Friday, April 15, 2016

SlingTV upping the ante in local TV market

SlingTV, the OTT service launched last year which directly competes with cable for your TV dollars, is at it again.  Having just survived March Madness without major issues - unlike last year when it suffered embarrassing outages - the company is now addressing two of the biggest knocks against the services features.

Since its launch, Sling TV has only provided single stream support.  That means only one devise could be connected at a time to a given account.  If you are watching the game on ESPN and your spouse fires up SlingTV on their phone to watch the news on CNN, the first stream drops.

Well, going forward this won't be a problem.  A new multi-stream version of SlingTV that supports up to 3 streams is in beta testing.

The other knock against SlingTV versus cable is that it doesn't provide local programming.  While this is easily remedied using a digital antenna, it is something that OTT providers are looking to address. In this same beta version of SlingTV, several Fox channels will be provided including some local stations where the Fox network directly owns the local affiliate.

Charlotte is one of those affiliates.

There is one very notable difference between this beta version of the service and the current production version.  The channel lineups are not the same.  The multi-stream version does not include ESPN or the other Disney owned content.  It's unclear is that's a permanent situation or if there are still licensing discussions ongoing.  If that's a permanent setup, it will be a major drawback.  If the price of multi-streams and local content is not having ESPN, that will be a huge issue for many consumers.

Here's hoping that's just an issue while beta testing is underway.

Click HERE for the entire press release.

Bonus Observation: When 5G wireless service rolls out in a few years, the combination of OTT services like SlingTV and crazy fast wireless networks could/will allow customers to completely disconnect from local service providers like Mi-Connection.  The day that happens will be a very bad day for the towns of Davidson and Mooresville if they haven't extricated themselves from the cable business by then.

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