Sling TV has finally launched an app for Android TV, making Google’s television platform a little more hospitable for people who’ve ditched cable.
Sling TV is a $20-per-month service that includes more than 20 live channels, including ESPN, TNT, Food Network, and CNN. Subscribers can also buy add-on channel packs for $5 per month, and HBO for $15 per month. (Here’s a chart with the service’s full programming, on-demand options, and noteworthy restrictions.)
Dish Network, which operates the Sling TV service, has been promising an Android TV app since January, but hadn’t given a timetable. The service already has apps for iOS, Android phones and tablets, PC, Mac, Roku, Xbox One, and Amazon Fire TV.
Right now, there are only two Android TV devices on the market. Google’s $99 Nexus Player is a fairly standard media streamer with a voice control remote, and Razer’s $100 Forge TV is more focused on gaming with an upcoming app for streaming PC games from a networked computer. Nvidia is also working on a $200 Android TV device with gaming power and 4K video support, supposedly due out this month. Android TV is also built in to some of Sony's top-end TVs.
Why this matters: One of the biggest issues with Android TV right now is the app selection, which trails far behind competitors Apple TV, Roku, and Fire TV unless you count apps that work through Google Cast . The arrival of Sling TV is a positive sign, especially with rumors of a new Apple TV and accompanying streaming video service on the way, and we can expect Google to redouble its TV efforts as it pitches developers at next week’s I/O conference.