Sling Media Now Offering Wi-Fi-Only SlingPlayer Mobile App for iPhone and iPod touch

--App's 3G Capability Disabled Due to Pressure from Apple, AT&T

TV placeshifting company, Sling Media (note: the company is a wholly owned subsidiary of EchoStar Corp.), announced Wednesday that it is now offering a version of its SlingPlayer Mobile application (allows users to watch their home TV service and DVR-recorded programming remotely on their mobile phone) for the Apple iPhone and iPod touch devices. However, the application, which is priced at $29.99 and available in the iPhone App Store, only works with Wi-Fi and not with the 3G mobile network of AT&T, the only US wireless carrier to offer the iPhone.

Sling Media says that it made the decision to disable 3G functionality on the application at Apple's request. Apple was apparently deferring to AT&T--its iPhone business partner--which is claiming that a 3G version of the app would violate its terms of service (which were modified last month to prohibit "redirecting television signals for viewing on personal computers") and strain its 3G infrastructure: "Slingbox, which would use large amounts of wireless network capacity, could create congestion and potentially prevent other customers from using the network," AT&T said in a prepared statement released Wednesday. "The application does not run on our 3G wireless network. Applications like this, which redirects 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 PC's." AT&T is believed to be working on its own TV placeshifting platform, codenamed "i-Verse" and intended as an enhancement to its Microsoft Mediaroom-powered IPTV service, U-verse--which has led some commentators to speculate that the company's refusal to allow SlingPlayer mobile on its 3G network is not solely motivated by concerns about that network's capacity.

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