Sling Media, Apple, and AT&T: A confederacy of douches

AT&T and Apple's arbitrary decision to forbid the streaming media iPhone app SlingPlayer to be allowed to operate over 3G, for fear of saturating AT&T's network, was—if I may adopt the tenor of a business analyst here—super douchey. Eliot Van Buskirk sums up the situation tidily. But considering that Sling Media offered weak excuses about why its older models did not fully support the $30 application—did I mention it's a $30 iPhone application?—it doesn't sound like it's much of a loss. The planned obsolescence would be more forgivable if the iPhone app were free. I actually understand AT&T's hesitancy to approve this use of their fragile 3G network, as horribly short-sighted as it may be, but the hoops they jump through to try to justify it are typically gymnastic:
"Applications like this, which redirect a TV signal to a personal computer, are specifically prohibited under our terms of service," stated AT&T. "We consider smartphones like the iPhone to be personal computers in that they have the same hardware and software attributes as PCs." However, this policy is obviously inconsistent. Owners of the Samsung Blackjack, Motorola Q, Blackberry, and other smartphones are able to stream Slingbox content over AT&T's 3G network. Only Sling's iPhone app is crippled in this way.
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11 Responses to Sling Media, Apple, and AT&T: A confederacy of douches

  1. DefMech says:

    As the article states, Orb isn’t affected by this for some reason. I’ve been using it for months and I love it. It streams actual video files as well as broadcast tv if you have a decoder card in your pc. No worries about manually transcoding files and synching them to your phone, just pick some folders to share and you’re done.

  2. Joel Johnson says:

    Don’t you read this—this is just a test!

  3. Rob Beschizza says:

    I love Movable Type. I love Movable Type. I love Movable Type. I love Movable Type. I love Movable Type. I love Movable Type. I love Movable Type.

  4. Rossi says:

    Oooh, late night shenanigans. Fun.

  5. mkultra says:

    The difference is that on average, people with those other phones tend not to actually use them for the media-rich stuff as much. Not nearly as much.

    When AT&T signed up for this deal, they assumed that iPhone users would be similar to other smartphone users, and pretty much only use it outside of being a phone on occasion, when showing off to friends and the like. As a result, they oversold their network big-time.

    Now they are just trying to stop the bleeding. Yeah, I know, cry me a river: they sell “unlimited” and are horrified when people actually start using it that way.

    This doesn’t actually have much to do with Apple, except that Apple obviously had a clause in their contract allowing AT&T to set certain guidelines on what goes over their network.

    Apparently those other handset makers aren’t under the same contract.

  6. bardfinn says:

    Hola, FCC: Clearly, de-regulating the cellular industry brings customers the features they really want!

    Skype + ubiquitous WiFi keeps looking better and better and better.

  7. Anonymous says:

    Yeah, well, since RIM apparently owns the US Senate, AT&T with their low-rent “house of relatively cheaply bought representatives” is not likely to do anything that impacts the Crackberry.

    Brings new meaning to the term “RIM job”, eh? No, I guess not.

    Tech note: The last couple of days, reCAPTCA’s 2-word captchas have frequently had 3 to 4 words in them. If you run all but the last two together as one word, though, they still work.

  8. DarthGooN says:

    AT&T’s douchebaggery grows…

    they may have a more underhandedly annoying reason for denying sling via 3G…

    i don’t think any of this is confirmed yet. but it DOES make a lot of sense.

  9. Anonymous says:

    O yes, RIM a Canadian company that can’t even manage to buy a hockey team from some American bankrupt, controls the US senate — good1!

  10. DSMVWL THS says:

    “We consider smartphones like the iPhone to be personal computers in that they have the same hardware and software attributes as PCs.”

    Like my PC that I watch TV on?

  11. Anonymous says:

    Get a G1. I have a Last.FM streaming player and a shoutcast/mp3 streaming player (streamfurious) and use them routinely on t-mo.

    FWIW – both apps were free.

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