With the rise of online services like Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime, and host of others, consumers looking to “cut the cord” have plenty of options to select. However, ditching entrenched series like cable and satellite often means giving up such “luxuries” as network television broadcasts (ABC, NBC, CBS, etc.) and live sports channels like ESPN. Plugging rabbit ears into your HDTV can mostly solve the former, but the latter is a bit more troublesome.
Dish Network is hoping to come to the rescue with its new Sling TV service that was announced last month and was available via an invite-only system until late last night. Today, Sling TV is open to all cord cutters and it offers a respectable selection of channels for just $20 per month. While it was not mentioned when Sling TV was first announced, Dish Network revealed today that AMC will join the it service, which means you’ll be able to catch all the latest episodes of Mad Men, The Walking Dead, and Better Call Saul (oh yeah!).
The $20 per month “Core” package will get you AMC ESPN, ESPN2, TNT, TBS, Food Network, HGTV, Travel Channel, Adult Swim, Cartoon Network, ABC Family, Disney Channel, CNN, El Rey and Galavision. There will also be three add-on packages priced at an extra $5 each per month. The “News and Information Extra” package will bring you Bloomberg and HLN. “Kids Extra” will deliver Disney Junior and Disney XD for the kiddos in your household. The “Sports Extra” package bulks up the existing ESPN and ESPN2 in the “Core” package with SEC Network, ESPNEWS, ESPNU, Universal Sports, Univision Deportes, beIN Sports, ESPN Buzzer Beater, ESPN Bases Loaded, and ESPN Goal Line.
All of this sounds good at first, but there are a few caveats. For starters, DVR functionality and pause/rewind is only available in a handful of channels. But the biggest downside right now is the one-device limit for Sling TV. That’s right; only one device per account can have access to the TV service at any given time. So if you’re content with watching a college football game in your man cave, your wife won’t be able to check out HGTV on her iPad in the living room.
If you’re still not certain that you want to take the plunge with Sling TV, you can take the fully functional service on a free one-week test drive. After that, it should be noted that unlike cable and satellite services, there are no long-term commitments and contracts to sign. You can cancel your service online at anytime.