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iPhone SlingPlayer hurt to help U-verse app?

updated 09:00 am EDT, Thu May 14, 2009

SlingPlayer vs U-verse Rum

AT&T's decision to disallow 3G for the iPhone edition of SlingPlayer may have been motivated as much by desires to quash a competitor as it is to avoid congestion, a claim suggests. Although AT&T's official explanation is that streaming TV consumes too much bandwidth, a tip from Gizmodo purports that the carrier has the ulterior motive of crippling SlingPlayer to protect a future U-verse app. Supposedly called i-Verse, it would let subscribers to AT&T's IPTV service either stream live TV over the 3G network or else play shows already recorded on the DVR.

The move would push users to sign up for U-verse rather than use AT&T only for the iPhone service. SlingPlayer technically allows any compatible set-top box to stream its output through a Slingbox and so can work with rival TV providers or third-party DVRs, such as TiVo's devices.

Whether or not this is the motive isn't clear and is potentially controversial as it may run afoul of competition laws. However, AT&T has publicly acknowledge that it wants to tie the iPhone to U-verse and has mentioned moving DVR recordings to iPhones as one of its long-term goals. The source for the new rumor says that i-Verse has been in full development since a private preview earned a favorable reaction last year.

AT&T hasn't yet been available for comment but is expected to deny the allegations.

Critics have noted that, while AT&T claims its terms of service bar streaming live TV over a network, other smartphones like the BlackBerry Bold, Nokia 6650 and multiple Windows Mobile devices can all download SlingPlayer versions that specifically allow streaming over AT&T. The provider has argued that the iPhone is more powerful, though the Bold is theoretically faster and supports more software features, like multitasking.

by MacNN Staff



  1. jeffedsell

    Joined: Dec 1969


    i-Verse app?

    As a U-verse user and a non-Slingbox user, I can selfishly say, sounds good to me! :)

  1. ebeyer

    Joined: Dec 1969



    Once AT&T has a subscription TV service it officially supports over its own 3G network, its party line that it can't allow Slingbox to stream over the same network because of concerns about network congestion will be exposed for the lies that they are.

  1. fattychance

    Joined: Dec 1969


    They have no clothes on.

    Slingbox already revealed that they put in a bandwidth cap on the usage for their application to meet the guidelines that AT&T and Apple needed.

    Lower quality video on a low def device is just fine and not a problem. I have used Orb to do some streaming over the 2G network.

    They really have little right to dictate to their customers ... who are paying them for unlimited Internet ... how they use that bandwidth.

    If a tower gets bogged down and the video is c***...they will stop using it and do something else. After all...we can't multitask and what good is crappy video that has to stop and buffer all the time?

    The very nature of IP communication means in all practicality everyone will get their fair share of the available bandwidth.

    The only way it's a real problem is if they totally overloaded their network...which seems to be the case in major cities.

  1. testudo

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Re: hmmm

    Um, everyone already knows they are lying through their teeth (well, except for some on the MacNN site, technically).

    If people bought the "too much bandwidth" line, they'll certainly buy the "this app uses such high-end compression and streaming techniques, it barely puts a strain on the network, and, as such, we can allow it. Not like that bandwidth-hungry, network-crashing SlingBox app!" line.

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