Dish Network’s much-hyped Sling TV streaming service is now officially available to the public, and the company has furthered sweetened the deal by adding popular network AMC to the core $20 channel lineup, just in time for the new season of the network’s biggest draw, The Walking Dead.
The latest agreement for the pioneering Web TV service includes the entire AMC portfolio – AMC, BBC AMERICA, BBC World News, IFC, SundanceTV and WE tv. Just how the additional channels that come with the AMC deal will be divvied up remains to be seen.
Sling TV offers access to live streaming television from a variety of channels, including ESPN, ESPN2, TNT, TBS, Food Network, HGTV, Cartoon Network, ABC Family, Disney Channel, and now AMC, for a flat fee of $20 per month.
For sports fans, an extra $5/month secures the new “Sports Extra” pack, which includes a variety of ESPN add-on channels, as well as options like SEC Network, and Universal Sports. There’s also a “Kids Extra,” bundle, and a “News & Info Extra” pack, both available for $5 each, as well. Or you can get the whole she-bang for $35/month – still considerably less than you’d pay for most basic cable/satellite TV packages.
Related: Try Sling TV free for7 days
Additionally, customers can use their Sling TV credentials to watch ESPN and ESPN2 on the WatchESPN app from Internet-connected devices. Coming soon, Sling TV customers will also have access to ESPN3 – ESPN’s live multi-screen sports network – via the WatchESPN app. Plus, subscribers can access content from online content network Maker Studios, which will soon also include Maker’s Polaris+ channel with long-form original programming.
But, aside from live sports galore, perhaps the most enticing news here is the addition of AMC to the core package, which may be enough to sway those who were on the fence about dropping their standard cable or satellite subscriptions. AMC adds a slew of shows to the offering that fans thrive on watching live, including, the aforementioned hit The Walking Dead, along with other popular programs like Mad Men, and the just-released Breaking Bad spin-off, Better Call Saul. The double shot of the new sports package, along with AMC makes the already enticing final piece in the cord-cutter puzzle very difficult to pass-up for the headaches of traditional TV subscription services.
Customers don’t need to sign a contract, go through a credit check, or any hardware installation process to use Sling TV. At present, the service can be accessed through Roku players, Roku TV, Android, iOS, Mac, and PC devices; with support for Amazon Fire TV and Fire TV Stick coming in the next few days, and availability via Google’s Nexus Player, webOS smart TVs from LG, select Samsung smart TVs, and Xbox One in the coming months. More smart TVs and streaming devices are slated to follow as the service picks up steam.
Sling TV sort of fills a gap between traditional linear TV and OTT streaming services. It’s a best of both worlds, if you like. Essentially, it affords access to a small selection of the most popular TV channels and programs for a nominal fee, accessed over the Internet versus through a cable or satellite provider. The addition of live channels makes it unlike any other OTT service – options like Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Video offer library content, including past seasons of shows, plus their own original programming. But there’s no access to live fare – arguably the biggest drawback to the services.
Can Sling TV convince customers to switch? Will linear TV providers begin tweaking their offerings to match? It’s a new world in TV land, and Sling TV is helping to re-write the rule book.
Roger Lynch, CEO of Sling TV, calls the service “game-changing.” “Now,” he says, “underserved audiences have access to the best of live TV at an affordable price.”
You can try out the service for free for seven days, after which the monthly rate kicks in. But note that while Sling TV has officially launched today, AMC won’t be ready immediately – more details will be available regarding package availability in the coming weeks, says Bob Broussard, President of Network Sales, AMC Networks. So TWD fans, if you’re thinking of switching, you might want to wait until further notice before missing out on some pretty intense zombie action next Sunday.