Dish’s new Internet TV service, Sling TV, added more firepower today with breaking news that the service will be launching live and on-demand versions of premium network HBO for an extra $15/month — just in time for Game of Thrones.
Today’s announcement is just the latest offering for the service that continues to look more and more like a viable alternative to traditional cable — but make no mistake — HBO is a big get. The coveted addition comes out of a new distribution deal Dish Network signed with HBO, as well as Turner network, both of which have been in the works for months, according to Deadline.
For potential users of Dish’s new Sling TV service, which tempts cord-cutters with a $20/month starting price for a wide selection of live channels, the new deal adds an easy way to land HBO’s acclaimed catalog of programming without the need for a traditional cable or satellite package.
In fact, it could be argued that Sling TV’s deal will be a threat to HBO’s own $15 standalone streaming app, HBO Now, which will launch around the same time in a semi-exclusive deal with Apple products. Sling TV is available on several products outside of Apple’s tight-knit product family, including Amazon’s Fire TV and Fire TV Streaming Stick, Roku’s robust family of streaming devices, Xbox One, as well as Android devices and PCs — all of those in addition to Apple’s iPhone, iPad, and Macs.
The service is not yet available for the Apple TV — and considering Apple is rumored to be working on its own Web TV offering, it likely never will be.
The addition of HBO is welcome news for patrons of Dish’s new service — especially considering the recent bout of disappointment as users reported certain programming is blocked on channels like A&E due to issues with distribution rights. As we’re finding out, the path from traditional services to streaming TV is not without its bumps and blunders.
But adopters of Sling TV can take heart in more choices than ever, as HBO adds to channels like ESPN, TBS, TNT, and many others that are seemingly unaffected by the programming conflicts. The service hosts 20 channels in all for $20 in its core “Best of Live TV” package.
With HBO on board, users can now get a high-powered selection of live and on-demand content over the web for a total of $35, with no strings attached — still very competitive compared to basic cable packages with a premium add-on network.
Dish hasn’t yet announced exact release dates, but the new seasons of HBO’s Game of Thrones and the new hit comedy Silicon Valley will be ready to fire up upon their premieres April 12.