Sling TV Kicks Off National Launch, Signs AMC

OTT Service Ends Invitation-Only Phase, Goes National
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Sling TV, the OTT pay-TV service from Dish Network targeted to cord-cutters, said it has ended its initial invitation-only phase, allowing anyone to sign up for an offering that starts at $20 per month, and on Monday also announced another key programming partner -- AMC Networks 

Sling TV is opening the order floodgates just more than a month after Dish introduced the service at the International CES confab in Las Vegas, and then proceeded to introduce a beta version that was offered to a batch of consumers on an invitation-only basis.

In concert with the national service launch, which will provide all-comers with a free seven-day trial, Sling TV also announced it has struck a distribution deal with AMC Networks.

In addition to enabling Sling TV to offer the flagship AMC channel on its core $20-per month package, the agreement also covers other channels in the AMC Networks stable, including BBC America, BBC World News, IFC, Sundance TV and WE tv. Sling TV noted that it will announce additional info pertaining to package availability of AMC Networks channels “in the coming weeks.”

“We flipped the switch this morning opening up Sling TV to all consumers, and we’re giving them something they’ve been asking for: AMC,” said Roger Lynch, CEO of Sling TV. “Soon Sling TV will deliver hits like The Walking Dead and Mad Men with AMC included in our core package. We found a great partner in AMC Networks with a wide range of popular channels to help us quickly make that a reality.”

Sling TV’s so-called “Best of Live TV” core package features ESPN, ESPN2, TNT, TBS, Food Network, HGTV, Travel Channel, Adult Swim, Cartoon Network, ABC Family, Disney Channel, CNN, El Rey Network and Galavisión, and, soon, AMC.  

It also includes access to the WatchESPN app (ESPN and ESPN2 today, with access to ESPN3 to be added “soon), a VOD library, and a variety of short-form content from OTT multichannel network Maker Studios. Sling TV noted that it will soon add Maker’s Polaris+ channel, an extension that will feature original, long-form programming that will get exclusive first-runs on the Sling TV service.

Sling TV (see our review of the service here) also markets the following add-on packs for an additional $5 each per month:

-Sports Extra: SEC Network, ESPNEWS, ESPNU, Universal Sports, Univision Deportes, beIN Sports, ESPN Buzzer Beater, ESPN Bases Loaded and ESPN Goal Line.

-Kids Extra: Disney Junior, Disney XD, Boomerang, Baby TV, and Duck TV.

-News & Info Extra: HLN, Cooking Channel, DIY and Bloomberg TV.

Sling TV currently supports a three-day replay feature for HGTV, DIY, Travel Channel, Cooking Channel, Food Network, Galavision, El Rey, Univision Deportes, Universal Sports, and beIN Sports. 

At launch, Sling TV supports current-generation Roku players, integrated Roku TVs, Android and iOS tablets and smartphones, and browsers.

Roku announced on its blog that Sling TV is now available in the U.S. via its channel store, noting that the following Roku player models qualify as "current-generation": LT 2400 and later (Roku LT (2400), Roku LT (2450), Roku HD (2500), Roku 2 HD (3000), Roku 2 XD (3050), Roku 2 XS (3100), Roku Streaming Stick, HDMI (3500), Roku LT (2700), Roku 1 (2710), Roku 2 (2720), Roku 3 (4200). 

Support for the Amazon Fire TV and Fire TV Stick will be added “in the coming days,” Sling TV said. Dish also plans to make Sling TV available on the Xbox One and the recently launched Google Nexus Player, the first device outfitted with the new Android TV platform.