Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Dish's Sling TV launches another channel package for $20 a month

Dish's Sling TV is adding Fox channels to its programming lineup, but they're not going to be part of the existing $20 package. Instead, and this is pretty strange, Sling is launching a new, second $20-per-month subscription package that includes Fox's broadcast network (in select markets only), Fox Sports, FX, and the YES Network. Those come on top of Sling's other channels like A&E, CNN, AMC, HGTV, and Adult Swim, among others.

The new $20 package — available in beta starting today — can be streamed on up to three devices simultaneously. But here's where it all gets weird: this package does notinclude any of Disney's channels. No Disney Channel. No ESPN. For those, you've got to stick with Sling's original subscription package, and you'll still be limited to one stream at a time. So essentially, Sling TV has now split into two products, depending on which channels you like more; there's simply no way to get all of them together.

Keep in mind that you'll only be able to view live streams of the Fox network in certain markets. Same goes for Fox's regional sports channels. You can enter your address at Sling's website to see what's available, and I'd imagine the Fox side of things becomes way less appealing if you're left without the core broadcast network, but who knows. Why not give customers the options to have both, though? Maybe Sling wants to avoid a cable-like subscription cost upwards of $50 that could result from bundling all these channels together. Or it could just be too much of a headache to negotiate.

This strategy, of splitting into two, identically-priced offerings, is definitely an odd one. Disney and ESPN were what set Sling TV apart when it first launched. But not anymore; Sony's PlayStation Vue, which also offers the channels, recently launched nationwide. So it's a good time for Sling to be offering new content. You're getting more channels, technically, and the multi-streaming option is nice — if you can live without those Disney channels.

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