updated 01:10 pm EST, Fri February 5, 2010
Sling says AT&T optimization claim misleading
Sling Media on Friday corrected AT&T's position on the clearance to ship a 3G-capable SlingPlayer for iPhone. While AT&T characterized the remote TV streaming app as "optimized," the Slingbox creator company's John Santoro told Ars Technica that Sling "didn't change anything" in its 3G code, or enter discussions, to satisfy AT&T's demands. The app has always had dynamic bitrate changes to match available bandwidth.
AT&T never explicitly stated that it had the app changed but had implied that some level of change had been necessary. Many observers suspect, however, that the cell service provider had simply been waiting to complete 3G upgrades and has only approved SlingPlayer and other 3G video streaming apps now that it believes its cell sites can handle the load.
Official answers as to the delay have been contradictory. At first, AT&T created a strangely-worded exception to prevent the iPhone from getting the same SlingPlayer support as BlackBerry, Symbian and Windows Mobile smartphones, only to admit through documents that it was worried about network congestion as the combination of the iPhone's popularity and video streaming could bog down 3G quality even further than was already the case.
Sling added that it has already submitted a version of SlingPlayer with 3G restored but that it's still undergoing the regular App Store submission process.