After a year in limbo, AT&T has finally decided to allow the SlingPlayer app to run on its 3G network
, permitting Sling Box owners to watch video from their home televisions using an iPhone app that's "optimized" for 3G. The carrier had restricted SlingPlayer to WiFi-only operation last May, claiming that the app violated its terms of service. AT&T has not explained how or whether the new SlingPlayer works around that violation.
Sling Media, a subsidiary of EchoStar, had introduced a their SlingPlayer Mobile app last year, which gave Slingbox PRO-HD owners the ability to watch local channels as well as premium cable, video on demand, pay per view - "any program that you can watch on your sofa back home, you can now watch via your iPhone," the company then said. Further, the SlingPlayer allowed remote control of home digital video recorders (DVRs) so that users could watch recorded shows as well as pausing or rewinding/fast-forwarding live TV from their iPhones and setting up new recordings.
AT&T balked. They claimed that SlingPlayer would bring its already-strained network to its knees... surprising no one. "Slingbox, which would use large amounts of wireless network capacity, could create congestion and potentially prevent other customers from using the network." Even more, the company said at the time, "applications like this, which redirect a TV signal to a personal computer, are specifically prohibited under our terms of service," and that it believed that "smartphones like the iPhone to be personal computers in that they have the same hardware and software attributes as PCs." Now, however, all is apparently well. “Since mid-December 2009," the carrier said in a statement today
, "AT&T has been testing the app and has recently notified Sling Media — as well as Apple — that the optimized app can run on its 3G network.”
In order to streaming video recorded at home, users need either a Slingbox Solo which retails for $179.99 US, or the Slingbox PRO-HD at $299.99, along with the "optimized" app. As of this writing, the new app was not yet been available on the App Store: the WiFi-only app sells for $30 US.
image via Sling Media