AT&T Issues Statement On Crippled Slingbox App
Sorry kids, slinging just not allowed...
Yesterday news emerged that the Slingbox application being sold in the iPhone application store wouldn't work over AT&T's 3G network, because the carrier was worried about bandwidth
. This comes after several months of tinkering with their terms of service
to ensure that it prohibits place shifting, the legal language tinkering with the very definition of "personal computer." AT&T has subsequently issued a statement about the decision to restrict the application to just Wi-Fi. The statement in full:
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.
We assume slinging will
be ok over 3G when AT&T ultimately releases an application that place shifts AT&T U-Verse content to iPhones using the exact same network.
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AT&T's statement is just stupid for a number of reasons:
1. Bandwidth is bandwidth. It doesn't matter if you are streaming from Hulu or a Slingbox, especially since the Slingbox app is limits its stream to 500 kbps.
2. Other AT&T supported devices, like the BlackBerry, allow Slingbox to stream via 3G. Also ORB works on the iPhone via 3G.
3. The iPhone works on other networks besides AT&T's. AT&T shouldn't care what anyone does on other networks.
So basically AT&T seems to be discriminating specifically against the iPhone for some reason. I can't figure out why exactly though. Even if AT&T wanted to sell their own video service, that doesn't explain why they allow Sling on Blackberry's.
Note, I don't have an iPhone, I just think it's a dumb move on AT&T's part.
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