Feeds

AT&T lets 3G Sling TV onto iPhone

Timing is everything

Gartner critical capabilities for enterprise endpoint backup

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.

5 things you didn’t know about cloud backup

More from The Register

next story
Raspberry Pi B+: PHWOAR, get a load of those pins
More USB ports than your laptop? You'd better believe it...
So, Apple won't sell cheap kit? Prepare the iOS garden wall WRECKING BALL
It can throw the low cost race if it looks to the cloud
Apple promises to lift Curse of the Drained iPhone 5 Battery
Have you tried turning it off and...? Never mind, here's a replacement
Now that's FIRE WIRE: HP recalls 6 MILLION burn-risk laptop cables
Right in the middle of Burning Mains Man week
Apple's iWatch? They cannae do it ... they don't have the POWER
Analyst predicts fanbois will have to wait until next year
Super Cali signs a kill-switch, campaigners say it's atrocious
Remote-death button bad news for crooks, protesters – and great news for hackers?
HUGE iPAD? Maybe. HUGE ADVERTS? That's for SURE
Noo! Hand not big enough! Don't look at meee!
prev story

Whitepapers

A new approach to endpoint data protection
What is the best way to ensure comprehensive visibility, management, and control of information on both company-owned and employee-owned devices?
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Maximize storage efficiency across the enterprise
The HP StoreOnce backup solution offers highly flexible, centrally managed, and highly efficient data protection for any enterprise.
How modern custom applications can spur business growth
Learn how to create, deploy and manage custom applications without consuming or expanding the need for scarce, expensive IT resources.
Next gen security for virtualised datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.