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AT&T says it is to blame for the SlingPlayer fiasco

Mel Martin

Engadget and other publications tonight are quoting AT&T saying it knifed the SlingPlayer for iPhone due to concerns over bandwidth.

"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."

Well OK, AT&T. You do allow Slingplayer to run on other phones on your system. A couple of weeks ago you apologized for the language in the Terms of Service that got such bad publicity and implied it wasn't talking about the SlingPlayer.

It's clear the popularity of the iPhone combined with massive streaming is not going to help a cellular network that drops calls on the best of days. Apple is stuck with these guys, and so are we. iPhone owners who pay a healthy charge for 'unlimited' data are getting a crippled app on what is apparently a crippled network. Perhaps Apple will think about the fun they've had with AT&T the last couple of years and think about offering some choice to iPhone customers.

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