Sling TV, the Dish-owned online streaming service that promises live TV via the internet, has been plagued with one serious problem since launch: you could only stream Sling TV to one device at a time. Today, the company is attempting to address that issue with the launch of a new “multi-stream” service, now in beta, that lets you stream live TV to up to three devices at a time, both inside and out of the home. At launch, however, the selection is limited to a handful of networks owned by FOX, including broadcast channels (in some markets), FOX Sports, FX, and National Geographic, along with optional add-ons like AMC, A&E, HBO, Turner, Scripps, EPIX and Univision.
These add-ons are available in the new service’s “Extra” packages, as opposed to shipping with the core offering which is priced at $20 per month. Similar to Sling TV’s original offering, customers can choose from add-on packages like “Hollywood Extra,” “Lifestyle Extra,” “World News Extra,” HBO and Cinemax.
Add-ons are still priced at $5 per month, except for the premium channels which set their own pricing. (HBO is $15/mo and Cinemax is $10/mo).
Local broadcast content, live and on-demand, is currently limited in the new service to 17 markets: Atlanta, Austin, Charlotte N.C., Chicago, Dallas, Detroit, Gainesville, Fla., Houston, Los Angeles, Minneapolis, New York, Orlando, Philadelphia, Pa., Phoenix, San Francisco, Tampa, Fla. and Washington D.C. However, Sling TV says it plans to add local content from FOX affiliates in the future on a market-by-market basis.
But what that means is, for now, is that your ability to access broadcast FOX TV will vary as you travel.
To be clear, this new service is not an upgrade to the Sling TV service as you know it today – it’s an alternative offering aimed at those where streaming to multiple devices is a concern.
Unfortunately, it’s lacking some of Sling TV’s better selling points – like over-the-top ESPN and Disney Channel networks, the latter which would have appealed to cord-cutting parents who want to be able to watch different programs than their kids at the same time.
The channel selection may improve in time as the company is able to forge additional deals, though. Currently, the multi-stream service is in beta, as this process is underway.
“Since launch, our customers have asked for more channels and multiple streams,” said Sling TV CEO Roger Lynch, in a statement. “We believe our new multi-stream service, anchored by a strong lineup of Fox content, including top franchises like ‘Empire’ and ‘The Americans’ on FOX and FX, as well as access to Major League Baseball in 15 markets, including the New York Yankees, is the first step in answering their requests.”
“We look forward to incorporating our customers’ feedback throughout the beta phase as we evolve the multi-stream service to include additional channels, features and functionality,” he added.
Despite the more limited lineup for multi-streaming, the beta service still offers a good number of popular channels, including CNN, HGTV, Cartoon Network, History, TNT, Food Network, IFC, Adult Swim, A&E, Viceland, Lifetime, Travel Channel, Bloomberg Television, FX, truTV, TBS and others.
As a part of this new deal with FOX, Sling TV customers will soon also be able to use their credentials to authenticate with the networks’ own applications including FOX NOW, FXNOW, FOX Sports GO and Nat Geo TV.