Feeds

AT&T lets 3G Sling TV onto iPhone

Timing is everything

Beginner's guide to SSL certificates

Updated AT&T has reversed an earlier stand, allowing Sling Media's player for the iPhone touch to stream live or recorded television over 3G.

As we reported last spring, AT&T originally restricted SlingPlayer Mobile to Wi-Fi connections - even though it allowed 3G streaming rights for Major League Baseball's MLB.com At Bat app.

At that time, Cnet quoted Sling Media's mobile product manager, Dave Eyler, as saying that their player was "under the bit rate that Apple has set for these kinds of applications," adding that "we are below some of the apps that have already been approved for the App Store."

AT&T, however, apparently feared that the popularity of SlingPlayer Mobile would further choke its already-beleaguered 3G network, low bit rate or not.

But now Big Phone has changed its tune - and they're claiming that the reason for their new attitude towards Sling Media is that the app has been rejiggered to be less bandwidth-hungry.

"The key for us is Sling Media was willing to work with us to revise the app to make it more bandwidth sensitive," said Ralph de la Vega, AT&T's Mobility and Consumer chieftan said in a canned statement. "They made important changes to more efficiently use 3G network bandwidth and conserve wireless spectrum so that we were able to support the app on our 3G mobile broadband network."

Sling Media did not respond to our question as to whether the revised SlingPlayer Mobile will, indeed, differ in any substantive way from the previously disallowed version when it soon appears in Apple's App Store*. But AT&T claims that it has been testing "a revised and optimized version" of the app since December.

In his contribution to de la Vega's statement, Sling Media's general manager John Gilmore shied away from direct comment on how their app had been made more "bandwidth sensitive," saying only: "We're delighted with AT&T's decision to approve the SlingPlayer Mobile app on their 3G network."

It's not that we doubt the complete and total veracity of AT&T's statement, but we can't help but think that there may be more than bandwidth sensitivity behind AT&T's new-found 3G largess. The company has been under fire from many critics - not the least of which being the Federal Communications Commission and a US Senate panel - on a variety of fronts, from selective influence over iPhone Apps to its arguments against net neutrality to handset-exclusivity deals.

In addition, Big Phone has been feverishly sprucing up its sagging network infrastructure. In its most recent financial disclosure, for example, it reported that it had spent $17.3bn on capital expenditures in 2009 and that it was planning to increase its wireless-network spending by $2bn in 2010.

Perhaps the timing of today's announcement was based not only on SlingPlayer Mobile's increased bandwidth sensitivity, but also by AT&T's need to improve its image of heavy-handedness, along with their belief that recent and planned network improvements can now handle the load of untold numbers of Slingers slinging TV to their iPhones over Big Phone's 3G network. ®

* Updated

After the publication of this story, a Sling Media spokesperson emailed The Reg to tell us that there had only been "some very minor additions to the application over the one we submitted last spring," and that although "Apple has indicated that they will review the app quickly," an approval date for the update had not yet been set.

Beginner's guide to SSL certificates

More from The Register

next story
Nexus 7 fandroids tell of salty taste after sucking on Google's Lollipop
Web giant looking into why version 5.0 of Android is crippling older slabs
Heyyy! NICE e-bracelet you've got there ... SHAME if someone were to SUBPOENA it
Court pops open cans of worms and whup-ass in Fitbit case
SLURP! Flick your TONGUE around our LOLLIPOP – Google
Android 5 is coming – IF you're lucky enough to have the right gadget
Official: European members prefer to fondle Apple iPads
Only 7 of 50 parliamentarians plump for Samsung Galaxy S
Fujitsu CTO: We'll be 3D-printing tech execs in 15 years
Fleshy techie disses network neutrality, helmet-less motorcyclists
Space Commanders rebel as Elite:Dangerous kills offline mode
Frontier cops an epic kicking in its own forums ahead of December revival
The IT Crowd's internet in a box gets $240k of crowdcash for a cause
'Outernet' project proposes satellite-fuelled 'Lantern' WiFi library for remote areas
prev story

Whitepapers

Why cloud backup?
Combining the latest advancements in disk-based backup with secure, integrated, cloud technologies offer organizations fast and assured recovery of their critical enterprise data.
Getting started with customer-focused identity management
Learn why identity is a fundamental requirement to digital growth, and how without it there is no way to identify and engage customers in a meaningful way.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Internet Security Threat Report 2014
An overview and analysis of the year in global threat activity: identify, analyze, and provide commentary on emerging trends in the dynamic threat landscape.
Storage capacity and performance optimization at Mizuno USA
Mizuno USA turn to Tegile storage technology to solve both their SAN and backup issues.