SlingPlayer Mobile has finally arrived in the App Store, with one fairly major handicap – it won’t stream video over a 3G network. AT&T have cited their terms of service, which prohibits applications that “redirect a TV signal to a personal computer”, as the reason for blocking SlingPlayer’s 3G capability.
AT&T’s official statement is as follows:
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 smartphone.
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.
There’s a couple of issues with this. For starters, other 3G phones available on the AT&T network, including the BlackBerry Bold, have SlingPlayer applications with no such restrictions (and I know for a fact that certain people at RIM would take offense to their devices not qualifying for “personal computer” status when the iPhone does, but I digress). Then there’s the fact that both Slingboxes and iPhones are available outside the US, where AT&T should have absolutely no say in what functionality is made available in iPhone applications.
Google encountered this issue with T-Mobile, the exclusive carrier of the Android-based HTC Dream (or T-Mobile G1). In March, they removed tethering applications from the Android Market, and after public outcry, allowed applications that broke T-Mobile US’s ToS to be downloaded from the Android Market in other regions – which is exactly what Apple need to do here.
But that’s not stopping you from doing what you want with your iPhone while you wait for Apple to come to their senses. According to Applied Gadgetry, those of you with jailbroken iPhones can use a little program called VoIPover3G, available from Cydia, to trick SlingPlayer Mobile into thinking it’s on a Wi-Fi connection. You’ll need to install OpenSSH on your iPhone (if you haven’t already), and use the client of your choice to SSH into your phone and add “com.slingmedia.SlingPlayer” to the filter list in “/Library/MobileSubstrate/DynamicLibraries/VoIPover3G.plist”.
SlingPlayer Mobile is available from the App Store for $30.