Sling TV looks like a game-changer

Dish Sling TV booth at the 2015 International CESI’m almost recovered from another year of the International CES, and I have sooo much to tell you about. Sling TV from Dish Network won Engadget’s Best in Show award, so let’s start there. Richard Lawler of Engadget marvels at Sling’s interface, but it’s pretty close to DishWorld, which I’ve been trying out for over a year now.

When Sling launches later this year (it’s in invitation-only beta now), it will include ESPN, ESPN2, TNT, TBS, Food Network, HGTV, Travel Channel, Adult Swim, Cartoon Network, Disney Channel, ABC Family, and CNN, all streaming for $20 per month. Also promised are add-in bundles such as “Kids Extra” (Disney Junior, Disney XD, Boomerang, Baby TV, and Duck TV) and “News & Info Extra” (HLN, Cooking Channel, DIY, and Bloomberg TV) for $5/month each, plus an unspecified “Sports Extra” package.

One huge difference between DishWorld and Sling is the length of its replay feature. In lieu of a DVR, a DishWorld subscriber can watch any show on any channel from the past seven days. On Sling, for most channels, that will be limited to three days. Some channels, such as ESPN, will have no replay feature; it’ll be live only.

In the right combination with local over-the-air TV service, Sling could satisfy what some viewers need at a price that’s a lot less than traditional pay TV. But what OTA receiver would provide the best complement to Sling? Over the next few posts, I’ll talk about a few of the candidates that I saw at CES.