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Here’s How Pay TV Providers Are Changing the Way You Watch Television
At the beginning of 2015, DISH launched Sling TV, a live television service with more than 20 channels streamed on computers, mobile devices, and over-the-top boxes like Roku. The service costs $20 per month, doesn’t require a DISH Network subscription, and includes ESPN, AMC, Disney Channel, TNT, History Channel, and HGTV, and more. Image credit: Sling TV. DISH’s Sling TV
DISH’s Sling TV Additional television packages (like kids’ programming and more sports) can be added for $5 extra per month, but broadcast channels aren’t available. Since its launch, Sling TV has garnered about 394,000 subscribers and its current growth could bring in $100 million in revenue for DISH this year. Image credit: DISH.
Over the summer, Comcast announced its over-the-top service called Stream, which will cost $15 per month and will only be only available to Comcast Internet customers. Unlike Sling TV, the service will offer broadcast channels, HBO, and will have some on-demand content and cloud DVR capabilities as well. Unfortunately for Comcast, the service hasn’t officially launched yet. Comcast’s Stream Image credit: Comcast.
Stream was supposed to launch in beta mode over the summer, with plans to expand to all Xfinity Internet customers by early 2016, but that hasn’t happened yet. Comcast says the service is being tested in Boston, but articles published by FierceWireless and TVPredictions.com say there isn’t any way for potential customers to sign on Comcast’s website, and both publications received conflicting statements about Stream’s testing. Comcast’s Stream Image credit: Comcast.
Charter Communications’ Spectrum TV Stream Charter Communications is currently testing its own OTT service called Spectrum TV Stream, which costs just $13 per month. Only current Charter Communications Internet subscribers can sign up for it, but it includes the major broadcast channels, as well as either Showtime or HBO. For $7 more per month, the service adds about 18 more cable channels, including ESPN and AMC. Image credit: Charter Communications.
Charter Communications’ Spectrum TV Stream Charter has been fairly quiet about its television streaming service and hasn’t released any information on how many subscribers are currently testing it. Meanwhile, Charter is in the process of acquiring Time Warner Cable for about $56 billion, and the deal is still pending regulatory approval. What’s interesting is that Time Warner Cable had plans to test its own OTT service in New York and New Jersey, but recently announced that it won’t be doing that, and instead will simply test out using Roku 3 devices as replacements for traditional set to boxes. Image credit: Charter Communications.
Right now, we’re seeing pay-TV providers almost nervously dabbling in OTT services, likely because they need to offer less-traditional services but don’t want to encourage high-paying subscribers to sign up for the cheaper streaming plans. It’s likely we’ll see more services like this launch in the future, but don’t expect this to be an overnight change for the TV providers. There are still about 95 million pay-TV subscribers in the U.S. and these companies aren’t eager to switch them over to cheaper streaming plans. Will these services change anything?
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