Sling TV, Dish Network's web TV service, is offering more channels and is now available on more devices. This week, it announced a deal with Epix that will soon allow Sling to offer an optional bundle of four more channels and over 2,000 video-on-demand titles. According to a Sling TV press release, the new video-on-demand offerings will include both classic titles and newer movies like Hunger Games: Catching Fire, Star Trek: Into Darkness, and Wolf of Wall Street.
New Streaming Channels and Wide Compatibility
A price hasn't been announced yet, but Epix won't be included in the basic $20/month 11-channel package, which includes channels like ESPN, Food Network, Cartoon Network, Disney Channel, CNN, and ABC Family, as well as the ability to rent movies for a fee, similar to Google Play or iTunes. Their three current add-on packages each cost an extra $5/month, and offer between four and nine channels.
At launch, Sling TV's services could be accessed on TVs via Roku Player, on Android or iOS phones and tablets, and Windows and Mac computers. They've added Amazon Fire TV streaming and claim the service is "coming soon" to Nexus Player and Xbox One. Sorry, Sony fans: there don't seem to be any near-term plans to bring it to PlayStation 3 or 4.
So, is the service worth it? Like so many things, it depends. The $20/month price tag is lower than almost any cable package, so some users could save by dropping their current TV plan and switching to Sling. In particular, it's a very cheap way for sports fans to access ESPN. Plus, initial reviews have been positive about the service's interface and ease-of-use.
Cost, Channel Selection, Internet Speeds Deter Some
But other users may find the service is missing their favorite channels. If you can't replace your TV package, there's no real cost savings here, so the mobile viewing options or ability to pause and rewind select channels would have to be quite appealing. (Pause and rewind options are missing from many of Sling's most popular channels, such as ESPN.)
Other reasons to hang back? You may not have an internet connection robust enough to support high-quality television streaming. You can probably let your experiences streaming video from other internet providers be your guide here. If you can stream a movie from Netflix or Amazon during peak hours without issues, you'll likely be okay. True picture quality elitists should probably take a pass entirely for now, as most reviews suggest that while the quality is good-to-excellent depending on your bandwidth, cable still retains a slight edge.
Restrictions on the service itself may frustrate others; although you can register many devices, you can only stream to one at a time. (So you can't turn on Food Network in the kitchen while the kids watch Disney in the den.)
Not sure if it's a good deal for you? Sling TV is currently offering a 7-day free trial. But if you're pretty sure it sounds like your kind of thing, signing up for three months can bag you $50 off an Amazon Fire TV Streaming Media Player or 50% off a Roku 3 Media Player.
Have you already tried Sling TV? If so, do you like it? If you haven't tried it, what do you feel the service is lacking? Let us know in the comments!