Hulu may be planning a Sling-style live TV streaming service to take on cable

Hulu wants to offer a live TV service beginning early next year, according to one report.


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Streaming site Hulu already had its hands full taking on Netflix as a competitor. Now, the premium video streaming pioneer reportedly wants to take on Sling TV. The Wall Street Journal says Hulu is planning to launch a live television streaming service sometime in early 2017.

The new unnamed service would cost somewhere around $40, and offer additional features such as a cloud DVR service and on demand viewing for past episodes.

Similar to services like Sling and PlayStation Vue, Hulu’s would be a stripped down version of live TV packages targeted at cord cutters. Hulu is already close to closing deals to bring channels like ABC, ESPN, the Disney Channel, Fox News, and FX to the service, the Journal says. Those networks are owned by Disney and 21st Century Fox, companies that are part owners in Hulu. The third backer, Comcast-owned NBCUniversal, apparently isn’t ready to commit yet.

That’s not surprising. Even though Comcast has an interest in Hulu—but is barred from participating directly in the service’s business—a television service from Hulu would interfere with Stream TV, Comcast’s own cord-cutting service.

NBCUniversal also doesn’t provide its content to Sling TV, a Dish Network-owned live TV service that rolled out just over a year ago. In fact, the Journal makes it sound like Hulu’s offering won’t be all the different from Sling’s.

The impact on you at home: Sling also offers Disney networks such as ESPN and the Disney Channel, as well as content from Fox including Fox News and FX. On top of that, Sling offers top tier content networks including HBO and AMC, which are two networks could make their way to Hulu’s service. That’s just speculation, however. If Hulu launches with a lineup similar to Sling’s that suggests online TV will go down a similar path to music streaming. In other words, all the various services would offer pretty much the same content—save for a few exclusive titles here and there—while trying to differentiate themselves with added features.

Interestingly, rumors of an impending TV service from Hulu follow another rumor about the streaming site. In February, reports suggested Time Warner wanted a stake in Hulu. The company reportedly wanted to deprive the site of recent TV episodes for streaming in order to push cord cutters back towards the traditional cable model.

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