This article has multiple issues. Please help improve it or discuss these issues on the talk page. (Learn how and when to remove these template messages)(Learn how and when to remove this template message)
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. The service is available in the United States and Puerto Rico as of 2015.
|Founded||January 5, 2015|
|Warren Schlichting (President)|
|Services||OTT Internet television|
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. 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[update], the service has 2.2 million subscribers.
This section may be too long and excessively detailed. (June 2018)
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. 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. 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."
The OTT service was officially unveiled as Sling TV on January 5, 2015, in a presentation at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas; 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." 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. 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"). 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.
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. 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.
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. 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. 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.
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. 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.
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. 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.
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. 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.
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. 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. Maker and Polaris TV were removed from the service in May 2017. 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. Subsequently, on July 12, concurrent with the addition of Showtime Family Zone, Sling added WeatherNation TV to the "News Extra" add-on pack. On March 29, 2018 Sling TV has add MLB Network & MLB Strike Zone to its sports extra package.
Features and availabilityEdit
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). 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."
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. 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. 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[update], 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.
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.
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. 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.
Supported Sling TV devices include:
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.
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.
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.
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."
- Chris Welch (January 5, 2015). "This is Dish's Sling TV: an internet TV service that lets you stream ESPN for $20". The Verge. Vox Media.
- Elyse Betters (January 9, 2015). "Dish Sling TV: What is it, and why is everyone talking about it?". Pocket-lint. Pocket-lint ltd.
- "Sling TV Introduces Sling International; Launches Nearly 200 Channels in 18 Languages". Dish Network. April 3, 2015. Retrieved July 4, 2016 – via BusinessWire.
- "Dish Says Sling TV Has 2.212M OTT Subscribers". Broadcasting & Cable. NewBay Media. February 21, 2018. Retrieved February 21, 2018.
- George Winslow. "DishWorld Launches on Roku". Broadcasting & Cable. NewBay Media. Retrieved January 5, 2015.
- Todd Spangler (September 16, 2014). "Dish Adds Food Network, HGTV and Other Scripps Cable Nets to Internet TV Lineup". Variety. Penske Media Corporation. Retrieved January 5, 2015.
- David Liebermann, Deadline Hollywood (March 3, 2014). "Dish And Disney Finalize Output Deal That Ends Their Ad-Hopper Dispute". Penske Media Corporation. Retrieved March 4, 2014.
- Meg James (March 3, 2014). "Disney, Dish Network reach truce on ad-skipping AutoHop". Los Angeles Times. Tribune Publishing. Retrieved May 24, 2014.
- Mike Farrell (November 4, 2014). "Dish OTT Targets $30 Price Point". Multichannel News. NewBay Media. Retrieved January 5, 2015.
- Joshua Brustein (January 5, 2015). "Dish's New Sling TV Service Could Free You From Cable". Bloomberg Businessweek. Bloomberg LP. Retrieved January 12, 2015.
- Pete Kafka (January 5, 2015). "You Can Finally Get ESPN on the Web, for $20 a Month". Re/code. Revere Digital LLC. Retrieved January 5, 2015.
- Will Greenwald (January 31, 2013). "Dish Network Hopper With Sling". PC Magazine. Ziff Davis. Retrieved January 5, 2014.
- "Dish Unveils Internet Pay-TV Service, Sling TV, Starting at $20 per Month". Variety. Penske Media Corporation. January 5, 2015. Retrieved January 5, 2015.
- Mike Farrell (January 13, 2015). "Dish Unveils Sling TV". Multichannel News. NewBay Media. Retrieved January 13, 2015.
- Jeff Berman (January 9, 2015). "Dish Network Doesn't Want Sling TV to Become Too Popular". TheStreet. Retrieved January 13, 2015.
- Todd Spangler (February 9, 2015). "Dish's Sling TV to Add AMC to $20 Monthly Internet Package, Launches Nationwide". Variety. Penske Media Corporation.
- Todd Spangler (February 16, 2015). "Dish Renews Epix Pact, Will Add Movie Channels to Sling TV Internet Service". Variety. Penske Media Corporation.
