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15 Mar

Sling TV Enhances Accessibility In Its Cloud DVR Feature

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Better Accessibility

Sling TV, Dish Network’s streaming television service, has launched its latest cloud DVR feature for more customers through its “First Look” early access program. First announced back in the month of November, the DVR feature solely existed as private beta for Roku users until now. It is expected that the feature would be available to all Sling TV subscribers soon.

The cloud DVR feature functions like a standard DVR and the recordings are stored in the cloud instead of a hardware device. Furthermore, Sling’s cloud DVR lets the user record several programs at the same time. This, however, is unavailable for all the channels because of the rights negotiations that exist between Dish and other broadcasters.

However, Sling is not offering unlimited storage or any other storage options to the customers. Besides that, “First Look” customers need to pay an extra charge of $5 per month for storing up to 50 hours of recordings. When the intended storage space runs out, the initially watched recordings are selectively removed first to save space for the newer ones. Moreover, users have to join the “First Look” program in accessing many DVR features.

The “First Look” program offers Sling TV customers using Amazon devices the means to test the cloud DVR feature alongside the Roku beta testers. In addition, to accessibility into the cloud DVR, the users joining the “First Look” program will get access to features such as setting the recordings on the go, protecting the recordings, and grouping the recorded content into different folders.

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“Many customers have requested Cloud DVR since our launch, and as more consumers cut the cord, we know Cloud DVR is a must-have feature for many consumers,” Ben Weinberger, Chief Product Officer of Sling TV stated. “We also know some customers prefer to watch our 30,000 on-demand titles, and we don’t want to make them pay for a feature they won’t use. While other OTT providers force everyone to take Cloud DVR at a higher price, Sling TV continues to give our customers choice and control over their entertainment experience.”

Meanwhile, this new move by Sling comes ahead of the increasing competition in the streaming television market, as many newer services like AT&T’s DirecTV Now and YouTube TV have stirred up an increasing competition in the arena.

08 Mar

Sling TV Expanding Its Sports Programming Packages

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Sports Programming

Sling TV, Dish Network’s OTT TV service, is widening its sports programming packages with the addition of NBR regional sports networks. This newly announced packages would be made available to the customers in selected markets later this month.

The new deal, which is announced at the start of the Major League Baseball season starting April 2, will be a delight to the customers in watching this favored sport shows on television. It will enable Sling Blue customers in accessing CSN California, CSN Bay Area, CSN Chicago, and CSN Mid-Atlantic at no additional charges involved. In addition to that, these regional networks will further aid in accessing additional NBA and NHL games.

This is an added benefit for Sling TV, as it receives MLB games national feeds from TBS, ESPN, Fox, and FS1. It is reported that YouTube is also set to jump in the v-MVPD market later this year, and would also get accessibility to regional sports networks from Fox and Yes Network. In fact, the new move by Sling matches directly with YouTube TV, as they had unveiled their plans of including regional sports networks from Comcast in their announcement earlier.

The new sports channels will be included into Sling TV’s $25 per month Blue package in selected markets only. With this, Sling TV has expanded its bundling options, appeal, and schedules since its launch into the streaming television industry in February 2015. It is only recently that the TV has introduced its extra programming packages with significant discounts in the package. It also included Kids Extra, Lifestyle Plus Extra, Comedy Plus Extra, and News Extra recently to the offerings.

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Sling Sports Packages

Sling CEO, Roger Lynch has stated that, “Offering access to larger, more diverse OTT TV programming options is allowing Sling TV “to attract a much broader audience than we were able to in the beginning. Plus, we’re starting to get past at least the early phase of early adopters and able to attract people who are more comfortable switching to something like this now…We’re seeing a broadening in our demographic.”

One of the notable aspects of this announcement is that Sling TV is offering these regional sports networks for users in its core platforms and not confining it to the add-on tiers. Sling has also not raised the prices in process of its RSN additions, which is yet another noteworthy feature.

