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Dish Network launches Sling TV service: Watch live TV on the Internet for $20 per month

Michael Brown | Jan. 6, 2015
The executives at Dish Network must have sighed in relief when the Supreme Court shut down the Aereo Internet TV service. Dish has been working on a fully legal and licensed over-the-top service for years and will finally launch it as Sling TV later this quarter.

When I hear "millennials" in the context of TV, I think of channels like Comedy Central and The Daily Show," so I asked Lynch why that channel wasn't in Sling TV's lineup. "Viacom is over-distributed," said Lynch. "You can already get so much of their content on places like YouTube, but then they also have an exclusive deal with Sony. Our strategy is specifically not to put everyone in, in order to keep the cost low. If we licensed all the available content, we'd have to charge as much as we do for our satellite service."

How to get Sling TV

Sling TV subscribers will need broadband Internet access, obviously, and Sling TV will offer apps for Android and iOS devices, or you can access the upcoming Sling TV website from a Mac or PC. According to the company's press release, it also expects to offer an app for the most popular streaming boxes, including "Amazon Fire TV, Amazon Fire TV Stick, Google Nexus Player, select LG Smart TVs, Roku players, Roku TV models, select Samsung Smart TVs, and the Xbox One."

Am Amazon spokesperson provided the following statement:

"We are thrilled that Dish is bringing Sling TV to the Fire TV platform when they launch" said Peter Larsen, Vice President of Amazon Devices. "Sling TV is an innovative streaming service — and for the first time on Fire TV, customers can now watch their favorite live sporting events from channels like ESPN and ESPN2 while also enjoying popular TV shows from channels like TNT, TBS, HGTV and Food Network — all for a low cost of $20 per month."

Video streams will originate in either 720p or 1080p, depending on the source, but Sling TV will use adaptive bit-rate streaming technology that will optimize video quality "regardless of network quality fluctuations or location." Subscribers will be able to pause, rewind, and fast-forward live-TV channels as well as video-on-demand content that will be available. 

You won't be able to download or otherwise capture video streams for offline viewing, but the service will include a three-day-replay feature that enables you to watch "some shows that have aired in the past three days." That qualification is no doubt due to restrictions in the licensing deals Sling TV has signed with its content providers. I imagine a lot of lawyers earned a fair amount coin on those deals.


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