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Is Sling TV a good choice for cord-cutters?

Dish Network announced at CES this week a new Internet-based TV service called Sling TV for $20 / month.  This new service, scheduled to launch in the first quarter of 2015, will allow those without a traditional cable / satellite TV package to get the following 12 cable TV channels:

  • ESPN
  • ESPN2
  • TNT
  • TBS
  • Food Network
  • HGTV
  • Travel Channel
  • Adult Swim
  • Cartoon Network
  • Disney Channel
  • ABC Family
  • CNN

Most specifically in this list are ESPN and TNT.  As an avid NBA fan, watching primetime games can’t be done without a traditional cable package.  With NBA League Pass these games are blacked out during primetime.  This is a great option for college sports as well.  I’ll be curious to see if your Sling TV subscription includes rights with WatchESPN.com.  As someone who watches sports, this offering looks appealing.

Sling TV will be available on most of the popular streaming devices such as Amazon Fire TV, Google, Roku, and the Xbox One.  Most notably missing from this list if the Apple TV.

Is this a step in the right direction though?

Absolutely not.  This is more of the same from TV providers just a new medium.  It still doesn’t give us the a la carte pricing that we want.  It just gives us smaller and more manageable packages (not a bad thing for sure).  I’m still happy to see more options out there for those who don’t want a traditional TV package. 

I also think the pricing is a little high for what a cord-cutter is willing to spend.  Part of what is driving that cost up is the including of ESPN which costs a provider more than $6 a user in fees.  Keep in mind, our bill is already starting to add back up with our multitude of services we have such as Netflix, Hulu Plus and CBS All Access.

Even though it’s a small bundle, it still suffers from the same problem as the larger bundles.  I personally only need sports programming.  While some other people may only need kids programming.  Don’t make me get both.

If you don’t watch sports, I would say there is no reason to ever pick this package up as a cord-cutter unless you just want programming from the Food Network or the Disney Channel.  Those with younger kids, I could certainly see the appeal though.  Until the content offering for sports improves online, I could see myself subscribing to this for a few months during the year.  The nice thing is there isn’t a contract to lock you in.

The TV industry is having to shift this year thanks to the large number of streaming services coming to market.  Already we have seen CBS and HBO offering an online-only offering and I suspect a few more networks will have offering by the end of the year.  I think 2015 will be a good year for cord-cutters.

Read more about Sling TV on their site.

Follow me on twitter: @coreyroth

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More Stories By Corey Roth

Corey Roth, a SharePoint Server MVP, is an independent consultant specializing in Cloud technologies such as Azure and Office 365. He also specializes in mobile development. Corey serves as the product manager for two cloud-first mobile app platforms: BrewZap and HappenZap.