Dish Network is making major waves in the TV-Internet industry today after unveiling a potential game-changer, especially for “cord cutters” tired of overpriced cable TV bundles.
Dish’s Sling TV costs $20 a month and includes ESPN, Disney Channel, Food Network and nine other channels.
Sling TV was announced at the Consumer Electronics Show Monday in Las Vegas, and could be available to subscribers later this month. It’s not designed to be a direct competitor to satellite TV service or another on-demand streaming service like Netflix.
Simply, Sling TV offers 12 live channels streamed to mobile devices for the same price Comcast charges to add HBO to existing plans. With average pay-TV bills at $64 a month, Sling TV’s lower cost is significant.
But there are big catches that leaves Sling TV short of being an ideal choice for TV watchers.
For one, you need a reliable Internet connection. That’s not included in the price.
And only one person can use Sling to watch TV at a time. For example, if you want to watch ESPN and your spouse has hankering for the Food Channel, you have a problem.
You’ll also need a streaming device such as Roku to get Sling TV, but Apple TV won’t be compatible, at least in the beginning.
The price of $20 a month is the biggest selling point for Dish Network’s Sling TV, but Comcast’s offers a TV-plus-Internet package at $60 per month that includes 140 channels. For just Internet, it’s $40 per month.
So the price comes out to be roughly the same for Sling TV, adding the cost of Internet service. And if you want to add Netflix, HBO Go, and other services, the costs will surge. And you’re back to square one.
However, the blending of Internet streaming programming with traditional cable/satellite services is happening at a breakneck and somewhat confusing pace. The question that still remains is whether consumers will catch a price break from their costly, bundle-inflated cable packages, with hundreds of channels that go unwatched for the most part.