Sling TV, Dish Network’s new OTT-TV service for cord-cutters, said it will launch HBO service before Saturday (April 11) in tandem with a batch of app updates that will enhance the service while also reducing the load on its servers to ensure that Sling TV will be able to handle streaming spikes.
The expected timing of Sling TV’s HBO launch will also ensure that the premium network is spooled up ahead of this Sunday’s season five premiere of Game of Thrones. Sling TV announced last week that it will offer HBO for $15 per month, but still require that customers also bundle Sling TV’s core $20 per month service. HBO on Sling TV will feature one live stream of HBO and access to the premium programmer’s VOD vault.
By comparison, HBO Now, HBO’s stand-alone, unbundled OTT service that launched Tuesday (April 8) and does not feature a live linear stream of HBO, is initially available via Apple and Cablevision Systems Optimum Online broadband service for $14.99 per month.
Key among Sling TV’s app updates are “various enhancements” to reduce overhead and server load. “This will allow us to provide a more seamless experience to all customers during periods of heavy viewership. That move is coming soon after the service buckled under the stress as viewers flocked to stream the semi-final matchups of the NCAA men’s basketball tournament. Sling TV experienced a similar technical issue soon after the service’s nationwide launch on February 9.
Among other enhancements on the way, Sling TV said it is also adding parental controls across all channels that give customers the ability to manage TV shows by rating, and the debut of a “mini guide” feature that will make it easier for customers to find shows by subject and genre on the following platforms – the Amazon Fire TV box, Fire TV Stick, Roku players and Roku TV models and the Xbox One.