Sling TV has answered subscribers’ cries for multiple stream support and regional sports. But as is often the case in the world of TV bundles, there’s a catch.
The new multi-stream plan costs $20 per month, and allows up to three simultaneous streams per account. However, the lineup of channels in this package is not quite the same as Sling’s single-stream plan, which also costs $20 per month.
For example, the multi-stream plan includes Fox on-demand, along with regional Fox Sports (plus YES Network in New York), FX, and National Geographic, none of which have ever been part of the single-stream plan. TruTV, UniMas, and Univision are also included, whereas they cost extra for single-stream subscribers.
In some markets, a live feed of Fox's local station will also be available. For now, this applies to Atlanta, Austin, Charlotte, Chicago, Dallas, Detroit, Gainesville, Houston, Los Angeles, Minneapolis, New York, Orlando, Philadelphia, Pa., Phoenix, San Francisco, Tampa, and Washington D.C.
Why would you stick with the single-stream plan, then? Because some its channels aren’t available if you’re on a multi-stream package, including ESPN, ESPN2, Disney Channel, and Freeform. Certain add-on packages are also unavailable to multi-stream subscribers, including Kids Extra and Sports Extra.
Technically, you could subscribe to both the single-stream and multi-stream packages, but then you’re paying $40 per month for a whole lot of overlap. At that point, you should probably consider Sony’s PlayStation Vue streaming service instead (if your hardware supports it), which starts at $30 per month for more than 55 channels (or $35 with both ESPN and Fox Sports), and supports up to five streams at a time.
For now, Sling is labeling the multi-stream plan as a “beta,” and is promising to add new channels, features, and functions over time. Sling has also posted a PDF file that compares the single- and multi-stream plans.
Why this matters: Sling TV’s new plan could cause some anguish among subscribers, especially sports fans who must now choose between ESPN and regional sports in their base package. But the plan also illustrates the minefield that streaming video rights can be, as some TV networks only want to play ball under certain conditions.
This story has been updated to note that a live feed of Fox's local station is only available in certain markets.