There’s no shortage of services that let users watch TV and movies over the web but the one hurdle that has kept many from cutting the cord is sports. Up to this point, there hasn’t been a reliable way to watch live sports over the Internet and for the millions of sports fans in the US, that’s reason enough to stick with a traditional cable provider.
Dish Network, however, is aiming to change that. At the Consumer Electronics Show, the company announced that its long-awaited over-the-top television service, Sling TV, will break the mold and finally give sports fans a compelling reason to cut the cord.
Priced at $20 per month, the core Sling TV programming package will include the following 12 Nielsen-rated networks: ESPN, ESPN2, TNT, TBS, Food Network, HGTV, Travel Channel, Adult Swim, Cartoon Network, Disney Channel, ABC Family and CNN.
For an additional $5 per month, consumers can sign up for add-on packages like “Kids Extra” and “News & Info Extra” that includes Disney Junior, Disney XD, Boomerang, Baby TV and Duck TV as well as HLN, Cooking Channel, DIY and Bloomberg TV, respectively. A “Sports Extra” package is also in the works, we’re told.
Depending on what channels the Sports Extra package includes, this could indeed be a viable option for die-hard sports fans – especially if you pair it with an antenna to pick up local HD channels for free.
Sling TV will be available without a contract, commitment, credit check or hardware installation. Instead, subscribers will access content through the Sling TV app that’s expected to be available on Amazon Fire TV, Amazon Fire TV Stick, Google’s Nexus Player, select LG Smart TVs, Roku players, Roku TV models, select Samsung Smart TVs and Xbox One.
Customers will be able to pause, rewind and fast-forward most live channels and Video-On-Demand content. For certain channels, the service includes a 3-Day Replay feature that gives customers the ability to watch some shows that have aired in the past three days; no DVR is needed.
Support for additional streaming devices and smart TVs will be added in the coming months.
If you don’t think this is a huge deal, consider this: the two college football playoff games that aired on ESPN this past weekend were the two most-watched broadcasts in cable TV history. Bring that to the web and you have a recipe for success.