- Joe Flint; Shalini Ramachandran (April 1, 2015). "Turner and Dish Reach New Distribution Pact". The Wall Street Journal. Dow Jones & Company. Retrieved April 6, 2015. (subscription required)
- Chris Welch (April 1, 2015). "HBO is coming to Sling TV this month". The Verge. Vox Media. Retrieved April 6, 2015.
- "Cut the Cord with Sling TV now with HBO". BuzzMinds. April 18, 2015.
- "Sling TV Streams Out 'Sling Latino' Service". Multichannel News. NewBay Media. June 4, 2015. Retrieved June 5, 2015.
- Ben Weinberger (November 19, 2015). "Blockbuster on Demand movies have moved to Sling TV!". Sling Blog. Dish Network. Retrieved April 10, 2017 – via LinkedIn.
- Chris Welch (April 13, 2016). "Sling TV launches new $20 package with Fox channels, but no Disney or ESPN". The Verge. Vox Media.
- "Beta Multi-stream update 2: Content from FXX, Nat Geo Wild and FS2 now available in BEST OF LIVE TV™ | Sling Blog". Sling Blog (Press release). Dish Network. Retrieved June 13, 2016.
- "Sling TV adds Comedy Central, BET, Spike, MTV, Nick Jr., VH1 and more | Sling Blog". Sling Blog (Press release). Dish Network. Retrieved June 13, 2016.
- "Sling TV now available on Apple TV | Sling Blog". Sling Blog (Press release). Dish Network. Retrieved June 13, 2016.
- Andrew Dodson (April 25, 2016). "MTV, Comedy Central Coming To Sling TV As Part Of Viacom Deal". Streaming Observer. Retrieved April 10, 2017.
- Sarah Perez (April 22, 2016). "Streaming service Sling TV will add MTV, Comedy Central, Nick Jr & more, following Viacom deal". TechCrunch. AOL. Retrieved April 10, 2017.
- Eric Anthony (June 13, 2016). "Sling TV Launches On Apple TV And Adds New Channels". Streaming Observer. Retrieved April 10, 2017.
- "Sling TV Adds NBC Sports, MSNBC, BBC America, & More to Their Lineup". Cord Cutters News. June 30, 2016. Retrieved June 30, 2016.
- Phillip Swann (March 2, 2017). "Sling TV to Add NBC Regional Sports Nets In April". TV Answer Man. Retrieved April 10, 2017.
- Eric Anthony (September 8, 2016). "Sling TV Adds Starz, Pac-12 Network, And Windows 10 Support". Streaming Observer. Retrieved April 10, 2017.
- "Sling TV Adds Three New Channels". Cord Cutters News. November 2, 2016. Retrieved November 2, 2016.
- "NBA TV Now Available on Sling TV". Sling Blog (Press release). Dish Network. November 16, 2016. Retrieved November 16, 2016.
- "'Homeland,' 'Shameless' and more: welcome to Sling TV, SHOWTIME!". Sling TV Blog. April 4, 2017. Retrieved April 5, 2017.
- "SHOWTIME® Arrives on Sling TV" (Press release). Dish Network. April 5, 2017. Retrieved April 10, 2017 – via BusinessWire.
- Jeff Baumgartner (April 5, 2017). "Sling TV Gets Showtime". Multichannel News. NewBay Media. Retrieved April 10, 2017.
- Chris Welch (April 5, 2017). "Sling TV now offers Showtime for additional $10 per month". The Verge. Vox Media. Retrieved April 10, 2017.
- David Lieberman (April 5, 2017). "Sling TV Adds Showtime To Its Premium Network Offerings". Deadline Hollywood. Penske Media Corporation. Retrieved April 10, 2017.
- Todd Spangler (April 5, 2017). "Showtime Lands on Dish's Sling TV as Skinny-Bundle Add-On Option". Variety. Penske Media Corporation. Retrieved April 10, 2017.
