You no longer have to gaze wistfully across the Atlantic, European readers, because SlingPlayer today officially released its mobile app (iTunes link) for iPhone across 16 countries in your continent. You may, however, bemoan the lack of 3G streaming in the version that was released.
It’s been four months since the original SlingPlayer app was released in the initial launch countries of the U.S., the UK, and Canada in May. Thus far, none of the apps released have support for streaming over 3G, a limitation which some users are jailbreaking their phones to get around.
Sling Media’s president and general manager spoke to Macworld UK about the European launch of the Wi-Fi version of the app, and the continued inability to get Apple to approve the 3G version of the same:
We are disappointed that Apple has not yet approved the 3G version of the SlingPlayer Mobile application for iPhone and iPod customers outside the U.S. However, we are very excited to launch the Wi-Fi version — it gives our European customers access to the full spectrum of viewing choices on their iPhone or iPod touch when connected to a Wi-Fi network — the ability to watch and control both their live TV from home — local channels, local sports, video-on-demand and pay-per-view — as well as their home digital video recorder (DVR).
If a 3G version is approved, it’s likely it’ll happen outside of the U.S. first, since AT&T is notoriously protective of its somewhat fragile and overtaxed network, and a boatload of SlingBox owners streaming content over said network could exacerbate existing problems significantly.
The jailbreak option to allow 3G streaming is appealing to many SlingPlayer Mobile users, as evidenced by the top review when I checked up on the U.S. version of the app today. User “giliswhet” recommends jailbreaking and installing a utility called 3G Unrestrictor, which allows you to do anything you can do over Wi-Fi over 3G (including Skype calls, presumably). He describes the quality over 3G as comparable to that over Wi-Fi.
Despite the lack of 3G streaming, and a vocal minority making complaints about said limitation, SlingPlayer Mobile is rated three and a half stars in the App Store, with a high percentage of five-star ratings.
The app itself costs $29.99 in the U.S., and requires a Slingbox installed on your home theater system to function. The new countries where it is now available include Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland.