Sling TV

Sling Television, commonly known as Sling TV, is an American over-the-top internet television service owned by Dish Network. Unveiled on January 5, 2015, at the Consumer Electronics Show, the virtual multichannel video programming distributor aims to complement subscription video on demand services for cord cutters, offering a selection of major cable channels and OTT-originated services that can be streamed through smart TVs, digital media players and apps.[1][2] The service is available in the United States and Puerto Rico as of 2015.

Sling TV is led by Erik Carlson who also serves as the President and COO of Dish Network. The service's precursor, the ethnic television service DishWorld, was also brought under the auspices of Sling TV LLC and was rebranded as Sling International.[3] Following an invitation-only beta launch of the service that began in January of that year, Sling TV formally launched on February 9, 2015. As of February 2018, the service has 2.2 million subscribers.[4]

Sling TV LLC
Subsidiary
IndustryPay television
FoundedJanuary 5, 2015
Headquarters,
United States
Key people
Warren Schlichting (President)
ServicesOTT Internet television
ParentDish Network
Websitewww.sling.com

History

Dish Network began to trial run an over-the-top ("OTT") internet television provider in 2012 with the launch of DishWorld, a service which provided access to over 50 ethnic and international television networks; DishWorld was initially made available through an app for Roku digital media players.[5] In carriage deals that the company struck with major cable channel owners such as A&E Networks, The Walt Disney Company and Scripps Networks Interactive during 2014, Dish Network obtained the over-the-top distribution rights to their networks as part of clauses incorporated into the agreements pertaining to its existing direct broadcast satellite service – a move that served as a stepping stone for Dish towards launching a mainstream OTT offering.[6][7][8] In November 2014, Dish Network chairman Charlie Ergen explained that the company planned to launch its OTT service by the end of that year, and was aiming for the package to retail for around $30 per month. He explained: "the regular linear MVPD business is a mature business. You can't just go back every day and say 'I'm going to raise my rates to make my budget.' You have to figure out other revenue streams and get other people to pay for your product and watch more minutes of your product."[9]

The OTT service was officially unveiled as Sling TV on January 5, 2015, in a presentation at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas;[10] the service is co-branded with the Sling entity owned by Dish Network's former parent Echostar, which also co-branded and provided placeshifting technology for the provider's Hopper with Sling multi-room DVR system. Dish did not provide any specific details on when the service would be launched, beyond "soon."[11][12] The company also announced that the DishWorld service would be absorbed into the Sling TV subsidiary and rebranded as Sling International, and that it also planned to launch a Sling Latino OTT service, which would incorporate various Spanish language networks.[13] Sling TV CEO Roger Lynch explained that the service was designed to target the viewing habits of the 18–35 demographic, which he believed was being ignored by the traditional pay television industry (and is also represented by its slogan, "Take Back TV").[14] Lynch argued the service's approach required Dish to be selective in how it built the service's lineup, stating that "it would have been easy for us to do deals earlier on if we just agreed to say 'let’s just take these big pay TV packages and put them online.' We would have ended up with $60 or $70 bundles. We don't think that is the way to reach that demographic. We spent a lot of time working with programmers to make sure we had smaller bundles, lower costs and more flexibility." He also noted the importance of reaching a deal to include ESPN onto the service, which he felt was a sign of validity for the provider.[14][15]

After a one-month, invitation-only beta, Sling TV officially launched on February 9, 2015. That same day, Sling announced that it had reached a carriage deal with AMC Networks, allowing networks such as AMC, IFC, BBC America and SundanceTV to be included as part of the service.[16] One week later on February 16, as part of a renewed agreement between Dish and the Paramount Pictures/Lionsgate/Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer joint venture Studio 3 Partners to continue its carriage on the company's satellite service, Sling announced that it would carry Epix as part of its "Hollywood Extra" tier – in a package that includes its main channel and all three multiplex services – becoming the first premium channel to be made available on the provider.[17]

Sling expanded its premium channel offerings on April 1, 2015, when Dish announced that it would add HBO to Sling TV as an add-on pack. Similar to the Epix deal, the addition of HBO was part of a wide-ranging deal between Dish Network and Time Warner that included the renewal of its carriage agreement for the Turner Broadcasting System's cable channels.[18][19][20] Sling added HBO as an add-on pack – which consists of the east and west coast feeds of the primary linear channel (although excluding its six multiplex services), and allows on-demand access to HBO's programming content – on April 9, 2015. The Sling Latino service was introduced on June 4, 2015, featuring two add-on Spanish-language programming tiers, "Paquete Total" and "Paquete Esencial." Customers can purchase two additional add-on packs, "Colombia" and "España." This service does not require the purchase of the "Best of Live TV" package.[21] On November 19, 2015, Blockbuster LLC migrated the Blockbuster On Demand VOD service exclusively to Sling TV; as a result, Blockbuster and Dish Network began redirecting all Dish customers who subscribed to the service to switch to Sling in order to continue accessing its film content.[22]

On April 13, 2016, Sling TV introduced a "multi-stream" package, which allows the ability for up to three users to stream different channels through a single subscription account. The package includes several networks owned by 21st Century Fox, including FX, Fox Sports 1, National Geographic Channel and the regional Fox Sports Networks, but excludes networks owned by The Walt Disney Company (including ESPN, ESPN2, Disney Channel and Freeform) to hold the price of the tier at a moderated rate.[23] Two months later on June 13, Sling added several channels to the multi-stream package: it added FS2, FXX and Nat Geo Wild among the Fox-owned offerings on the tier, and began carrying several channels owned by Viacom Media Networks (including MTV, VH1, BET, Spike, and Comedy Central). The Viacom deal – a caveat of a carriage dispute that Viacom and Dish Network resolved with a renewed agreement to keep Viacom's channels on the satellite provider – notably excluded Nickelodeon/Nick at Nite (although its three sister channels, Nick Jr., Nicktoons and TeenNick, were included, with Nick Jr. being placed on the single-stream service's "Kids Extra" add-on lineup and in the core package, alongside Comedy Central and BET, on the beta multi-stream offering), while several of Viacom's other flagship networks (including MTV, VH1, CMT, BET, Spike and TV Land) were primarily relegated to the service's "Comedy Plus Extra" and "Lifestyle Plus Extra" add-on packs. In addition, the service added support to allow access to its content on Apple TV devices.[24][25][26][27][28][29]

Sling restructured its programming tiers on June 30, 2016, redesignating the "Best of Live TV" single-stream tier as "Sling Orange" and the multi-stream package as "Sling Blue". Additionally, the service added most of the NBCUniversal family of networks (including USA Network, Bravo, Syfy, Golf Channel, CNBC, MSNBC, E!, Oxygen, NBC Universo, NBCSN and most of the regional Comcast SportsNet channels), as well as BBC America, BBC World News and Vibrant TV; the NBCUniversal channels joined sister service Local Now (an OTT-exclusive service of NBC-part-owned The Weather Channel), which initially launched as a Sling-exclusive offering on January 25. In addition, subscribers could also stream NBC stations in all markets where the network has an owned-and-operated station.[30] With this, Sling began offering existing and prospective subscribers an upper-end tier comprising the channels featured on both Sling Orange and Blue, as well as those that are restricted to the respective tiers. Those subscribing to the "extra" add-on packs are required to subscribe to the Sling Orange tier in order to access the Disney–ABC Television Group channels and Sling Blue to stream the NBCUniversal channels included in the service's subtiers. Comcast SportsNet California, Comcast SportsNet Bay Area, Comcast SportsNet Chicago and Comcast SportsNet Mid-Atlantic were not among the CSN networks initially available in markets served by those channels, and would not be added to Sling until April 2, 2017.[31]

On September 8, 2016, coinciding with the channel's September 10 premiere of Star Wars: The Force Awakens, Sling TV began carrying Starz as a premium add-on; its rollout was commemorated with a seven-day free preview of the Starz package to existing subscribers. The service also added the six regional Pac-12 Networks to its "Sports Extra" tiers, and added support for Windows 10 users through the launch of an app for the operating system.[32] During October 2016, the service also added six additional channels to its lineup: Game Show Network (on the "Comedy Extra" tier), AXS TV (on the main "Sling Blue" lineup), HDNet Movies (on the "Hollywood Extra" tier), NHL Network (on the "Sports Extra" tier), Hallmark Channel and Hallmark Movies & Mysteries (both on the "Lifestyles Plus Extra" tier). On November 2, the OTT business news service Cheddar was added to Sling's base tiers, while Sling Kids and TheBlaze respectively joined the Kids Extra and World News Extra tiers; two weeks later on November 16, NBA TV was added to the "Sports Extra" tier.[33][34]

In April 2017, Sling began offering Showtime as an add-on pack. The east and west coast feeds of the primary Showtime linear channel and its seven multiplex services are included in the package, which also grants access to Showtime's on-demand service; sister channels The Movie Channel and Flix have been excluded from the package ever since Showtime's addition to Sling. With the addition, Sling became the first over-the-top MVPD streaming service to offer all five major premium networks: HBO, Cinemax, Showtime, Starz and Epix.[35][36][37][38][39][40][41] This was followed on April 5, with the introduction of the "Heartland Extra" add-on tier (including six newly added channels, Family Net, Outdoor Channel, Sportsman Channel, PixL, World Fishing Network and RFD-TV), and expanded its "Best of Spanish TV" tier with the additions of Estrella TV, V-me Kids and El Financiero-Bloomberg TV.[42][43][44] Maker and Polaris TV were removed from the service in May 2017.[45] On June 14, 2017, Sling TV moved the El Rey Network from the Orange package to the Comedy Extra add-on. However, the channel remained in the Blue package.[46] Subsequently, on July 12, concurrent with the addition of Showtime Family Zone, Sling added WeatherNation TV to the "News Extra" add-on pack.[41] On March 29, 2018 Sling TV has add MLB Network & MLB Strike Zone to its sports extra package.

Features and availability

Sling TV is not designed to be a full substitute for a "traditional" pay television provider, but as a complement to subscription-based online services (such as Amazon Video, Crunchyroll, Hulu, Netflix and YouTube).[47] However, on February 22, 2017, Dish Network CEO Charlie Ergen admitted that although it was positioned as a complementary service, he considered Sling TV now to be "a direct replacement for cable and satellite."[48]

The service originally had several limitations for contractual, economic, and technological reasons: only one stream could be used per account, there was no DVR functionality beyond the ability to pause and rewind programs, and the service did not offer local broadcast television stations or regional sports networks.[49] Sling CEO Roger Lynch explained that including local broadcast stations and regional sports networks would drive up the price of the service from the high fees demanded by networks and station owners; he also cited that most cord cutters already have either an antenna or a subscription to a streaming service, such as Hulu, with which to view programming from the major broadcast networks.[13][50] Despite these initial reservations, Sling has since begun offering owned-and-operated stations and affiliates of the four major broadcast networks (ABC, NBC, CBS and Fox) in select markets. As of October 2016, Sling TV does not carry Telemundo (either its national feed or local stations, nor its sister network NBC Universo, which has since been removed from the Sling Blue tier), affiliates of The CW and MyNetworkTV, member stations of PBS and its affiliated networks, and most independent stations. Sling subscribers with Channel Master DVR+ devices, which support antenna-based tuning capability, can access local broadcast stations independently of the Sling TV app.[51]

On December 15, 2016, Sling TV began invitation-only beta testing of a cloud DVR that would allow subscribers to record programs from select channels carried on its programming tiers; initially available as part of a phased rollout to select Sling TV subs who access the service on Roku players and enabled television sets, the DVR allows up to 100 hours of recording storage, the ability to record multiple programs simultaneously, and automatically manages storage space to by deleting the oldest "watched" recording when the storage capacity becomes full to make room for additional recordings. Due to contractual limitations, users are unable to record content from certain channels, particularly those owned by Disney–ABC Television Group. The cloud DVR expanded to Amazon Fire TV subscribers through a "First Look" early access program, which allows users to purchase up to 50 hours of content storage.[52][53][54][55][56][57]

Supported devices

Sling TV content can be streamed via a number of platforms: at launch, these included Android and Apple iOS devices; Apple TV; Android TV; OS X and Windows computers; LG and Samsung smart TVs; and Nexus Player, Roku, Amazon Fire TV and Xbox One devices.[58] On January 5, 2016, Channel Master added a Sling TV app to its DVR+ products via a firmware update, allowing users to access Sling content through the device's channel guide; because of clauses in digital distribution rights that Dish Network maintains with content providers, Channel Master users cannot record channels through the Sling TV app.[51][59]

Supported Sling TV devices include:

TV-connected

Mobile

Computer

Reception

Sling TV was named the CES 2015 "Best Home Theater Product", "Best Software/App", and "Best in Show" by Engadget, for its clear goal and pricing, its "intuitive, user-friendly and surprisingly well-done" interface, and the fact that the service "may very well be the beginning of the end for traditional pay TV" in the United States.[60]

Some broadcasters have been hesitant about over-the-top services such as Sling TV, showing concern that they may undermine their carriage deals with larger conventional cable, satellite and Internet TV providers. Time Warner initially noted that the carriage of its channels on the service was only for a "trial" basis, while both Time Warner's CEO Jeffrey Bewkes and an analyst from investment firm Macquarie Capital claimed that current contract language in Dish's OTT carriage deals with the service's content distributors would cap the number of subscribers that the service is allowed to have at any given time to 5 million. Neither Dish Network or its content providers have confirmed any such cap.[14][15][61]

On April 4, 2015, some Sling TV users were affected by brief outages preventing them from streaming portions of TBS' coverage of an NCAA Final Four game between the Duke Blue Devils and Michigan State Spartans, prompting criticism of the service's technical issues over social media. On April 6, 2015, Sling TV said that the errors, which affected between 1,000 and 2,000 users, were the result of network server failures caused by high volumes of subscriber traffic (including by new users that signed up in time for the Final Four), explaining that "while the viewing experience was spot on for the vast majority our customers, we were able to rebalance traffic loads for those who were affected [through traffic redirection to a different network provider] and improve the experience for the remainder of the evening." Roger Lynch later stated that the service would limit future outages by upgrading its software to automatically switch from the main to a backup provider during spikes in streaming demand.[62][63][64]

In July 2015, Sling TV accused NBC Owned Television Stations, a division of Comcast's NBCUniversal unit, of refusing to air advertising for the service on NBC owned-and-operated stations in major markets as a form of protectionism. CEO Roger Lynch stated that "Comcast has a demonstrated history of shutting down ideas it doesn't like or understand, predictably to its benefit and at the expense of consumers."[65]

See also

References

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External links

Cheddar (TV channel)

Cheddar Inc. is a live streaming financial news network founded by Jon Steinberg in the United States. Cheddar broadcasts live daily from the floor of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE), NASDAQ, the Flatiron Building in New York City, and the White House lawn and briefing room in Washington, D.C. covering new products, technologies, and services.

Cheddar targets millennials by streaming one to two hours of live content from the NYSE trading floor daily, streaming live audio on iHeartRadio, and distributing the videos on video platforms such as Amazon Prime, the Cheddar app, Facebook live, Sling TV, Pluto TV, and YouTube.According to Steinberg, Cheddar received 148 million views in August 2017 across all of its platforms. On Facebook, 60 percent of Cheddar's viewers are under the age of 35. Accordingly, the daily live shows have been described as "quasi-CNBC for millennials".Reportage focuses on stocks and technology. The channel is ad-free; expected revenue comes from carriage agreements with streaming services. Advertising comprises either program underwriting or semi-weekly brand integration. Brand integration advertising costs $100,000 per year.Cheddar has two feeds, a paid-for and a free version. The pay feed broadcasts eight hours of programming a day, six of them live, and is available via Amazon Prime, PlayStation Vue, Sling TV, YouTubeTV, and the Cheddar app. The free feed broadcasts three hours of new content daily and archived content is available through Facebook and over the air via its affiliated stations. On April 2017, the channel had 100,000 viewers.On April 30, 2019, it was announced that Cheddar agreed to be bought by the cable company Altice USA for $200 million in cash.

Comet (TV network)

Comet is an American digital broadcast television network that is owned by the Sinclair Television Group subsidiary of the Sinclair Broadcast Group and operated by the MGM Television division of Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer. The network focuses on science fiction with some supernatural, horror, adventure and fantasy series and films, sourced mainly from the Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer film and television library. Sinclair also owns Charge! (action), Stadium (sports joint venture) and TBD (internet sourced) broadcast networks. Comet is also available via streaming services, Apple TV, Sony's PlayStation Vue, Roku, Sling TV and Sinclair's Stirr.

CuriosityStream

CuriosityStream is a global nonfiction subscription video-on-demand streaming service. It exclusively delivers nonfiction documentaries and series about science, technology, history and nature. Launched on March 18, 2015, CuriosityStream is headquartered in Silver Spring, Maryland. CuriosityStream offers its users over 1,800 original and licensed titles and about 600 hours of nonfiction media worldwide.

On December 8, 2015, Amazon Prime began offering CuriosityStream as part of its add-on subscription service. Amazon-CuriosityStream is a separate subscription from CuriosityStream's main SVOD plan in that it will only permit access via Amazon Prime's platforms and is only available to Amazon Prime members. On November 1, 2017, it was announced that CuriosityStream would partner with VRV, an aggregate provider of streaming content, to allow access to CuriosityStream's content through their service. On November 8, 2017, Comcast began offering the service, in CuriosityStream's first MVPD distribution deal. On December 7, 2017, Sling TV began offering the service as an add-on option to their customers. On June 26, 2018, CuriosityStream formalized its first international distribution deal with Starhub, expanding its reach dramatically. On July 11, 2018, CuriosityStream began being offered as an add-on channel on YouTube TV.

Epix

Epix (pronounced epics and stylized as ePix) is an American premium cable and satellite television network that is owned by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer. The channel's programming consists of recent and older theatrically released motion pictures, original series, documentaries, and music and comedy specials.

Launched in October 2009, Epix is the youngest of the major premium television channels in the United States, and is currently led by President Michael Wright. Since he joined the network in November 2017, Epix has announced many new series including Godfather of Harlem starring Forest Whitaker, Pennyworth, the origin story of Batman's butler Alfred, Our Lady, LTD starring Ben Kingsley and Jimmi Simpson, Deep State, unscripted series Unprotected Sets executive produced by Wanda Sykes and the return of The Contender.Epix and, depending on the carriage of any of the latter services, its three multiplex channels are sold by most traditional multichannel video programming distributors either as premium services or as part of a la carte digital movie tiers as well as by over-the-top MVPDs Sling TV (which includes the full Epix multiplex with Epix Drive-In available to all base subscribers and the remaining Epix channels offered as a premium add-on) and PlayStation Vue (which offers the multiplex service Epix Hits and its video-on-demand service as a premium add-on).

Fandor (film site)

Fandor is an American subscription film viewing service and social video sharing platform.

Headquartered in San Francisco, California, the company was established in 2010 and officially launched on March 9, 2011 at the South by Southwest festival and conference in Austin, Texas.Fandor "specializes in independent films, classics, silent films, foreign films, documentaries and shorts". Most of Fandor's more than 6,000 films are outside mainstream channels and hail from a variety of cultures, time periods, and genres. The service streams content to home theaters, through devices like Roku, computers, mobile devices, and tablets, like Apple Inc.'s iPad. It is also available through Sling TV as an add-on.

In September 2013, at the Toronto International Film Festival, Fandor announced that the site was launching to audiences in Canada. In 2018, the company laid off its entire staff and sold its assets to an undisclosed investment company.

List of South Asian television channels by country

This is a list of South Asian television channels available on cable, satellite and IPTV platforms in Canada, Malaysia, the Middle East, Singapore, Trinidad and Tobago, the United Kingdom and the United States. Channels broadcasting from different regions of India, Pakistan and Bangladesh are available in Bengali, English, Gujarati, Hindi, Bhojpuri, Kannada, Malayalam, Marathi, Odia, Punjabi, Tamil, Telugu and Urdu.

Newsy

Newsy is a U.S. news network founded in 2008 and acquired by The E. W. Scripps Company in January 2014 for $35 million. Its content can be found on platforms including Comcast Xfinity, Charter Spectrum, Cox, Sling TV , AT&T U-verse, and YouTube TV in addition to set-top streaming devices and services such as Roku, Apple TV, Amazon Fire TV and Hulu.

Over-the-top media services

Over the top (OTT) is a term used to refer to content providers that distribute streaming media as a standalone product directly to viewers over the Internet, bypassing telecommunications, multichannel television, and broadcast television platforms that traditionally act as a controller or distributor of such content.The term is most synonymous with subscription-based video on demand services that offer access to film and television content (including existing series acquired from other producers, as well as original content produced specifically for the service), including Amazon Video, fuboTV, Hulu, Netflix, Now TV, Sling TV, MercTV, and Sky Go as well as a wave of "skinny" television services that offer access to live streams of linear specialty channels similar to a traditional satellite or wireline television provider, but streamed over the public Internet, rather than a closed, private network with proprietary equipment such as set-top boxes.

Over the top services are typically accessed via websites on personal computers, as well as via apps on mobile devices (such as smartphones and tablets), digital media players (including video game consoles), or televisions with integrated smart TV platforms.

Sundance TV

Sundance TV (formerly known as Sundance Channel) is an American pay television channel that is owned by AMC Networks. Originally, the channel was devoted to airing documentaries, independent feature films, short films, world cinema, and original programs, such as news about the latest developments from each year's Sundance Film Festival. In recent years, the channel has incorporated original and acquired scripted and reality series into its schedule. It became fully ad-supported in 2013, with content being edited for content soon thereafter.As of July 2015, the channel is available to approximately 60.668 million households with television (52.1% of all subscribers) in the United States. In March 2015, Dish Network's Sling TV announced it would soon begin making AMC channels available to cord cutters, including AMC, BBC America, IFC, Sundance TV, and WE tv.

The Film Detective

The Film Detective is a internet television service and vintage film archive based in Rockport, Massachusetts. Programming for the service consists of classic feature films as well as some classic television programs. Many of the titles shown are public domain and have been restored by The Film Detective.

We TV

We TV is an American pay television channel that is owned by AMC Networks. The network is oriented mainly towards lifestyle and entertainment programming, primarily targeting women. "WE" was formerly used as an abbreviation of "Women's Entertainment", although this was downplayed in a 2014 rebranding in order to focus more upon "shared experiences".

As of February 2015, approximately 85.2 million American households (73.2% of households with television) received We TV. In March 2015, Dish TV's Sling TV announced it would soon begin making AMC Networks channels available to cord cutters, including AMC, BBC America, IFC, Sundance TV, and We TV.

Pay television providers in the United States
Cable
MVPD
Satellite
MVPD
Fiber
MVPD

/ IPTV
Virtual
MVPD
Over-
the-top
video
Defunct
Free
Paid
Discontinued

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