07 Mar

Sling TV Announces Extra Channel Package For $10

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Extra Channel Package

Sling TV has announced a new double channel lineup for the customers at a price of $10. This has been the result of a new pricing plan introduced by TV provider in delivering the favored channels to the customers at an affordable price. Currently, the new pricing option has an addition of over 40 networks at a subscription rate of $10 per month.

Sling has also offered its “Multi Extra Discount” that gives the subscribers an option for many channel packages including the Kids Extra, Lifestyle Plus Extra, Comedy Plus Extra, and News Extra. The package was previously available at $20 and this new proposal effectively doubles the available channel options of Sling.

Sling Orange and Sling Blue customers are eligible for availing the packages included in this new offer. This will be a highly valuable option for both the customers to access some of the best channel packages available in the network. Through this plan, Sling Orange customers can get access to about 80 networks for just $30 a month.

For Sling Blue customers, the same numbers of networks are available for a fee of $35 per month. In addition to that, customers who have subscribed to both the Sling Blue and Sling Orange service will have access to about 90 networks for a monthly fee of $50. For existing customers already utilizing many of Sling’s packages like Sling TV Lifestyle Plus Extra, Kids Extra, Comedy Plus Extra, and News Extra plan, there will be discount of $10 in their next bill.

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Multi Extra Discount

The Chief Marketing Officer for Sling TV, Glenn Eisen had stated about this new plan for the customers in a recent blog post. “Most people tell us they don’t want the ‘big, bigger, biggest’ bundles that come with old TV packaging like cable and DirecTV Now,” he said. “But, as more consumers leave traditional pay TV services, we’re seeing a growing consumer segment that is looking for a bigger channel lineup.”

Eisen further added that, “Sling TV’s model is centered around providing consumers with choice and control. This consumer-friendly model is further advantaged by industry-leading pricing. And now, we even beat DirecTV Now at their old TV pricing game.”

With this offer, Sling TV provides a good choice for the customers in adding on any extra networks and packages of their choice. The options for the addition of basic bundles or any extra packages like sports are also available in the service.

24 Feb

We Are Prepared For Potential Mergers And Acquisitions – Dish CEO

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Dish Network CEO

CEO of Dish Network, Charlie Ergen recently said that a deal that swaps assets between Dish Network and their sister company, EchoStar, will set up the satellite TV business for many mergers that is expected in the mobile internet and television industries. Ergen was speaking on a conference call that discussed the quarterly financial earnings and results of Dish Network. He also shed some light on the reasons for the deal between EchoStar Corp. and Dish Network that was announced last month.

It is reported that Dish Network is acquiring the satellite ground infrastructure, technology development, and TV set-top building operations of EchoStar. In addition, Dish Network will have total ownership and control of the streaming service, Sling TV after the merger.

The main business of EchoStar will be owning and maintaining satellites, and selling the services of their Hughes Communications subsidiary. “It made more sense for Dish to be in control of its own destiny, and Hughes can focus on where they want to be,” Ergen said.

Charlie Ergen is the founder, Chairman, and controlling shareholder of both Dish Network and EchoStar Corp., as both of them was a single company before the spinoff of January 2008. Major players in the satellite TV and cable businesses were unable to discuss merger and acquisition deals for many months owing to the anti-collusion rules related to the U.S. Federal Communications Commission auction of mobile internet spectrum that is sold by the broadcast TV businesses and stations.

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It is expected that the anti-collusion rules will be lifted by the month of April. The telecommunication business have been busy with speculations about attempts to merge Washington-based T-Mobile, and Kansas-based Sprint Corp or the New York based Verizon and Dish Network. One of the best internet providers in the US, Charter Communications, and cable TV company, Comcast Corporation, are also exploring the possibilities to have a wireless internet service of their own. It is reported that Comcast and Charter have also discussed potential mergers to offer the best internet service in the country.

Ergen has also tried to make deals with T-Mobile and Sprint in the years 2013 and 2014, with an aim to start wireless internet services, on the many unused frequencies worth millions of dollars, which Dish Network has acquired over the years.

13 Feb

Dish Network’s New Ad Campaign May Help Them To Win Back Customers

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One of the leading cable service providers, Dish Network suffered a huge subscriber loss over the last few months. Reports indicate that the cable provider is determined to prevent this alarming customer loss and the newly launched ad campaign might actually help them to do so.

The new ad campaign puts stress on the fact that the cable provider is always listening to their customers and their satisfaction is of prime importance to the telecom company. The new campaign, which is titled as “Tuned In To You” relies entirely on a “Spokeslistener.”

The officials from Dish Network noted that Spokelistener poses a serious challenge to the typical traditional spokesman who generally speak to customers rather than listening to them. Moreover, Spokeslistener effectively illustrates the common issues and frustrations experienced by the cable customers through a series of radio, digital, and TV ads. Spokelistener also illustrates the solutions that Dish Network can offer to solve these issues.

Dish Network president and chief operating officer, Erik Carlson recently said, “Customers just want to be heard in an industry that has forsaken its ability to listen. ‘Tuned In To You’ is more than a marketing slogan. It’s a company-wide rallying cry and a long-term business philosophy. DISH has a history of putting our customers first and taking bold steps to make TV better. We are at our best when we listen to and fight for what our customers want.”

However, Dish is not just running ad campaigns to win back their subscribers. The cable provider has also launched a new training program in their October dubbed Base Camp. Some of Dish Network’s frontline employees who work with their customers will be a part of this training program.

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Dish Network Customers

Carlson added, “The notion that management should roll back its sleeves and work with its customer base is almost unheard of in corporate America. But we can’t possibly fulfill on our ‘Tuned In To You’ promise without a working knowledge of our customers and the interactions they have with our brand.”

Reports from several reliable sources point out that Dish Network is trying to graduate 700 of their employees through the Base Camp by the end of the year 2017 and some of the trainees are senior leaders of the telecom company. Dish Network is hopeful that these new strategies will help them to win back customers.

13 Feb

Sling TV Offers Free Preview Alongside Extending Its Cloud DVR Trial

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Sling TV Service

Sling TV is providing a free preview of its service as well as expanding the availability of its cloud DVR trial. This announcement came on behalf of the second anniversary of Dish Network’s renowned MPVD platform.

The free preview is available for interested customers wishing to subscribe to the network. The free preview provides Sling Orange, a channel lineup owned by the service. In addition, selected content such as live NCAA College and NBA basketball games are also provided in the preview.

Reports say that a free preview of Sling TV’s premium offering like HBO and Starz programming is available for the existing customers. The free preview offers many advantages to the customers in the form of good content for a specific period. It will aid new subscribers in getting acquainted with the various services and benefits of using Sling TV. The free preview will further enable the viewers to watch the mid season premiere of the popular television series including The Walking Dead.

Sling TV has also made another major offering of extending its cloud DVR trial to the users of Amazon Fire TV and Android devices. The proposed DVR rollout is in beta testing with more additions to follow like Apple TV. In December, Sling TV has launched the beta version of its cloud DVR for Roku devices users. This service allows users to record about 100 hours of programming without obliging them to pay any additional charges.

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Cloud DVR Trial

Note that there is no option to select the quality of recording, whether it is in Standard or High Definition, although it provides a range of other playback functions like pausing, fast forwarding, and rewinding of the streamed content. However, Sling has only offered specific content to license in its cloud DVR program.

Dish Network rolled out Sling TV in February 2015 with an intention of providing quality live TV programming and content via the internet. They started out with just one service that included 3 extras and over 25 channels. The service has been an immense success with further expansion into 2 base servers, 7 extras, and 3 premium channels, and over 100 channels along with 30,000 Video on Demand content.

Experts say that this provision made by Sling TV on its second anniversary is an attempt to widen its subscriber base and compete with other leading streaming TV providers.

