CenturyLink Bows Beta of OTT TV Service

CenturyLink Stream starts at $45 per month, includes cloud DVR, bevy of add-on packages
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Adding another virtual MVPD to the market mix, CenturyLink has posted pricing and packaging for the beta version of CenturyLink Stream, a long-anticipated, nationally-available OTT TV service from the telco that starts at $45 per month, includes a cloud DVR, and features a broad mix of add-on programming packages and some a la carte options.

CenturyLink Stream’s baseline “Ultimate” package sells for $45 per month (discounted to $40 when bundled with CenturyLink’s high-speed internet service -- but it's not a requirement under the service's bring-your-own-broadband policy) for a lineup of almost 50 channels, including NBC, ABC, USA, Disney Channel, Animal Planet, TLC, Discovery Network, ESPN, Freeform, Bravo, Food Network, ESPN, A&E, HGTV, Travel, History, Telemundo, Univision, UniMás and Galavision, among others. Fox and CBS are currently absent from the lineup.

Per the fine print, live streaming for local broadcast networks of ABC and NBC and the availability of certain regional sports networks (NBC Sports Bay Area, NBC Sports California, Longhorn Network, CSN Chicago, CSN Mid Atlantic, CSN New England, CSN Northwest, CSN Philadelphia, and TCN) varies by location.

CenturyLink Stream also features a second baseline “Latino” package that costs $15 per month, includes the cloud DVR, and 27 Spanish-language channels, including Azteca, BeIn Sports, Discovery en Espanol, ViendoMovies and Univision Networks – Univision Deportes Network, Galavision, Univision, UniMás and others.

CenturyLink Stream lets subs stream live TV and VOD on up to three devices at the same time,  and install the service on as many as 20 devices. 

CenturyLink doesn’t require a contract for its new OTT service and is offering a seven-day free trial. In addition to competing with traditional pay TV providers, the new offering will be tangling with vMVPDs that include YouTube TV, Hulu, PlayStation Vue, fubo TV, Sling TV, and DirecTV Now. 

RELATED: CenturyLink Pushes OTT TV Launch to Early Q3

CenturyLink Stream is an OTT service that will be marketed in and out of the telco’s traditional footprint. It will also complement CenturyLink’s full-freight, managed IPTV service, Prism TV, an offering that is powered by Ericsson Mediaroom platform. Though CenturyLink is expected to deemphasize its Prism TV service, the company has stressed that it will remain part of its video arsenal and target the higher end of its customer base.

RELATED: CenturyLink CFO: OTT-TV Offering Might Replace Prism TV Product

CenturyLink Stream's Ultimate also features a cloud DVR that can hold up to 50 hours of programming, though customers cannot currently record Showtime programming or any of the ESPN channels (ESPN, ESPN2, ESPNEWS, ESPNU, ESPN Goal Line/Buzzer Beater/Bases Loaded, Longhorn Network, SEC Network, and ESPN Deportes. “You will be able to record the ESPN channels in the future,” CenturyLink notes in the FAQ. CenturyLink Stream currently does not support downloading for offline viewing of VOD or DVR-recorded content. 

Early on CenturyLink Stream is supported on iOS and Android mobile devices, web browsers,  Roku players and Roku TVs, as well as the CenturyLink Player, an Android TV-powered device made by LG Electronics that supports HD and 4K, integrates 802.11ac, 8GB of storage, and voice-activated search. CenturyLink is selling CenturyLink player for $89.99. The telco said it doesn't offer content in 4K but plans to add 4K fare in the future. 

CenturyLink Stream is also selling Showtime for an additional $9 per month, and is offering several add-on packages:

-Movies Extra ($10 per month), features Epix Hits, Fandor, Sony Movie Channel, among others

-News & Info Extra ($5 per month), includes Bloomberg Television, Newsy, Cheddar, WeatherNation, Fusion and The Blaze, plus others.

-Lifestyle Extra ($5 per month), for Cooking Channel, DIY Network, Fashion TV, plus more.

-Pop Extra ($5 per month), includes beIN Sports, Outside Television, ESPN Buzzer Beater, plus more.

-Variety Extra ($5 per month) for FYI, El Rey, Chiller, Ovation.

-Kids & Family Extra ($5 per month) for FidoTV, Hallmark Movies and Mysteries, plus more.

-Disney  Family Movies ($5 per month).

-Deportes Extra ($7 per month)

-Peliculas Extra ($7 per month) for Cine Sony Television, ViendoMovies, De Película, and more.

The service is also selling a batch of channels on an a la carte basis, including The Blaze ($4), DuckTV ($2), Fandor ($5), and Motor Trend ($5), and regional sports networks in select markets.

Watch this promo video about CenturyLink Stream: