Dish Network's new streaming service Sling TV will be available on a wide range of devices when it launches in a few weeks. However, the only console offering the service is Xbox One.
”Xbox is onboard as the first gaming console where Sling TV will be available,” said Bassil El-Khatib, vice president of Sling TV, on Xbox Wire. “We created the live Internet TV service for millennial consumers underserved by the pay-TV industry. One of the keys to reaching this audience is being on the devices they use, and we know millions of consumers are turning on their Xbox every day to access content they love.”
Dish also has a special offer for Xbox One owners. Any Xbox Live member who signs up for Sling TV will get a free month of the service. After that, they'll have to pay the usual $20 per month fee.
Sling TV gives subscribers access to television channels like ESPN, TNT, TBS, Food Network, HGTV, Cartoon Network, and CNN. They'll also have access to on-demand options along with content from online video network Maker Studios. Unlike traditional cable plans, Sling TV doesn't require a contract or extra hardware installation.
"Customers will be able to pause, rewind and fast-forward most live channels and Video-On-Demand content," Dish explains. "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. Sling TV’s features are available across all supported platforms."
However, the monthly subscription doesn't cover everything. Dish also plans to sell $5 add-on packs that provide more channels for the service. For example, there's a "Kids Extra" add-on that includes Disney Junior, Disney XD, Boomerang, Baby TV and Duck TV. The "News & Info Extra" for us adults adds HLN, Cooking Channel, DIY and Bloomberg TV.
If you don't have an Xbox One, you'll have plenty of other options for using Sling TV. Dish says that supported device include Amazon Fire TV, Amazon Fire TV Stick, Google’s Nexus Player, select LG Smart TVs, Roku players, Roku TV models, select Samsung Smart TVs, iOS, Android, Mac and PC. Their announcement adds that Sling TV support for "additional streaming devices and smart TVs" will be announced in the months ahead. That leaves the door open for a release on Xbox 360 or PlayStation consoles.
The particular package of channels on offer aren't my cup of tea. However, I could see this service being potentially appealing to people who want only a narrow range of cable channels. The traditional business model for cable - "pay us a lot of money for a bundle of 200 channels, ten of which you actually watch" - feels awfully outdated in this age of on-demand entertainment so any step away from that is okay to me.
You might be wondering why Xbox One is the exclusive console for the service rather than PS4. It wouldn't surprise me if the reason is simply that Sony didn't want it. They're currently preparing their own streaming TV service, PlayStation Vue so it's unlikely that they'd want a competitor. Sony's desire to emphasize their own subscription services is likely why they rejected EA Access as well.