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Sling TV is coming to the Amazon Echo Show

Tucked away amid Amazon’s myriad announcements on Tuesday — between the cameras and the robots and the excellent-looking Echo 15 — was a small but not insignificant item:

Sling TV is coming to Amazon Echo Show.

That’s a big deal for a few reasons. First is that there are a lot of Amazon Echo Show devices out there. How many, we don’t know for sure. But it’s certainly a nonzero number, from the Echo Show 5 at $85, all the way up to the Echo Show 10 at $250. Smart displays aren’t getting any less popular with time, and Amazon makes some excellent ones.

Amazon Echo Show 15 Smart Display on a wall.

It’s a big deal in terms of competition in the livestreaming television space. Hulu With Live TV, which is the most popular livestreaming service with 3.7 million paid subscribers, has been available on Echo Show for some time as part of the native Hulu integration. But that’s been it. No YouTube TV, with its more than 3 million subscribers. And until now, no Sling TV.

And it goes without saying that the new integration will be a boon to Sling TV itself, which had sort of plodded along at the mid-2-million subscriber mark before reaching a high of 2.686 million subscribers in the fall of 2019 and then dropping to its current level of 2.439 million subscribers.

What none of that changes is that there’s still a bit of a barrier to entry when it comes to live TV streaming services on products like an Echo Show — and its competitors, for that matter. First you have to set up the device itself via the Amazon Alexa app. That’s pretty straightforward these days. But then you also have to have your account for Sling TV (or Hulu or whatever), and then connect the two. It’s not difficult or in any way insurmountable, but it’s definitely not as seamless as it is to watch YouTube TV on a Nest Home display.

In other words, both Amazon and Sling TV can definitely take advantage of each other here.

Sling TV sports two tracks of channels — Sling Orange and Sling Blue. Each costs $35 a month, or $50 if you get both together. From there, you’ll build out your streaming plan with “Extras,” which add additional channels onto your bundle. It’s not quite à la carte TV, but it’s as close as you can get to it.

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