SlingPlayer Mobile app for iPhone Available on the App Store Now; AT&T confirms it will Work only Over Wi-Fi

BY Jason

Published 12 May 2009

Sling Media on iTunes

The SlingPlayer Mobile will be available to the iPhone users for download very soon just as I had speculated just a few days ago.

The news comes straight from the horses mouth this time (Sling Media), where the countdown has already begun. They have confirmed that their iPhone app will finally be available on the App Store anytime between 12:00 to 6:00 AM Eastern Time.

SlingPlayer mobile was submitted to the App store way back in March, however we heard that this app might be rejected because
of AT&Ts had concerns with regards to the bandwidth utilization of the iPhone app.

But we finally have some good and bad news to report about Sling Media’s iPhone app after months of speculations.

The Good:

  • It’s finally coming tonight! The long awaited app will be available in the app store and users will be able to buy and watch their favorite TV shows live on their iPhones.
  • The User Interface is quite nice; SlingPlayer Mobile makes use of an overlay concept, which neatly saves any extra space required for interacting with the control. Example: the user can easily surf between channels by swiping his/her finger across the iPhone while the current channel is playing at the backdrop.
  • The iPhone App will work even with the older Slingboxes, which include Classic, Tuner and the AV.

The Bad:

  • The app will only work on Wi-Fi. A bummer? It might just be true that AT&T managed to pull some strings by not allowing the app to use the 3G and eat into its ‘precious’ bandwidth. This opens up many questions; by limiting it to work only over Wi-Fi has Apple spoilt the chances of Sling Media’s iPhone app being a success? In my case, whenever I am close to my Wi-Fi, I am also close to my laptop! But many user who have jaibroken their iPhone use VOIPover3G to make calls on Skype over iPhone’s data network by tricking the iPhone into thinking that it’s on Wi-Fi when it’s actually using a 3G connection. BigBoss did state that it will work across all the apps – since its functionality is not dependent on specific apps so it should work with SlingPlayer Mobile as well. It remains to be seen if we could use the VOIPover3G and use the SlingPlayer Mobile app over 3G connections. If it’s possible then it will be another good reason to jailbreak iPhone.
  • Although the SlingPlayer Mobile will run on the older Slingboxes (Classic, Tuner and AV) there will not be any technical support available in case the user runs in to trouble. The technical support will be available only in case the user has a Slingbox PRO, SOLO, or PRO-HD. This move might have been the result of the outrage from people who have an older Slingbox hardware.

Update 1:

Engadget is now reporting that AT&T has issued a statement why SlingPlayer Mobile for iPhone will work only over Wi-Fi:

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

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.

This will be a controversial move as SlingPlayer Mobile is currently available on a number of other smartphone platforms which stream content over AT&T’s 3G network.

At a speculative price tag of $29.99, would you call this app a
handicap or its still a pretty useful app even though it works only
over Wi-Fi! I am curious to know your reaction and see if its thumbs up
or a thumbs down.

If you want to get an idea of how it works, you can checkout the demo video by following this link. We will keep you posted as soon as the iPhone app is available on the App Store so stay tuned her at iPhone Hacks.

Update 2:

SlingPlayer Mobile for iPhone is available on the App Store now and as speculated costs $29.99. You can download it using this direct iTunes link. It works only over Wi-Fi as reported earlier but readers Bryan and Charlie have confirmed that it works over 3G using the VOiPOver3G hack. Thanks folks for the heads up!