10 Feb

Estrella TV Signs Multi Year Carriage Agreement With Dish

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Estrella TV On Dish

A recent announcement made by the officials from Estrella TV confirms that the Spanish language broadcaster has signed a multi-year carriage agreement with one of the leading cable service providers in the country, Dish Network. However, both the parties refused to give an insight into the terms of this recent deal.

LBI Media, the parent company of the Spanish language broadcaster Estrella TV, noted that the multi-year agreement with Dish Network was a part of the broadcasters plan to expand their distribution and presence in the United States. LBI Media also noted that Dish subscribers will be able to access an watch the contents of the network on the cable provider’s DishLatino Clasico packages and on America’s Top 200 package.

This recently signed agreement with Dish Network has considerably boosted the national distribution of Estrella TV. The company claimed that more than 40 million homes in the United States would be able to watch the contents offered by the network.

LBI Media stated that the agreement with Dish Network “significantly expands Estrella TV’s distribution influence and bolsters Estrella TV’s growing presence in the Hispanic television market, consolidating Estrella TV as one of the leading Spanish language television networks in the U.S.”

In a recent statement, the Vice President of DishLatino said, “We are proud to be the leader in delivering TV entertainment in Spanish and English, and as a result, we are always looking for new ways to enhance the experience for our customers. Because of this agreement, the majority of DishLatino customers can now enjoy Estrella TV’s line-up, including its popular game shows and comedies.”

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The senior vice president, distribution and affiliate sales, LBI Media, Cathy Lewis Edgerton said, “Hispanic audiences in the US are demanding new entertainment programming. Estrella TV Network has been betting on a counterprogramming strategy since its inception in 2009 before it was a trending topic among Spanish language television networks. This agreement with Dish corroborates the importance of Estrella TV’s programming in the U.S. Hispanic market.”

America’s Top 200 package is one of the most popular Dish Network packages and it offers customers access to more than 24 popular channels for just $69.99 a month. Some of the most popular channels included in this package are Fox News, Disney Channel, Cartoon Network, History, ESPN, and CNN, and the addition of Estrella TV will surely attract more customers to the offer.

06 Feb

Dish Network Consolidates EchoStar DBS Assets

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Dish Network Assets

Dish Network recently said that they have reached an agreement with the EchoStar Corp. The agreement is made consolidate its Direct Broadcast Satellite operations and assets. Dish Network said that the deal would give them end-to-end control of their OTT service. The agreement will transfer some of the EchoStar assets operations and assets to Dish.

In a statement, Dish Network said that the deal would involve the transfer of some of the assets and operations of EchoStar, which also include the EchoStar Technologies hardware and software development group, its managed fiber network that is spread across the nation, its regional and national uplink business, and its OTT development team to Dish. The transfer will be done in exchange for Dish Network’s 80% economic interest in Hughes Retail Group. Hughes Retail Group houses the satellite broadband business of Dish in the form of a tracking stock.

Dish Network will also get EchoStar’s 10% stake in Sling TV, wireless spectrum licenses that cover 4 markets in 28 GHz and some of the real estate properties. Sling TV was launched by Dish network in 2015 and currently the service has about 900,000 customers. Dish Network will continue to market their satellite broadband services under the dishNET brand to their rural users.

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This deal is made eight years after Dish has split itself to two different units, EchoStar for the equipment side and Dish Network for the satellite pay TV service. Recently, EchoStar said that they would stop making standalone Slingboxes. Slingbox was the pioneer in video place shifting device and Sling Media has stopped making Slingbox devices, but they will continue selling the remaining inventory. Users who are interested in getting a Slingbox can buy one before the stocks end or get one from online outlets that still sell them.

“With this transaction we will vertically integrate all the elements that define our customer experience – one team will deliver the full Dish and Sling TV experience end to end,” Dish president Erik Carlson said in a statement. “Not only do we gain full control of product development roadmap for DBS and Sling TV but we also anticipate achieving operational efficiencies.”

It is expected that the transaction will be closed by the first quarter of 2017.

03 Feb

Sling TV Offering Free Trial For NFL Pro Bowl Games

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Sling Free Trial

The 2017 NFL Pro Bowl Game is right around the corner and you should not miss the action. Sling TV brings a new free trial that customers can use in order to watch the game and experience the quality services provided by the streaming service. Here are some options to consider for watching the game through this free trial.

Customers living in the United States, who have no access to cable or satellite TV services, can watch the game through Sling TV. It is an online streaming television service that offers access to many channel packages for a small monthly subscription fee. Sling TV’s free 7-day trial enables you to watch the game free on the web or with its app.

Watching The Game On The Web

Go to Sling TV’s official website and sign up for the free trail by following the instructions provided on the webpage. You need to enter your credit card information in the sign up process. However, cancelling the subscription before the trial period ends will have no charges levied on the card for the Sling TV services.

After signing up, you can either watch the game in the free trial or select the Sling Orange package. This package includes many sports channels like ESPN and costs just around $20 a month. There is also the availability to opt for other options like the Sling Blue package, which comes with a monthly subscription fee of $25 and offers around 30 channels. Finally, download the Sling Desktop app and select the ESPN channel to watch the game.

Using The App

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NFL Pro Bowl

There is also an option to watch the NFL game on the Sling app. The app will be accessible after signing up for the free trial and can be downloaded via the Google Play Store or the Apple App Store. Apart from these two platforms, Sling app is also available for Roku, Xbox One, Chromecast, etc.

Signing up is required for the app also, for using the free trial and for watching the game. The rest of the process is the same as in the case of online viewing. Afterwards, download the Sling mobile app to connect with ESPN and watch the game.

Watching the game free on phones, tablets, and connected TV is also possible with the ESPN app. Select Sling when asked about the TV provider and log in with your username and password to enjoy the game.

30 Jan

Is Dish Paving Way To Cannibalizing Itself

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Dish Network offered AirTV player with integrated OTA streaming, Alexa integration for television services, and Dish-on-a-stick at CES 2017. Dish Network is making bold moves with their latest range of products and services that will obviously cannibalize their traditional television offerings. Let us look into the details of the offering from Dish Network this CES.

AirTV

At the CES 2017, Dish threatened their own traditional pay TV business with the introduction of AirTV. This product from Dish combines their Sling TV service with the native Netflix and OTA channels. “It’s similar to Roku, but it can connect to an off-air antenna and bring in live TV in full HD,” says Drew Mehrmann, who is the partner manager for Sling TV.

AirTV is an Android box, meaning that the device can run any app from Google Play Store. Netflix and Sling TV apps come preloaded on the device. There is also an optional AirTV Adapter, which plugs into a USB port on the box. The Dish interface combines all the television services into a single place and can be accessed with a single remote controller.

Dish on a Stick

This is not the real name for the latest product. The product is basically the Dish Anywhere service, available on a special Amazon Fire TV Stick. Users can take the device with them, plug it into HDMI port of any television, and enjoy Dish Network services on it. This means that anything that is available on the Dish Anywhere service can be accessed on a remote television, irrespective of the location of the user.

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Traditional Television Offerings

Users can also access their local channels and programming guide, DVR recordings, video on demand, live TV, etc. A small remote is also offered with the stick and the user will need the remote to operate the device. This product can also cannibalize the traditional pay TV service of Dish, but the provider believes in the future. This product from Dish Network will not be released until summer.

Voice Control

Dish had announced their plans to integrate with Amazon Alexa for voice control. They have also offered a pre-production version of the voice integration at CES. “The idea is that: If you wanted to watch something, how quickly can you get to the content that you want to watch, without having to pick up the remote and go to the menus and find the content that you’re looking for?” says Dish product manager Sashi Choudhary.

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