(Source: TUAW) Rarely has an iPhone/iPod touch app seen so many ups and downs.

People have expected Sling Media to provide a version of their streaming video player for Apple since the iPhone first launched, but it has yet to materialize. In January, Sling demonstrated a beta of SlingPlayer Mobile for iPhone at Macworld and created a flurry of excitement.

Three weeks ago Sling announced with a great deal of fanfare that the app had been submitted to the App Store, but so far, all we’re hearing are crickets…

An apparent delay in the approval of SlingPlayer’s release on the App Store, coupled with unconfirmed reports that AT&T isn’t keen on seeing the device make its way to the iPhone, has led to speculation that the wireless carrier is seeking to have the software rejected in its current form.

Formally announced at January’s Macworld Expo with an expected release date of March, the SlingPlayer Mobile application promised to allow iPhone users to stream live television over WiFi or 3G by tapping into home TV setups equipped with a Slingbox. A built-in remote control function would reportedly allow for channel surfing and DVR setup.

(Source: TUAW) Last week we were pretty excited that the newSlingplayer app for iPhone had been submitted to Apple for approval. Now it seems, the folks at SlingMedia are determined to really get a large percentage of their customers angry about forcing them to have the latest Slingbox hardware in order to be compatible with the iPhone/ iPod touch app.

It’s something many iPhone owners have been waiting for since the iPhone first appeared 2 years ago. It was on again, off again, will they, won’t they?

Well, it seems they did. Sling has announced that SlingPlayer for iPhone has been submitted to the app store for approval. The company had previously said the app would be submitted this quarter, and it’s in just under the wire.

Sling already has versions for Blackberry, Windows Mobile, Symbian and Palm smart phones. No one can predict when, or if, Apple will approve the software, but there will be iPhone owners with pitchforks and torches outside Apple headquarters if the much sought-after app does not appear soon.

AppleInsider reports that Apple is developing an on-demand video service that would allow users to stream their purchased iTunes movies and TV shows from Apple’s servers for playback on personal devices. The service, to be called “iTunes Replay”, would eliminate the need for users to provide significant storage space for their libraries of purchased digital video.

In particular, devices with limited storage capacity, such as the iPhone/iPod touch and Apple TV, could benefit from this service, removing the need to sync with a host computer to load desired video files and circumventing storage capacity constraints of the portable devices.

[Editor's Note: I ran across this exact same issue when trying to play the HD version of a TV show on my plasma TV, which I paid for and downloaded from iTunes. It would play on my MacBook Pro if the display port plug was disconnected. But as soon as I plugged it back in, it stopped playing immediately. Ironically, when I went back to the iTunes store and downloaded the standard definition (SD) of the exact same show, it played just fine, and looked nearly as good.]

HDCP

Apple’s new MacBook lines include a form of digital copy protection that will prevent protected media, such as DRM-infused iTunes movies, from playing back on devices that aren’t compliant with the new priority protection measures.

The Intel-developed technology is called High-bandwidth Digital Content Protection (HDCP) and aims to prevent copying of digital audio and video content as it travels across a variety of display connectors, even if such copying is not in violation of fair use laws.

Netflix’s beta for streaming content directly to Macs is now available for open beta at:

http://www.netflix.com/silverlightoptin

Netflix notes a few things to consider before signing up:

- There may be bugs. We are logging all errors, but if you run into problems you can help out by posting details here in the blog comments.
- Not all movies are available to watch with Silverlight. You may notice errors or lower than normal quality when watching certain titles.
- Our new player works on PCs and Intel-based Macs.
- Windows users should be aware that if you opt in, you will need to use Silverlight on all the machines you use to watch instantly.

Netflix previously announced that they had begun limited beta testing of the new Mac service and expects the final release to be available by the end of the year.

Netflix is best known for its mail-order DVD rental service but also includes unlimited video streaming with their fixed monthly plans starting at $9/month. Up until now, this streaming service has not been Mac compatible.

Netflix announced today that they have begun testing Mac video streaming to a small portion of their subscribers, and expects widespread availability by the end of the year.

Netflix, Inc., the world’s largest online movie rental service, today announced it has begun the deployment of Microsoft Silverlight to enhance the instant watching component of the Netflix service and to allow subscribers for the first time to watch movies and TV episodes instantly on their Intel-based Apple Macintosh computers. The deployment, which will initially touch a small percentage of new Netflix subscribers, is the first step in an anticipated roll-out of the new platform to all Netflix subscribers by the end of the year.

We knew Hollywood wouldn’t let RealNetworks sell its RealDVD DVD-ripping-and-archiving software without a fight, and right on schedule, six major studios have filed a lawsuit seeking to prevent it from being sold. Of course, RealNetworks has been planning on hiding behind that Kaleidescape ruling all along, but straight CSS circumvention isn’t really what’s at the heart of the suit: according to the studios’ request for a restraining order, consumers won’t be able to contain themselves in the face of RealDVD’s voodoo magic and will start ripping rental DVDs en masse — seriously, the suit calls the incentive to do so “all but overwhelming.” Here’s a hint, guys: if you believe the temptation to do something is that strong, it probably means you can get people to pay to do it — and you should probably be working out a business model that embraces consumers instead of funding new BMWs for your lawyers while actual piracy tears down the fragile house of cards your entire industry is built on. Or you know, whatever.

A while back I noted that Amazon was planning to bring its video on demand service to the Mac. Well, it looks like they’ve finally flipped the switch because the service is now live.

Much like iTunes, they’re selling TV shows as well as offering movies for purchase and rent. Unlike iTunes, it’s a streaming rather than a download service. Fortunately, they’ve got a number of free videos which will give you a sense of the quality of the service (which requires Flash).

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