Live From CES: Sling TV Service Delivers ESPN, TBS, and More for $20 a Month

There’s a new alternative to cable and satellite subscriptions. Sling TV, a subsidiary of Dish Network, will be available later this month for $20 a month and offer subscribers live access to a dozen channels, including ESPN, TNT, TBS, Food Network, Cartoon Network, CNN, and Adult Swim.

“The number of pay-TV subscribers is declining, and this dynamic is creating a growing gap that is a market opportunity,” says Sling TV CEO Roger Lynch. “And it is growing as millenials are disproportionally represented.”

He adds that millenials don’t look at pay TV as a utility like gas. Instead, they look to mobile phones and broadband as their must-haves.

“They reject the current pay-TV model so we built this with millenials in mind,” says Lynch. “They are more mobile and digitally dependent and also less likely to own a home or have disposable income. And, with the average monthly pay-TV bill $90 a month, they are not willing to pay that price.”

But, he adds, they love TV: live sports, reality, movies, and more. As a result, they have found creative ways to meet that need, including YouTube, password sharing, or watching their favorite sports at a local bar.

“So this offers them no contact, commitment, or waiting for the cable guy to show up,” Lynch explains. “They can try it on an impulse and cancel immediately.”

Sling TV works via a wired, Wi-Fi, or mobile-broadband connection and uses adaptive-bitrate technology to ensure the quality that best meets available bandwidth.

Features will include fast forward and rewind as well as, when rights allow, the ability to replay the past three days of content.

Devices that are expected to support the service include Amazon Fire TV, Amazon Fire TV Stick, Google Nexus Player, selected LG smart TVs, Roku players, Roku TV models, selected Samsung TVs, Xbox One, iOS, Android, Mac, and Windows computers.

Along with the basic package, consumers will have access to $5 add-on packs, including “Kids Extra,” “News & Info Extra,” and, soon, a “Sports Extra” package.


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