Amazon today announced that its Fire TV streaming set-top box and HDMI stick now support Sling TV, the subscription-based live TV service that offers users an alternative to cable that streams via the web for $20 per month. As part of its promotion for the launch, Amazon and Sling are also offering a discount for Fire TV hardware for subscribers who prepay for three months of Sling TV service: $50 off the $100 purchase price of the Fire TV, or a Fire TV Stick completely free.
Sling TV is designed to work with a number of devices, including Roku, Nexus Player, Xbox One, and smart TVs from select manufacturers. Sling TV also always planned to offer its service on Amazon Fire TV, ever since its original introduction back at CES in January, but today marks its initial actual download availability. The hardware discount is also new, and a big incentive for customers evaluating how best to get the over-the-top cable alternative on their actual televisions, especially if they have older, non-smart TV sets.
The discount also gives buyers access to Fire TV’s other services, of course, which include Netflix, Prime Instant Video, Hulu Plus, WatchESPN and others. Sling TV includes ESPN, ESPN2, Disney Channel, ABC Family, Food Network, Cartoon Network and a slew of others, as well as add-on options for even more selection. It’s a smart move by both companies offering up the hardware basically free (in the case of the Fire TV Stick), because for Amazon it has the potential to make them the de facto choice for cord cutters looking to unbundle, and for Sling TV it’s a way to ensure users can get over the single technical barrier to accessing their service in an easy, affordable way.
Sling TV has a lot of potential: Early partners like Disney are already expressing their pleasure with progress to date, and considering ways in which they might expand their OTT content offerings in the future. A strong install base will help with that, of course, and this arrangement is a clever way to grow the flock.