CES 2016: Channel Master Tunes in Sling TV

Adds OTT App to OTA-Capable ‘DVR+’ Platform
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Las Vegas -- Sling TV subs now have an easier way to access local broadcast TV channels over the air.

Following hints that emerged several months ago, Channel Master has formally integrated its platform with Sling TV, Dish’s OTT-TV service for cord-cutters, onto DVR+, its subscription free DVR that features broadband connectivity, over-the-air tuning capabilities and a guide that ties it all together.

The integration (Channel Master will start to roll out its updated software tomorrow with the Sling TV app) will allow DVR+ users to access the Sling TV service directly within the device’s channel guide. Notably, DVR functionality from the Channel Master device isn’t available for Sling TV content, likely due to the digital distribution rights with programmers that govern the Sling TV OTT service.

Channel Master will be showing off its new handiwork at tonight’s PepCom/CES  event in Las Vegas. The demo will capture live TV signals via an antenna feed running up to the room of The Mirage hotel and casino, where PepCom is taking place.  

Channel Master's Sling TV integration comes about a year after it wrapped up the beta phase of its live TV streaming platform and opened it up to media companies.

Channel Master currently offers two DVR+ products – a 16 GB version for $249 (that requires a USB external hard drive to enable full DVR functionality”), and a 1 terabyte model for $399.  The company has not announced how many DVR+ units have been shipped, but Channel Master notes that it’s installed in all DMAs in the U.S. and Canada.

Channel Master said Sling TV is one of the top two services requested by DVR+ owners (Netflix is the other), noting that cord-cutters tend to avoid services weighted down by contracts. The company said its customers skew toward Gen X and Boomers, with some Millennial crossover, and that most of its customers use a max of two or three OTT services to complement the content they receive over-the-air.

 “Consumers reject the traditional pay-TV model for more reasons than just saving money, it’s also about having choices and not being locked into exorbitant contracts,” said Coty Youtsey, CEO of Channel Master, in a statement. “Sling TV’s business model, in addition to its top-rated programming options, makes it a perfect fit for our customers and we’re very excited to launch the service today.”

Sling TV, meanwhile, has yet to offer any of the U.S. Big 4 broadcast TV channels via its packages, but it hopes to change that eventually, if it can iron out the complicated distribution rights.

Sling TV, which announced a freshened up interface and integration with the digital-only ESPN3 service here at CES, also runs on Android and iOS mobile devices, the Amazon Fire TV and Fire TV stick, Roku players and Roku TVs, Web browsers, the Google Chromecast, Android TV devices such as the Nexus Player, and the Xbox One. 

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