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Sling TV is coming for your cable cord with more channels and Xbox deal

The new Internet TV service, Sling TV, is putting more and more basic cable channels into its offering.
Written by Steven Vaughan-Nichols, Senior Contributing Editor

I've been viewing Sling TV for several weeks now. I first got it because I wanted to watch ESPN. Since Sling TV first showed up in early February, it's channel offerings have only continued to grow. Indeed, it's now at the point where it's rivaling conventional cable TV offerings.

Sling TV is adding still more basic channels and is now available on the Xbox One.
First, Dish Network's Sling TV added EPIX movie channels and Sundance TV for $5 a month in its "Hollywood Extra" add-on package. At the same time, Sling TV expanded its base $19.99 "Best of Live TV" package by adding AMC and IFC to its channel selection.

Now, Sling TV is putting four A+E Networks' channels, A&E, HISTORY, H2 and Lifetime, on its core package by the end of March. That's on top of ESPN, ESPN2, TNT, TBS, AMC, Adult Swim, Disney Channel, Food Network, HGTV, Cartoon Network, and other standard "cable" networks. This package also includes access to WatchESPN, including ESPN3 and an array of VOD entertainment.

"After only six weeks in market, we're working towards nearly doubling the size of our 'Best of Live TV' core package while preserving our attractive $20 price point," said Roger Lynch, CEO of Sling TV, in a statement. "With the upcoming arrival of A+E Networks' highly-rated content, Sling TV will soon include 20 networks for just $20 per month," Lynch continued.

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Sling TV is also showing that they're not afraid to readjust their course. Besides adding more channels, the company is replacing its "News & Info Extra" package with "Lifestyle Extra" package. This will offer truTV, Cooking Channel, DIY and WE tv, with A+E Networks' FYI and LMN coming soon, and the "World News Extra" which features Bloomberg TV, HLN, Euro News, France 24, NDTV 24/7, News 18 and Russia Today. If you already subscribed to News & Info Extra," you'll get both the "Lifestyle Extra" and "World News Extra" packages for a total of $5 per month.

The addition of truTV on the Lifestyle Extra package also means, if you're a March Madness fan, that with it, and the core package's TBS and TNT, you'll be able to watch almost all the early rounds of the NCAA basketball tournament. Speaking of which, go West Virginia University! Go University of North Carolina!


Sling TV, which was already available on Windows PCs, Macs, iOS and Android smartphones and tablets, Amazon Fire TV and Roku devices, is also now available on the Microsoft Xbox One. In a statement, Lynch said, "Sling TV and Xbox are a natural pairing; two out of three millennials think of themselves as gamers, while nearly nine out of 10 watch live sports on TV. Today's Xbox One customers have been some of the most passionate about Sling TV since the beginning, and now we're pleased to bring them live TV on their favorite gaming console."

Sling TV on Xbox One allows users to Pin the app to their Home; use Kinect voice or gesture controls; and run multiple activities simultaneously by using Xbox One's Snap feature. Current Sling TV customers can add the app to their Xbox One consoles by downloading Sling TV from the Xbox One Apps Store and then signing into the app with their Sling TV user-name and password.

Put it all together and I see more and more reasons to cut the cable cord. With HBO, CBS, and other networks offering a la carte Internet TV viewing and Sling TV putting the most popular basic cable channels into inexpensive packages, I think cable TV is in deep trouble.

Personally, I cut the cord about three years ago. With every month that goes by my choices of Internet TV keep getting better at a fraction of what I used to pay for cable or satellite TV. My one regret is still that Turner Classic Movies still isn't available for cord-cutters. But, the way things are going. I'm sure it too will be available without a cable or satellite subscription soon.

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