“Home” entertainment is about to get interesting. Why? Because home may not necessarily be the only place you are watching your shows, movies, and sports – Not on your TV connected to a cable box, but rather on your iPad. Thanks to Sling TV.
Sling TV is a streaming service cooked up by the satellite TV company Dish Network to give everyone online access to some cable channels for a monthly fee of $20. The company will start offering subscriptions to a select group of volunteers who signed up through its website. Soon, Dish plans to let the general public know about It.
“The Only Requirement Needed Is a credit card and Internet connection,” Dish CEO Joe Clayton, speaking at the International Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas earlier this month. “It’s aimed squarely at the millennial audience — those 18- to 35-year-olds, who represent a market virtually untouched by the pay TV industry today.”
Clayton was incredibly excited when speaking about Sling TV, an online service that doesn’t require a membership or cable subscription. You can stream and watch it from your mobile devices, laptops and other streaming TV gadgets such as Roku.
The arrival of channels like ESPN and ESPN2 is essential in ensuring long-term success. Having access to live sports is one of the biggest advantage cable companies have had in convincing subscribers they should keep their service despite rising prices. Many Tecknos clients have long struggled with this dilemma as well…to cut the cable or not to cut the cable.
Dish gave Analysts early access to Sling TV last month and their reviews were quite impressive.
The service now features 12 channels, including ESPN, TNT, CNN and the Disney Channel. The app allows you to stream and watch the channels live, see what’s coming up and access a few movies on demand. The design is simple and provides access to channels you mostly had to buy a cable or satellite subscription to see before now.
Some channels like HGTV and The Food Network have a “start over” feature allowing you to watch a show from the beginning no matter when you arrive at it. An extra $5 a month buys a children’s TV plan or a news and information plan. And of course Dish says a bigger sports TV Plan and VOD (Video on Demand) features are also on the way.
Now the bad news – The service doesn’t have the bigtime broadcast Channels like CBS, NBC or ABC and the channel selection is limited by design — so the only news services are CNN, HLN and Bloomberg, for example. Popular news stations, Fox News or MSNBC, are not included. And there are still some early stage “bugs” like incorrect programming information.
Most channels also stream their commercials on Sling TV, ESPN and ESPN2 play funky instrumental music with a message promising the shows will be right back; presumably because their advertisers haven’t yet paid for access to Sling TV’s eyeballs.
Dish is careful to say this service targets millennial’s who have broadband Internet connections but don’t buy cable TV. That’s to avoid upsetting cable companies, which have always insisted they can’t offer smaller chunks of channels at a lower price.
But Sling TV’s channels — Disney, TNT, CNN — seem less youth-oriented and more likely to appeal to “cord cutting” TV fans of all ages, most Important for those looking to drop a huge cable bill and already watching lots of television online.
Effective, simple and relatively cheap, Sling TV offers a small taste of cable TV for those who don’t want to buy the whole Package. Contact us if you want to talk about how new, progressive offerings like Sling TV can change your home entertainment experience.