Sports options are improving and movie bundles are shifting for cord cutters who subscribe to Sony’s PlayStation Vue and Dish Network’s Sling TV streaming services accessed on game consoles, smart TVs, and set-top boxes from Roku, Apple, and Amazon.
Previously boasting a couple of ESPN and Fox Sports channels in the 50-channel starter ($39.95) Access package with Comcast SportsNet Philadelphia in Core ($44.95) and better bundles, PlayStation Vue has now increased the channel options for sports fans with a $10-a-month add-on for Core and the pricier Elite and Ultra plans.
For Philly Vuers, this new Sports Pack opens the gates to the seasonally carried NFL RedZone, MLB Strike Zone, ESPN Bases Loaded, and ESPN Goal Line channels as well as offering the year-round national-feed portion of several other CSN channels — Chicago, Mid-Atlantic, Northwest, Bay Area, and California (the latter two recently renamed as NBC rather than CSN channels). Philly locals won’t have live access to those out-of-market games; they’ll just be able to see highlight and commentary shows, said a Vue representative.
The package also includes Outside TV, Longhorn Network, and the national feed of the regional sports networks NESN National and NBCUniversal.
Over on Sling TV, new movie-loving subscribers will have to fork over a separate $5-a-month fee for the Epix Premium channel lineup — Epix, Epix 2, and Epix Hits — previously included in the Hollywood Extra $5-a-month bundle. Offsetting the shift some, the Reelz movie trailers/documentary channel has been added to the Hollywood Extra lineup. And Epix Drive-in is cruising to the starter ($20-$25) Sling Orange and Blue packages.
Current Sling Hollywood Extra subscribers are being grandfathered; they’ll continue receiving all Epix channels plus Reelz.
Sling will also add pay-per-view capabilities starting with UFC 214 on Saturday for $59.99. “Integrating UFC 214 directly into the Sling TV experience is the next step in Sling TV becoming a true cable replacement,” said Roger Lynch, Sling TV’s CEO.
According to eMarketer, 168.1 million people in the U.S. will use an internet-connected device to stream content this year, up 10.1 percent from last year.