Sling TV was announced back in January at the International CES in Vegas, and for about a month, the cord-cutter's alternative was open to those only with an invitation, and contained a select list of channels. Now, Dish has announced that its pay-TV service will be open to the public to sign up, and will have a lot more than what it initially offered in its closed testing.
For only $20 per month, customers can access content such as TNT, TBS, Food Network, HGTV, Travel Channel, El Rey Network, Maker, Adult Swim, Cartoon Network, Disney, ABC Family, CNN and Galavision. More importantly, that same $20 will also include live sports on ESPN, ESPN2 and ESPN3, finally severing the tie between ABC's primetime sports content and having to have a cable subscription to view it online. Dish also announced this week that it will be adding AMC Networks to the lineup in the very near future, after completing a deal with the network shortly after announcing that Sling was open to the public. AMC's content will be available in the same $20 per month tier.
Roger Lynch, CEO of Sling TV, announced the agreement with AMC, saying that its something a lot of people have been wanting.
We flipped the switch this morning opening up Sling TV to all consumers, and we’re giving them something they’ve been asking for: AMC. Soon Sling TV will deliver hits like The Walking Dead and Mad Men with AMC included in our core package. We found a great partner in AMC Networks with a wide range of popular channels to help us quickly make that a reality.
For those looking for more sports, more kid-centric content or for more news and information-based shows, Sling has lined up a view a la carte items to select from. Three additional packages are available for $5 per month on top of your base of $20. HLN, DIY, Bloomberg and the Cooking Channel are lumped into the "News & Info Extra" package. Disney Junior, Disney XD, Boomerang, BabyTV and DucksTV are all available with the "Kids Extra" package. And finally, for those who can't cut the cord because of the lack of live sports available outside of a cable subscription, $5 more per month with Sling will get you the "Sports Extra" package, consisting of ESPN U, ESPN's SEC Network, ESPNEWS, ESPN Bases Loaded, ESPN Buzzer Beater, ESPN Goal Line, BeinHD Sport, Univision's IDN and NBC Universal Sports Network.
A couple of kickers should be noted here. First, some networks will not allow you to rewind and fast forward content, kind of like the on-demand channels on your cable box currently. This is due to contractual restrictions with the networks in question but only exists with shows that have aired in the past 3 days. Also, Sling TV is only available to be viewed from one device at a time, so you can't go all Netflix with this service and share it to four other people at once.
Now for the perks that will simply be listed in succession. Another plus to the sports fan is that the WatchESPN is also available with Sling's basic package. Sling TV customers do not need to sign up to any contracts or commitments for service. Lastly, there's a seven-day trial waiting for anyone who wants to sign up and give this new service a go. I know I'm going to.
Sling TV is available on all the usual platforms you'd expect, with Dish partnering with Roku and Amazon with device offerings. And while we don't see the app on the Windows Store (and there's no plans for it on the site yet), Sling TV is smart and has offered up a standalone download to install the software on any laptop or PC. An especially exciting plus is that under the supports devices for gaming consoles, the Xbox brand is listed as "Coming Soon!" Sony's PlayStation line of devices is not listed as supported on Sling's website.