Want to watch Slingbox on your iPhone? You may need to buy a new device

In a move seen by many as a tactic to drive more sales, Sling Media has decided not to support older versions of its hardware in the forthcoming SlingPlayer Mobile for iPhone. That means customers who own a classic Slingbox, Slingbox AV or Slingbox Tuner won't be able to take advantage of the company's most highly-anticipated software release.

SlingPlayer Mobile enables users to connect with their Slingbox and stream television to their phones. Windows Mobile, BlackBerry, Symbian and Palm OS based phones are currently supported, but the holy grail for the company has been the iPhone, with its large vibrant screen and powerful processing capabilities.

Now that SlingPlayer Mobile for iPhone is nearing release, not everyone is jumping for joy. "I was looking forward to using Sling on my iPod touch. No way am I going to pay for a "new" Slingbox and the iPhone app. I guess I will have to continue to use ORB. I am so MAD," remarked one poster to the SlingCommunity website.

"I think this is a massive fail for Sling. If anyone from Sling reads this: you guys have let down alot of people, very sad, you will not be getting any money from me now," wrote another.

Sling Media has set up a special page where it is offering a $50 rebate to those customers using older devices.

"Sling Media is encouraging customers who own these earlier versions of Slingbox to upgrade to Slingbox SOLO or Slingbox PRO-HD to take advantage of next generation software and services that will only be supported when using the most current Slingbox and SlingLoaded products," the site reads. "Future software includes the highly anticipated SlingPlayer Mobile for iPhone software launching soon."

The page was later updated to clarify that Slingbox PRO will also be supported by the new software, however Sling Media has offered no details as to why it won't support the older devices, especially since they work fine with SlingPlayer on other phones.

"Now the reward I get for being a loyal customer and advocate for Sling is a knife in the back. This is pure greed on their part. That's business, I understand. But now Sling has forced me to respond with negative comments anytime I'm asked," said SlingCommunity user cgachuck. "I'm willing to pay for the iPhone app, no problem. But forcing me to upgrade to the Solo is unacceptable."

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