One Step Closer to Ala Carte TV?

Today at CES, Dish Networks announced SlingTV, a $20 monthly internet TV service that will be coming to Roku, Amazon Fire TV, iOS and Android in the “coming weeks”.

From cnet’s coverage: 

The $20 Sling TV base package includes ESPN, ESPN2, Disney Channel, ABC Family, Food Network, HGTV, Travel Channel, TNT, CNN, TBS, Cartoon Network, Adult Swim, and the “best of Internet video” with Maker Studios. Add-on packs with additional kids and news programming will be available for $5 each.

[Roger] Lynch [CEO of Sling TV] said the launch channel lineup was set but the lineup would evolve with time and that other channels would be added. No DVR capabilities or local channels would be available to Sling TV subscribers, but they’d be able to access plenty of on-demand content, he added.

While I’m not sure I’m ready to open my wallet to subscribe just yet, I think this is an interesting development for a couple of reasons. First, it shows that networks are willing to make these types of content deals for non-cable TV subscribers. I’ve long said I’d pay a reasonable monthly subscription to access networks like CNN or HGTV on my Apple TV if that subscription allowed me to have access to their live stream and previous shows. Currently I can access some of this content through their iOS apps, but most of it is locked down unless you’re a cable TV subscriber, which I’m not.

This newly announced Sing TV package offers a nice collection networks that has a little something that will appeal to most households. What’s notable is the inclusion of the sports channels. Access to sports coverage has been one of the biggest reasons for keeping a cable or satellite TV package. ESPN and ESPN2 will alleviate that concern for many. 

While Sling TV isn’t perfect, it’s a start. No mention of availability for Apple TV and we’ll have to wait and see if or how the program lineup grows or can be customized. But I’m excited about the possibilities. Ok Apple now it’s your turn…