Crippled by Apple

With SlingPlayer Mobile for iPhone, the ability to control your DVR will come in handy as long as you're near a Wi-Fi hot spot.

After some hiccups in the development process, Sling Media has finally released SlingPlayer Mobile for the iPhone. The software works with your Slingbox at home, and lets you control and watch your satellite or cable box and DVR from your iPhone or iPod Touch. As with SlingPlayer Mobile on other platforms, you'll have access to a menu bar that'll let you use a remote-like interface to control your Slingbox, as well as switch among Sling devices and manage your favorite channels. What's new are a few gestures that allow you to scroll through your favorite channels.

SlingPlayer Mobile will work with new Slingbox and legacy devices, but Sling Media officially won't support the Sling Classic, AV, and Tuner models--that means that if you've got a problem with one of those devices, you won't get troubleshooting assistance. Now here's the real bad news: SlingPlayer Mobile for the iPhone only works with a Wi-Fi connection, meaning you cannot use the 3G network to stream video.

Performance wise, the software worked well, though gesture response was a bit sluggish. Picture quality, which will always depend on your Wi-Fi connection, was good in our tests, although not as smooth as a video you'd play from the device's internal storage.

If you're an iPhone or iPod Touch user and you've already got a Slingbox at home, the mobile software will really let you get the most out of your Slingbox. The ability to control your DVR will come in handy as long as you're near a hot spot. If you don't have a Slingbox already hooked up to your TV, don't buy one for the sake of your iPhone. Until or unless Apple lets the app do its magic through 3G, the remote control aspect just isn't that reliable.

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