Sling TV recently added A&E, Lifetime, and LMN networks to its lineup, but subscribers aren’t exactly getting these channels in full.
Certain shows on both of these channels are effectively blacked out, with a “Restricted Content” message appearing in the channel guide.”Due to rights restrictions, this content cannot be streamed on Sling TV,” says the description for these shows.
Sling’s channel guide doesn’t tell viewers what they’re missing, but cross-referencing with A&E’s schedule shows that some—but not all—episodes of Criminal Minds are restricted. TV Guide listings show that Lifetime is restricting the made-for-TV movie Kept Woman on Saturday evening. LMN is restricting certain movies and episodes of Intervention.
The restrictions were first spotted by users on Reddit’s cord-cutting forum, and TechHive has verified that certain shows and movies are unavailable. We’ve reached out to Sling TV for clarification.
UPDATE: A Sling TV spokeswoman confirmed that some shows on A&E, Lifetime and “other select channels” are restricted due to programming rights, but said that “when possible, these channels will offer other programming in place of the restricted content.” We’ve yet to witness this alternative programming on our end.
Why this matters: Sling TV just added A&E, Lifetime, and LMN this week, and so far they are the only networks with restricted content. These aren’t high-demand shows or movies, but it would be a troubling if more networks started adding similar restrictions—especially since Sling TV doesn’t make clear to subscribers that certain content is unavailable.
Jared Newman has been helping folks make sense of technology for over a decade, writing for PCWorld, TechHive, and elsewhere. He also publishes two newsletters, Advisorator for straightforward tech advice and Cord Cutter Weekly for saving money on TV service.