Sling TV lets people cut the cord without missing out on ESPN

Sling TV, a $20-a-month service that lets users stream live TV channels over the Internet, is now available on Amazon Fire TV and Roku devices. Sling TV lets users watch live sports without a cable TV subscription.

Jae C. Hong/AP/File
Sling CEO Roger Lynch demonstrates Sling TV at the 2015 Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas on January 5, 2015.

There may be more cord-cutters than ever, but one thing holds most people back from ditching their cable TV subscription: live sports. Hulu and Netflix may make it easy to stream TV shows over the Internet, but to follow your favorite teams you still need a cable box or sport-specific subscription.

Now, people may be able to cut the cord without missing important games. Amazon announced this week that Sling TV, a subscription Web TV streaming service, is now available on the Amazon Fire TV set-top box and the Fire TV Stick plug-in device.

For $20 a month, users can stream content to their Fire TV from 14 channels, CNN, the Disney Channel, and – crucially – ESPN. The channels are live, so Sling TV users will see exactly what they’d be seeing if they had a cable box. The only difference is that the content is delivered over the Internet.

Sling TV, which was introduced at the 2015 Consumer Electronics Show last month, launched on Monday for PC and Mac computers, Android and iOS tablets and smart phones, and Roku devices. Now the service is available on the Fire TV platform, too. The company says Sling TV will eventually be available for the Xbox One and Playstation 4 gaming consoles, smart TVs from Sony and Sharp, and the Google Chromecast streaming stick.

Now that Sling TV is available for Fire TV, Amazon and Sling are offering a discount: If you buy three months of Sling TV service in advance, you’ll get the $39 Fire TV Stick for free, or the $99 Fire TV for $50. Roku is running a similar promotion: Pay $60 for three months of Sling TV, and you can get a Roku Streaming Stick for free, or a Roku 3 set-top box for $50. It’s a nice incentive that might be enough to nudge someone who has been considering ditching their cable subscription, but hasn’t been able to take the plunge yet.

TechCrunch’s Darrell Etherington reports that the companies whose channels are included in the Sling TV package are generally happy about the arrangement, and that Disney (which owns ESPN) is considering offering additional content, including movies from the Star Wars and Marvel franchises, to Sling TV subscribers.

Users who need more sports than one channel can provide can choose to pay $5 extra per month for access to the SEC Network, ESPNews, ESPNU, Universal Sports, Univision Deportes, and a handful of other channels.

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