A number of cable, satellite, and IPTV providers have introduced TV Everywhere services that let viewers watch TV content online. But satellite TV provider DISH will be the first to introduce a standalone subscription TV service over-the-top, with the launch of its new DISHWorld package of international channels rolling out on the Roku streaming box.
DISHWorld is made up of a series of international video channels from and makes them available on Roku for as little as $19.99 a month. The service allows DISH to take a bunch of content that doesn’t usually have a huge audience, and doesn’t cost a whole helluva lot to license, and make it available to niche audiences. And Roku is already a pretty popular device for watching international content.
According to the Roku blog, DISHWorld has more than 50 international channels, including:
- A bunch of Arabic channels exclusive to DISH, including MBC, Al Arabiya, and Al Jazeera
- Hindi channels such as aapka Colors, Sony, SET Max, Star Plus, Zee TV, B4U, and aaj Tak
- Willow Cricket and TEN Cricket, which includes eight Cricket Boards and more than 150 days of live cricket a year
- Seven popular television channels from Pakistan, including GEO TV, ARY Digital, and Hum TV
- Four channels from Bangladesh, including ATN Bangla, Channel I, ETV Bangla, and NTV Bangla
- TV Globo Internacional and PFC, which have Brazilian television programs and soccer events
So does this mean that DISH — or anyone else — could introduce a streaming package with some *ahem* more popular live channels? Like ABC, CBS or other broadcast TV channels? Maybe ESPN or cable channels like AMC or FX? Probably not. Think about it — these are networks that DISH spends very little to license, and it’s charging $20 a month. There’s probably no way that it could introduce a service of the content that most people watch and make it economically viable. That’s a bummer, but it’s just the way things are.