I guess it’s really not that surprising that SlingPlayer’s iPhone app, which is live in the app store by the way, will only include support for Wi-Fi data transfers. In a statement released today, AT&T explained why it chose not to support SlingPlayer over a cell connection.
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. We consider smartphones like the iPhone to be personal computers in that they have the same hardware and software attributes as PCs.
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.
The Slingbox application for the iPhone runs on WiFi. That’s good news for AT&T’s iPhone 3G customers, who get free WiFi 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 WiFi.
Though I’m probably in the minority on this one, I completely understand where AT&T is coming from. Their 3G network has been through the ringer, and its connectivity problems have been at the root of a number of lawsuits against both Apple and AT&T.
If AT&T allowed SlingPlayer connectivity via 3G, it would have an incredibly hard time supporting the bandwidth demand. Then, all of the same people who are currently bitching about AT&T relegating SlingPlayer to wi-fi would be up in arms about how AT&T’s 3G network is so shitty and how AT&T should have had the foresight to reject 3G support for SlingPlayer.