crop up, due to the demands of streaming video.

For now, SlingPlayer on the iPhone will only work over Wi-Fi.  Writes AT&T, "The Slingbox application for the iPhone runs on Wi-Fi. That's good news for AT&T's iPhone 3G customers, who get free Wi-Fi access at our 20,000 owned and operated hot spots in the U.S., including Starbucks, McDonalds, Barnes & Noble, hotels, and airports. AT&T is the industry leader in Wi-Fi."



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Blame Apple, not AT&T
By HammerStrike on 5/13/2009 2:30:05 PM , Rating: 5
Why is everyone blaming AT&T for this? IMO, they are simply complying with a "request" from Apple to disable Slingbox; otherwise, why wouldn't they disable it for all smart phones?

Apple and their pay-to-download iTunes store has a lot to lose if "free" services such as Hulu, Slingbox, etc. become popular. This is simply Apple trying to protect their downloadable content market, to the detriment of consumers who purchased their product.

I am always amazed at the lack of criticism Apple receives for all the proprietary behavior they engage in.




RE: Blame Apple, not AT&T
By jevans64 on 5/13/2009 2:44:43 PM , Rating: 4
Yep. This is Apple trying to protect their iTunes store sales just like they did when they rejected the Podcaster app.

Apple is MS for the new millennium.

The iPhone hardware same as a PC. I got a laugh out of that. The AT&T spokesperson who uttered that statement is a moron.

My Dell Axim x50v from 2004 can run circles around the iPhone when it comes to audio and video.


RE: Blame Apple, not AT&T
By foolsgambit11 on 5/13/2009 5:33:23 PM , Rating: 2
But Apple doesn't offer video direct to the iPhone, does it? I know it's not on the iTunes App.


RE: Blame Apple, not AT&T
By QueBert on 5/14/09, Rating: -1
RE: Blame Apple, not AT&T
By callmeroy on 5/14/2009 1:51:37 PM , Rating: 3
LOL....wow just wow......

another person who can't see the forest for the trees....


RE: Blame Apple, not AT&T
By TomCorelis on 5/28/2009 4:08:23 AM , Rating: 1
Nothing can touch an iPod Touch/iPhone for playing music... except an iPod Classic. Oh, 160gb, how I love you so.... :-)


RE: Blame Apple, not AT&T
By JediJeb on 5/14/2009 10:31:24 AM , Rating: 4
The new PC vs Mac commercial:

Im a PC

Im a Mac, and here's my phone that is a PC

lol I just had to laugh when AT&T called the iPhone a PC, you know Steve Jobs has to be shaking his head now!


RE: Blame Apple, not AT&T
By JasonMick (blog) on 5/13/2009 4:42:24 PM , Rating: 4
While I agree with you, I think that AT&T is at least equally culpable, unless it clarifies that requests came from Apple.

Take the iPhone bricking/locking debacle. Sure it might have been all Apple's decision, but AT&T looked at least as bad for not revealing the exact terms of their business partnership that was compelling the bricking move. It could have been Apple asking AT&T, it could have been AT&T asking Apple -- who knows.

Likewise, in this case, if Apple is pressuring AT&T, AT&T should cite this pressure in a carefully worded statement which clarifies the direction is from Apple.

Its kinda like if you're sitting with your friend in the back seat of a stolen car with no one in the driver seat. Sure it looks bad for both of you, maybe even he was the one who stole the car. But if you tell the cops that you decided to steal the car and you don't mention your friend, you're the one who's going to get blamed -- and its your own dumb fault.

I'm in no way defending Apple, but I'm saying that either
A)AT&T is equally dictatorial
or
B)AT&T needs to grow a pair and stop letting itself be scapegoated by Apple


RE: Blame Apple, not AT&T
By Flail on 5/13/09, Rating: 0
RE: Blame Apple, not AT&T
By taber on 5/13/2009 10:48:24 PM , Rating: 2
In this particular case I think At&t really is much more at blame. What does Apple really have to gain by limiting a nice application for their cell phone that many people would've spent $30 on otherwise?

At&t conveniently just changed their Terms Of Service to justify disabling this app:
http://reviews.cnet.com/8301-19512_7-10230723-233....

It's not hard to see their motives, they have a $30/month plan and $15/month plan to watch TV on that they'd much rather you use.


RE: Blame Apple, not AT&T
By keithxp on 5/14/2009 8:11:03 AM , Rating: 2
Wait... you're telling me an Apple is a PC?! Some cool looking guy told me otherwise.


RE: Blame Apple, not AT&T
By Shadowself on 5/14/2009 2:34:28 PM , Rating: 2
"Company spokesman Mark Siegel explained to me this afternoon that AT&T considers the streaming of television signals to any device over its wireless data network to be a violation of its terms of service," Troy Wolverton reports for SiliconBeat. "'It doesn’t just apply to the iPhone,' Siegel said. 'The key here is not (which) device is enabled for (the SlingPlayer). This is not an application that is permissible to use on AT&T’s network.'"

So much for this being Apple's fault.


"It looks like the iPhone 4 might be their Vista, and I'm okay with that." -- Microsoft COO Kevin Turner

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