Wednesday, May 13, 2009

AT&T hamstrings Slingplayer for iPhone

I don't own a Slingplayer. Don't even want one. But I can see the utility of it, especially for those who travel and desperately want a chance to watch their local sports team or local news broadcasts. (For those not aware, Slingplayers allow you to stream your local TV across the internet to any net-connected system which can run their software.) Slingplayer has been available for Blackberry and Windows Mobile devices for years, and finally an iPhone app is on the way, perhaps in the next 24 hours.

The problem? Despite already allowing Slingplayers on all other Smartphones on its network, AT&T has forced Apple to ban use of Slingplayer on their 3G network so that the final release app only works on Wifi. Why? AT&T says "the iPhone is not a phone but a computer." The real reason? AT&T is finally coming to grips with the fact they have sold more network bandwidth than they have to offer.

I suspect a class action lawsuit may be on the way, if AT&T does not rectify the situation by late summer. The next iPhone is sure to stress their network even more, and nothing says "push Apple to Verizon" faster than banning apps users desperately want.


Rob Fay said...

I own a Slingbox. Frankly, what's the point of getting it if you need wifi? If I'm at home, I can use my computer, so spending $30 only allows me to be lazy and watch on my phone. I'm debating buying it anyway, with the hope that the policy will change. Frankly, I'm disgusted because it is what comes down to phone bigotry.

CRCHAIR said...

I agree. I have Slingbox at home too. Of course, I have an older one, so would have to upgrade in order to us the new iPhone software. I probably will wait for now.

Nomad said...

CRChair, THey rescinded the requirements for having an older Slingbox in the app. But do not provide tech support for older Slingboxes.

Overall, I think AT&T has done more to alienate customers in this one case than in all the other bungles they have had since iPhone 1.0.