One of the most exciting things to come out of CES this year was the announcement of Sling TV, a streaming-only cable television subscription service coming to the Amazon Fire TV and Fire TV Stick. Sling TV CEO Roger Lynch answered a few questions yesterday in a Reddit AMA session and revealed some new information about the service. Here’s a rundown of everything we know, new and old, about the upcoming service.
Base Content & Pricing
$20 a month will get you live access to ESPN, ESPN2, CNN, TBS, TNT, HGTV, Food Network, Cartoon Network, Adult Swim, Travel Channel, ABC Family, Maker, and Disney Channel. Pricing is month-to-month with no contracts.
Additional Content & Pricing
A $5 per month “Kids Extra” package will add Boomerang, Baby TV, Duck TV, Disney Junior, and Disney XD.
A $5 per month “News & Info Extra” package will add HLN, DIY, Bloomberg, and Cooking Channel.
There are plans for a “Sports Extra” package which hasn’t been detailed yet, but is expected to bring additional ESPN channels “as well as other popular sports networks”.
There seems to be no plans to offer local networks (CBS, NBC, ABC, etc..). Sling TV’s CEO said “one of our core tenants is not forcing subscribers to pay for channels that [they] are already getting for free.”
Devices & Access
Sling TV will be available on both the Amazon Fire TV and Fire TV Stick. Additionally, you will be able to view the service on Roku, Xbox One, iOS, Android, select LG Smart TVs, select Samsung Smart TVs, and desktop computers. Playstation will not be included at launch, likely due to Sony’s recently announced competing service, Vue TV. You can access Sling TV from as many different devices as you wish, but you can only watch on one device at a time. It can only be accessed from the United States.
Apple TV & Chromecast
Sling TV on iOS will be able to use AirPlay to watch content on an Apple TV, but there are no plans for a dedicated Apple TV app. Chromecast will not be supported at launch, but support will come later in the year.
Audio & Video
Video streams will be in either 720p or 1080p depending on the channel. There will be options to limit bandwidth if you’re worried about data usage. Most channels will support Dolby Digital 5.1 surround sound audio.
DVR & Video-On-Demand
You will be able to pause, rewind, and fast-forward some live channels. TNT, Cartoon Network, and TBS are confirmed to support this feature. Certain channels will include a 3-Day replay feature that gives customers the ability to watch some shows that have aired in the past three days. HGTV, DIY, and Food Network are confirmed to support this feature.
Subscribing to the base content will include access to WatchESPN. However, it’s unclear if all WatchESPN content will be included. It may be limited to ESPN and ESPN2 content.
Xbox Live members will receive a 30 day free trial of Sling TV on Xbox One due to a partnership between Microsoft and Dish.
No other platforms have announced a free trial. UPDATE: A 1 week free trial will be offered to everyone receiving an invitation. No word if the 1 week free trial will still be offered once the service becomes available to everyone.
Invitations to subscribe will be going out later this month. You can sign up for an invitation at Sling.com. UPDATE: Invitations will begin rolling out January 27th at 9 p.m. PT.
If we could just get to the point where I can pick and choose which channels I want and not have to pay for all of them, we’d be golden. I don’t care about most of those channels, but would be more than happy to support the couple that I do if that were an option.
You are correct Daniel… Just make the channels a la carte and then we can start talking about great ideas. If they just said, instead of 13 channels we choose for you for $20, if they offered $1.55 (20 / 13) a channel to choose your own I’d be all over this.
I don’t think we will ever see pay per channel unless the content providers (ex. ESPN) provides their own pay service. The price that some channels charge are the reason cable companies do bundles of channels that way they can make it affordable for all those channels even if you only want one. A cable company would probably charge you $10/mo just for ESPN if they were all separate and DIY would probably be just $.50.
They can charge what they want. Make them a-la-carte and let the stations set the price for their channel. Let the consumer decide what channels stay, and which ones go. Maybe then people will see what stations are driving up cost and can determine for themselves weather any one station is worth say 20 bucks a month for one channel.
I was thinking the exact same thing. It’s a huge step forward but I’m not interested until they come a la carte. $20 for thirteen channels is reasonable but if you take into account that I really only watch 3 of those channels it’s essentially the same thing as $20 for 3 channels for me.
But if we don’t support this venture and others like it, we may never see more progress toward a true pay per channel system.
Agreed, the wall seems to be coming down but this is NOT the endgame consumers have been clamoring for for decades but it looks like in 2015 we’re getting somewhere at least.
Glad some progress is being made. Especially landing the big egg by getting Disney…they’ve been holding back progress for years since ESPN is $5-$7 of every cable bill whether people watch it or not so they’ve refused to offer alternative distribution. At least now it can be accessed for $20, instead of going through cable providers, who provide a service that should have gone the way of travel agents since technology has provided a better alternative and their service stinks.
Only way this would be appealing is if it included a fox package, like fx, fxx, fxm, and fsn. And possibly history channel.
I resent having to pay for hundreds of channels I NEVER watch. The first company to offer ala carte programming will get my business, and millions of others who want the same thing.
I prefer to purchase cable show content via Amazon season passes for the specific shows I want to watch. I get exactly what I want and I only pay for what I actually watch. Network shows are free off the antenna. It is the sports channels that are a problem. My husband would pay for ESPN, but we don’t want the other filler that makes this package so not worth it if you only want ESPN. I am done with bundles. There is very little chance that any bundle will be designed specifically to meet my needs. Even the individual channels themselves air a ton of crap that I never watch. I am happy paying for the few good shows I do want to see. It would just be nice if sports programming could be handled in that way.
I think this is a great start. I hope one day there will be a service with ala carte options as mentioned above.
I won’t pay for anything that includes CNN.
Single stream for $20 kills it for me. Netflix is 2 streams for $8 or 4 streams for $12. $20 for only 13 channels is just as expensive as cable, but I’ll be paying more than basic cable for the bandwidth to get it to me.
Agree…I like streaming only options, but this one is just re-branding standard service bundles. Limiting to 1 stream makes it even worse.
Basic cable does not include is Espn or any of those channels listed and basic cable by Suddenlink is $35.00 a month
you only get local channels and a few channels you can not get over the air for $36.00 a month plus tax and you must have
cable or phone to get it that cheap.
We used to subscribe to C band satellite.. it had alacart.. and packages.. it was very affordable.. but it is discontinued (or very hard to find) .. we eventually dropped cable and went to Netflix, youtube, Specials on Hulu and Amazon.. and are happy with watching what we want.. Any program that makes alacart available.. will be a winner.