- Jeff Chabot (July 12, 2017). "Sling TV adds Weather Nation and Showtime Family Zone". HD-Report. Retrieved July 31, 2017.
- "Sling Adds Showtime, Family, Spanish Chs". TVNewsCheck. NewsCheck Media. April 5, 2017. Retrieved April 10, 2017.
- Reid Nakamura (April 5, 2017). "Showtime Is Now Available to Sling TV Subscribers". The Wrap. The Wrap Media, LLC. Retrieved April 10, 2017.
- Sarah Perez (April 5, 2017). "Sling TV adds Showtime, expands its add-on lineup". TechCrunch. Retrieved April 10, 2017.
- Luke Bouma (May 21, 2017). "Sling TV Is Making Big Changes to Its Lineup". Cord Cutters News. Retrieved May 21, 2017.
- Luke Bouma (May 16, 2017). "Sling TV is Moving The El Rey Network". Cord Cutters News. Retrieved May 21, 2017.
- George Winslow (May 23, 2012). "DishWorld Launches on Roku: Dish will offer more than 50 international channels on the Roku streaming platform". Broadcasting & Cable. NewBay Media. Retrieved January 5, 2015.
- "Ergen: 'OTT is now a direct replacement for cable and satellite'". Fierce Cable. February 22, 2017. Retrieved March 7, 2017.
- Geoff Baker (January 15, 2015). "Offering live sports online could harm league, team revenues". The Seattle Times. The Seattle Times Company. Retrieved January 15, 2015.
- "Why Dish's Sling TV Skinny Internet Bundle Isn't a Game-Changer". Variety. Penske Media Corporation. January 5, 2015. Retrieved January 5, 2015.
- Jeff Baumgartner (January 5, 2016). "CES 2016: Channel Master Tunes in Sling TV". Multichannel News. NewBay Media. Retrieved April 24, 2017.
- "SLING TV INTRODUCES CLOUD DVR, TO DEBUT IN BETA FOR SELECT ROKU USERS". Sling TV Newsroom (Press release). Dish Network. November 28, 2016. Retrieved April 10, 2017.
- Jeff Baumgartner (December 15, 2016). "Sling TV Cloud DVR Trial Goes Live". Multichannel News. NewBay Media. Retrieved April 10, 2017.
- Jeff Baumgartner (January 6, 2017). "Sling TV CEO: Cloud DVR Will Be 'Transformational For Our Business'". Multichannel News. NewBay Media. Retrieved April 10, 2017.
- Sarah Perez (November 28, 2016). "Sling TV takes on rivals with launch of a cloud DVR". TechCrunch. AOL. Retrieved April 10, 2017.
- John Falcone (November 28, 2016). "Sling TV launches cloud DVR feature hours before DirecTV Now unveiling". CNET. CBS Interactive. Retrieved April 10, 2017.
- Sarah Perez (March 9, 2017). "Sling TV expands access to its Cloud DVR, as streaming TV competition heats up". TechCrunch. AOL. Retrieved April 10, 2017.
- Streaming of ESPN networks through WatchESPN is also offered to subscribers.
- "DVR+ Software update - Support". Channel Master. January 5, 2016.
- Mat Smith. "Presenting the Best of CES 2015 winners!". Engadget. AOL. Retrieved January 13, 2015.
- David Murphy (April 5, 2015). "Report: Sling TV Subscriber Cap Revealed". PC Magazine. Ziff Davis. Retrieved April 7, 2015.
- Jeff Baumgartner (April 6, 2015). "Sling TV Struggles During Final Four". Multichannel News. NewBay Media. Retrieved April 7, 2015.
- "Sling TV Outage During Final Four Exposes Web Streaming Weakness". Advertising Age. Bloomberg News. April 6, 2015.
- Victor Luckerson (April 6, 2015). "How March Madness Showed Streaming TV Isn't Perfect Yet". Time. Time Inc. Retrieved April 7, 2015.
- "Comcast's NBC refuses to air commercials for Sling TV". The Verge. Vox Media. July 31, 2015. Retrieved August 1, 2015.