In January at CES Sling announced a partnership with several cable television networks including Disney and CNN to offer a monthly subscription service which promised to bundle together the most popular cable television networks into a single streaming service they dubbed "SlingTV".
Including such popular networks as ESPN, FOOD Network, and CNN into a $19.95/month service the announcement rocked the internet and cable television worlds at the same time.
The promised service launched today with a 14 day free trial, and I've been using it on a variety of platforms for a few hours to see how it works.
The biggest limitation for most families is going to be that only one device can be logged in to the service at a time. Logging in on my iPad deactivated my viewing on my TV, actually logging me out and forcing me to log back in with email and password to begin watching again. For families with a multitude of screens like ours this is a serious limit with such a hefty price tag. A $20 subscription per family member would make cable television cheaper and give us a wider range of programming.
That being said there is a lot to like here. Even with what I am sure is a huge look-in audience on launch day there were no quality issues on any of the devices I tried. Playback is smooth and full HD quality, a must at this price point.
At launch Sling also offers a sports add on pack featuring 10 additional channels including ESPNews and Universal Sports for an additional $5, with the promise of more add on packs such as family and movie packs to come as deals are made with production studios.
In all it is a compelling if expensive service that delivers exactly what it claims if not anything more. Give the trial a spin and if you find yourself using it enough it may be worth the price tag for your family.