Sling TV bulks up base package with AMC and IFC

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AMC and IFC are joining Sling TV’s streaming video lineup today, bringing the base package up to 16 channels.

Dish Network, which operates Sling TV, had announced last month that AMC was coming to the $20 per month service, but hadn’t given a time frame. Also, Dish hadn’t said whether any other AMC properties would be part of the base package.

Unfortunately, neither of the new channels offer Sling TV’s “Replay” feature, which lets users watch any show from the past few days, but both AMC and IFC will offer some on-demand content in the future. There’s also no word on when other AMC properties such as BBC America, BBC World News, and We TV will be added to Sling TV.

In addition to the new basic channels, Sling TV is adding a $5 per month “Hollywood” bundle that includes EPIX, EPIX2, EPIX3, EPIX Drive-In, and Sundance TV. That brings the total number of mini-bundles up to four, including ones for “News & Info,” “Kids,” and “Sports.” The Hollywood bundle will offer Replay—going back as far as seven days—along with an on-demand video selection.

Sling TV is an attempt to reach cord cutters and young people who’ve never had a cable TV subscription. The number of channels is much smaller than a typical cable bundle, but includes some big ones such as ESPN, TNT, Food Network, and CNN. It’s also considerably less expensive in many cases, and is available through phones, tablets, PCs, Macs and set-top boxes. (Check out our full Sling TV review for more details.)

Why this matters: Sling TV was already a compelling offer for cord cutters with its original lineup, but AMC and IFC are major additions. The former brings access to shows like Better Call Saul, Mad Men, and The Walking Dead, while the latter will let viewers catch the hit series Portlandia. It’s nice that Dish has been able to expand the service without relying solely on additional bundles, because once you add too many of them, it starts to look a lot more like cable.

Correction: An earlier version of this story said that AMC and IFC were launching April 5. The channels are available today, while the next season of Mad Men premieres April 5.

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