AT&T blocks SlingPlayer iPhone app, iStream next?

by Alex Kuretz on May 14, 2009 · 5 comments

in News


I was reading yesterday and came across an article about AT&T blocking the SlingPlayer iPhone application from streaming video across their 3G network. The iPhone app will still support streaming over Wifi hotspots which AT&T gives iPhone users free access to, however not over the 3G network which greatly impacts the usefulness and flexibility of the application.

Engadget likens it to opening the floodgates on network congesting applications, noting that “while a truly trivial number of users own Slingboxes, we understand what they’re getting at; no amount of tweaking or fudging of a modern HSPA network can withstand the traffic onslaught generated by wildly popular streaming video services.” They also note that there are several other devices on the AT&T network that are capable of running the SlingPlayer appliction, which demonstrates the incredible power and control that Apple has by virtue of the App store.

It isn’t clear to me where the line gets drawn between AT&T and Apple as to who has the ultimate decision about the SlingPlayer application being released, however I couldn’t help but think about the recent release of the iStream application for streaming photos, music, and video from your MediaSmart Server to your iPhone. Does this mean that there are less MediaSmart Server owners than Slingbox owners and so there’s no real concern about bandwidth consumption? Or might Apple or AT&T one day revisit the decision to release the iStream application?

Article by

I'm Alex Kuretz, and I'm the founder of I was the Lead Test and Integration Engineer at HP for the MediaSmart Server until April 2008 when I moved on to other opportunities outside HP. I've kept active in the Windows Home Server community, creating several add-ins and helping users make the most of their Home Servers.


T-Bone May 14, 2009 at 9:30 am

I read the underlying reason for this block is that AT&T is releasing i-verse. It is functional like slingboxes app. They have the ability to redirect video from AT&T own u-verse equiptment that users subscribe to. Hold on Ill find the article…

Ok back here you go:

Alex Kuretz May 14, 2009 at 10:45 am

Very interesting read, thanks for the link! This does raise more questions than answers for me, though. Would AT&T try to shut down all SlingPlayer compatible devices if an App Store existed for them?

DamianP May 14, 2009 at 4:15 pm

IMO this is only the beginning. More and more I think you will see content providers come up with their own versions of the different products out there, and try to pigeonhole (is that a real phrase, and if so where did it come from as it is kinda gross, ok focus…) you into their product. As most techie people know there is a battle going on with hulu trying to control how their content is accessed. CBS has come up with their own streaming site ( What happens if/when someone comes out with an extender that every Joe Schmoe household can afford and use easily, and have instant access to online content (thinking possibly the rumored Boxee Box), you will see how quick the content providers (cable cos or networks) look to block this or pull their content from a site like Hulu. I don’t think it is coincidence that Boxee was the first target of Hulu… Where is Mulder and Scully when you need them, I smell a conspiracy…

Jonathan May 15, 2009 at 3:07 pm

Shhh! Don’t tell them iStream is a “Streaming” application.

nx2050 May 17, 2009 at 2:28 am

Just another reason why people jailbreak the iPhones.
Why should AT&T in America dictate what applications should be able to stream content over the networks.
If you live in another country you are not criplled by AT&T’s awful infrastructure and o2 in the UK is certainly more than adequate.
Apple should drop AT&T end of.

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