SlingPlayer for iPad — don’t buy it.

I have to say, when I finally got a chance to get the SlingPlayer Mobile app for my iPhone, I was quite upset to find that they were charging $30 for it — more than 5x the price of any other app I have purchased for that platform.

On top of that, after using it for a while, I can honestly say that it was not worth the price. The control scheme is unwieldy (to say the last); the actual interactions with the PVR are unresponsive to the point of being nearly useless; and the picture quality is poor (even with the latest 2.0 version).

Essentially, it’s a tech demo: I have never used it for anything other than explaining to people what is possible on the iPhone.

I’m an optimist though, so when the iPad version of SlingPlayer came out, I thought maybe they will have made use of the improved screen real estate and horsepower to provide a better experience, so I’ll just go to the App Store and… WHAT?!?!?! Another 30 dollars!!!!

Um… In a word, no.

Even for an iPad app, that price is off by (at least) a factor of two, and they simply haven’t demonstrated that they can deliver an experience that justifies that cost. Hey, SlingMedia, take a look at StreamToMe it’s one tenth the price and offers a streaming media experience (albeit a simpler one) that is significantly better than SlingPlayer.

SlingPlayer Mobile for iPhone (Updated)

So, as you may already know, I have a Slingbox Solo. I continue to be quite happy with it, and use it regularly to watch TV on one computer while playing WAR on the other.

One of the things that made this device particularly compelling to me, however, was the claim that they were going to come out with SlingPlayer Mobile for iPhone. When SlingMedia first announced this, they said it would be available sometime in the first quarter… Well, apparently that didn’t work. However, it was submitted to the AppStore early in April.

So what’s going on?

Some people in the industry are reporting that carriers have pushed back on this app, since they didn’t want to support the increased demand on their networks. Others are saying that because of the nature of the app, Apple is just being extremely careful about it. Personally, I find that somewhat unlikely; any company that could (briefly) publish a shaken baby app can’t be all that careful.

In any case, it’s been a full month now that Apple has been sitting on the app, and it’s time to let it go. Either that or, hey SlingMedia, just release it on your website. I’ll jailbreak the phone to use it, so help me Apple, I will.

Update: SlingPlayer Mobile for iPhone is out. Apple and Sling Media bowed to the carriers, and removed the ability to stream over 3G, even though beta versions of the app supported it. That, together with the $30 (!) price tag, was almost enough for me to bail on it. I did decide to buy it eventually, and the capsule review is “works well over wifi”.