iPad 3G video downscaled, blocked over AT&T network | iLounge News

iPad 3G video downscaled, blocked over AT&T network


In our early testing, iLounge has learned that some video delivery applications act differently over the 3G network than they do on Wi-Fi. The iPad’s built-in YouTube application strips both standard and HD videos to a dramatically lower resolution over the cellular data connection, something that iTunes Store video previews notably do not do, instead staying at a higher quality and consuming a greater amount of data. Other third-party applications, such as the ABC Player, refuse to work at all over the cellular connection, producing a notification pop-up that states, “Please connect to a Wi-Fi network to use this application. Cellular networks are not supported at this time.”


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WTF why does AT&T ruin everything. Downscaled video, no teathering, no files over 20mb, no voice calls in SFO or NYC.  Come on already spend th billions you are getting from apple poroducts and upgrade your ***** network.

Posted by Chris on April 30, 2010 at 3:27 PM (CDT)


I’ve been “using” 3G for the past month with my iPad, via an AT&T card in a MiFi . Any time I try to access ABC player via the MiFi, in the US, funny enough, it tells me that I appear to be out the country. As well, when i tried ABC player via Gogo wifi on the plane, I got the same message. youtube worked fine, though, with the MiFi, as the iPad thinks its on WiFi.

Posted by Jeff on April 30, 2010 at 3:36 PM (CDT)


As someone who returned my i{ad to get the 3G today, this reeks to me of a Bait-and-Switch.

Posted by David Robeano on April 30, 2010 at 4:00 PM (CDT)


Have you tried limiting your WiFi bandwidth, either via the router or using a public site with low bandwidth? It may be Youtube auto-sensing the connection speed, versus an adjustment based on the connection type.

If that’s the case you’d see better results where you had a robust 3g connection, or if, when & where AT&T builds out it’s network.

Posted by Jim on April 30, 2010 at 4:26 PM (CDT)


The iPhone has done the same thing with YouTube pretty much since the beginning—it’s just less noticeable on a 320x480 screen than it is on the iPad.

On the iPhone at least, it’s based on the detection of a 3G connection rather than actual bandwidth.  Over a Mi-Fi that uses the same carrier as my iPhone (Rogers), I get full-resolution YouTube video on both the iPhone and iPad, since the devices think they’re on Wi-Fi, but over 3G from the iPhone itself, everything is scaled down.  I should also note that with Rogers there’s plenty of bandwidth on the iPhone 3GS, since Rogers runs a full 7.2mbps network—faster than some people’s broadband Internet connections.

Posted by Jesse Hollington on April 30, 2010 at 4:33 PM (CDT)


So basically going with the 3G version to stream movies etc.. (via Netflix, ABC app) is pointless and worthless now?? Why didn’t AT&T mention this… Guess its time for me to cancel my 3G (I ordered mine late) and save money with the wifi version.

Posted by Grady on April 30, 2010 at 4:41 PM (CDT)


I’m so disappointed!  ABC was going to be a showcase app for my mom, who has no net access…  curses, foiled again.

Posted by Jim on April 30, 2010 at 4:52 PM (CDT)


Since the iPad isn’t locked to AT&T like the iPhone, does AT&T not realize they’re just holding the door open for the other carriers to step up and create similar iPad friendly data plans that actually work?

Posted by Code Monkey on April 30, 2010 at 5:40 PM (CDT)


I’ve been using Verizon’s mifi with the iPad and can stream the ABC and Netflix apps in full screen/resolution.  Very impressed. Was thinking of selling my wifi only iPad to get the 3G version for convenience, but not now.

Posted by Duncan on April 30, 2010 at 6:19 PM (CDT)



Seems some people (from what I have been told) are finding out its not AT&T that is blocking the video for the sakes of blocking video over 3G… Seems that ABC is streaming to large of a video file (or something along these lines). So ABC needs to fix there app, NETFLIX is working fine over 3G.

Posted by Grady on April 30, 2010 at 7:25 PM (CDT)


Youtube quality has ALWAYS been downgraded using 3G on the iphone vs Wifi. Ilounge is not aware of this?

Posted by Tom on April 30, 2010 at 9:21 PM (CDT)


#11: This isn’t an iPhone. This is a device with a 9.7” 1024x768 screen.

Posted by Jeremy Horwitz on April 30, 2010 at 9:58 PM (CDT)


#12 I understand that. But my point is that 3G always downgraded youtube video quality. The ilounge reviewer seems surprised that it is downrezzed. ATT 3G on Ipad is same as ATT 3G on iphone..youtube is going to be downrezzed.

Posted by Tom on May 1, 2010 at 1:55 AM (CDT)


I’m with No.6 above.  I’ll buy the cheaper WiFi version and get a MiFi card and pay for a more reliable network.

When is AT&T (and Apple) going to learn?

One word for this version:  FAIL.

Posted by JonnyOneNote on May 1, 2010 at 2:18 AM (CDT)


If your iPad has a 3-year lifecycle, why on earth would you put 3G in it anyway?  LTE and 4G will be everywhere in that period.
The fact that cell networks haven’t completely failed with the data loads they carry is impressive. 
Reminds me of photos of 35 people riding a single bike in SE Asia.  Not built for this but somewhat getting it done.

Posted by Zip Bahlas on May 1, 2010 at 6:19 AM (CDT)


Regarding the downsampling for the Netflix app on the iPad 3G, I haven’t experienced any video quality compromise. This could just be subjective to where the user is getting a signal. However ABC needs to downsample rather than just completey making their iPad app completely inoperable. 

Overall. I’m very please with the quality and speed of the 3G network for the iPad. For what I do, which is read email, surf the net, and occasionally watch videos, while away from my home or office the service has been stellar.

Posted by Randy on May 1, 2010 at 7:49 AM (CDT)


@Code Monkey (#8): Unfortunately, these limitations don’t seem to be triggered by AT&T’s network, but rather in the iPhone OS or apps themselves, and the restrictions (at least on the iPhone) exist in every country where the iPhone is sold. There’s a general feeling outside of the U.S. that Apple’s kowtowing to AT&T’s “requirements” is actually ruining the experience for the rest of the world.

For instance, I can perhaps understand why YouTube videos need to be downsampled on AT&T’s slow 3G network, which even at peak performance is only 1.8mbps in most places.  As I noted above, however, Rogers up here provides 7.2mbps just about everywhere and provides better 3G performance than I get on some Wi-Fi networks. Yet we have to live with the same 3G restrictions as AT&T users do because they’re built into the iPhone OS.  :(

Posted by Jesse Hollington on May 1, 2010 at 9:21 AM (CDT)


Once again everyone is quick to blame AT&T when Apple released their product with program settings that would not allow full operation on the 3G network. Those screen messages and limitations are coming from the iPad not AT&T.

Posted by LightShadow on May 1, 2010 at 2:52 PM (CDT)


i worked for AT&T, all entities, as a consultant for years. They still have a utility mentality, and their decision makers are too old and too anti-deluvian to make smart consumer decisions.

As one poster said here, at least Rogers opens their pipes. Hell, in Japan, you can get 200 MBPS over your phone for $29/mo. The USA is soooooo behind-the-eight-ball when it comes to networks that it’s laughable.

Posted by Jfrank on May 1, 2010 at 5:26 PM (CDT)


Just measured the ABC app over MiWi on my JB’ed iPhone. Throughput is 6 MB/sec. I am glad I decided against the 3G version, and yes I watch my usage to ensure that I’m not a bandwidth hog.

Posted by marinelayer on May 1, 2010 at 5:39 PM (CDT)

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