Sling TV was released this past Tuesday, to those who have pre-registered on their website. Sling TV allows you stream cable TV channels that work with existing streaming devices. So essentially you pay a monthly fee of $20, and you get 12 cable channels (ESPN, ESPN2, TNT, TBS, Food Network, HGTV, Travel channel, Adult Swim, Cartoon Network, Disney Channel, ABC Family and CNN). This is the basic version of Sling TV but there are additional packages that are $5. Finally thanks to sling TV gives us the option to have cable TV without the cable company.
The great thing about Sling TV is that it works on iOS, android, Roku, OS X, Nexus player and Xbox. The interface of the app is also a highlight because its a huge step up from the cable interfaces from say Verizon and Comcast. It has a simple choose a channel, and watch what’s on but also a helpful “on now” option for finding content faster.
When it comes to the commercials, Sling TV will still have them but they will be more catered to who is viewing like hulu. They call it “Dynamic Ad Insertion”, which allows for targeted advertising which creates a better experience for the viewer as well as advertisers and programmers.
Sling TV is great, but it has its drawbacks too. It is not available on Chrome Cast and Apple TV. These are two major streaming devices and ignoring these devices excludes a large part of their market. However Sling is has said they’re open to new partnerships and devices but at the moment theres no mention of Chrome Cast or Apple TV.
There are a couple features that might be hard to convince heavy cable users to give up such as DRV and premium channels. Right now only some channels have a feature that allows old content to be seen like DVR. When it comes to premium channels Sling doesn’t offer packages for HBO or showtime. On the upside there will be a standalone HBO subscription based app due out in April. On the down side thats another monthly subscription.
Trying to decide if Sling TV is right for you? In the next couple years we will see cable slowly start to fade away and be absorbed into these streaming services. Right now if you are a cable user its probably bundled in some contract anyway so its not worth the switch. But when that contract expires Sling will be up and running and definitely worth a thought. If you don’t have cable and are looking for a simple TV watching experience without contracts and cheaper this is something you should hop on.