More than a year after the original deal was announced, Comcast has integrated access to hundreds of multicultural channels from Sling TV on the cable operator's X1 set-top box platform.
Comcast has begun to roll out the Sling TV app to a subset of X1 boxes this week, and expects to have the app available across the rest of the eligible X1 box base in the coming weeks. About 60% of Comcast’s residential pay TV base is on X1 (Comcast ended 2017 with about 21.3 million pay TV subs).
The Sling TV app on X1 boxes will initially offer more than 395 channels from Sling TV’s slate of international programming that includes programming in 21 different languages, including Arabic, Bangla, Bengali, Cantonese, French, German, Hindi, Italian, Kannada, Malayalam, Mandarin, Marathi, Polish, Punjabi, Taiwanese, Tamil, Telugu, Urdu and Vietnamese.
Because the Sling TV app is delivered to X1 boxes via the public internet, that streaming traffic will be subject to Comcast’s internet data usage policies.
Pricing of those Sling TV channels via X1 is the same as they are when purchased directly from Sling TV. Sling TV’s international channels start at $10 per month.
Financial terms of the agreement were not announced. However, Sling TV will own the customer relationship.
If a customer signs up via X1 they will need to input a credit card during the sign up process that will get charged monthly by Sling TV. Also, existing Sling TV customers will be able to log in and access any of the international live of VOD programming that’s part of their package via X1. New subscribers will be able to sign-up directly through the Sling International app on X1.
Comcast and Sling TV announced the integration deal in November 2016. Though the focus of the deal and the first phase of the roll out centers on Sling’s international channels, the Sling TV app for X1 boxes will eventually support access to Sling TV’s core Blue and Orange multichannel packages.
In a blog post about the Sling TV launch, Rebecca Simpson, executive director of international strategy at Comcast Cable, noted that Sling’s builds on the 60 international channels that X1 already offers to customers separately.
Comcast's integration of Sling TV also expands on similar set-top box integrations previously done with several other OTT-delivered services, including include NPR, iHeartRadio, Netflix, YouTube, and Pandora.