Sling TV launches today, adds optional sports pack with more ESPN, AMC coming soon
The Internet TV service goes live nationwide in the US today. A new $5 sports pack with extra ESPN channels and others is available now, and the company will soon add AMC to the base $20 package.
by David Katzmaier
February 9, 2015 5:44 AM PST
Sling TV is now available to anyone in the US, and to mark the launch the company has bolstered its offerings.
The first-of-its-kind live TV package is now accepting all comers who sign up at Sling.com. It starts at $20 per month, and there's a free, week-long trial if you want to audition the service.
Sling has also sweetened the deal with a couple of key additions. The most important for sports fans is immediate access, for an extra $5 per month, to a "sports extra" add-on pack. It offers SEC Network, ESPNEWS, ESPNU, Universal Sports, Univision Deportes, beIN Sports, and college sports live cut-in and highlights networks ESPN Buzzer Beater, ESPN Bases Loaded and ESPN Goal Line.
As expected, the package does not include regional sports networks or any Fox sports network.
Sling TV subscribers can also watch live streams via the WatchESPN app. I tested access via the service today and it works fine with WatchESPN's live streams of ESPN, ESPN2 and ESPN3. It didn't work, however, with any of the sports extra channels like ESPNEWS or ESPNU.
I also confirmed that, as Sling indicated previously, simultaneous live TV streams using the same account via a WatchESPN app and a Sling TV app are blocked. In other words, you can't use WatchESPN as a "workaround" for Sling TV's one-stream-at-a-time limitation.
AMC is coming soon to Sling TV's base $20 package.
And in important news for zombie fans, AMC will be added to the $20 per month core pack, bringing the total up to twelve channels (Sling counts Adult Swim and Cartoon Network as separate channels, but I don't). Sling's announcement also mentioned rights to programs from BBC America, BBC World News, IFC, SundanceTV and WE tv, all of which are part of AMC's portfolio.
AMC isn't available yet. "Sling TV will announce the launch date as well as additional information regarding package availability of the AMC Networks channels in the coming weeks," according to Sling's press release. There's no word on whether shows like "The Walking Dead," which had its season premiere yesterday, will be available via video-on-demand.
The final new Sling TV content announcement has to do with Maker Studios Polaris+ channel, which is also said to be coming soon. It's likely related to Maker's existing games-centric Polaris channel with some additional "exclusive content" teased previously by Sling.
At launch, Sling TV is available on most Roku devices including Roku TV, as well as Android, iOS, Mac and PC. Sling promises "support for Amazon Fire TV and Fire TV Stick in the coming days" and has also mentioned support for Chromecast, Android TV devices, and Xbox One.
I'll be testing the new services and updating our comprehensive Sling TV review soon with additional hands-on details. If there's anything in particular you'd like me to check out, leave a comment.