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The AppAdvice week in review: Apple gets ready to 'cut the cord,' preps a 25-channel TV streaming service

The AppAdvice week in review: Apple gets ready to 'cut the cord,' preps a 25-channel TV streaming service

Connected Theater
March 22, 2015

Not too crazy about the Apple Watch, which arrives on April 24? The wearable device isn’t the only new product coming this year from the iPhone maker.

Apple TV 4.0


Since it first arrived in 2007, Apple TV has always been considered a “hobby” device. That is likely to change in June, when Cupertino is expected to unveil a new video streaming service.

As The Wall Street Journal first reported, the new service is expected to launch with a 25-channel TV bundle this fall, which will cost between $30 and $40 per month. The service would feature top broadcasters like ABC, CBS, and Fox. Other possibilities include popular channels like ESPN and FX. Discovery and Viacom are also in talks to be part of the new service.

A separate report later in the week indicated that NBC would also be providing an Apple TV app for the new service. Yes, an app. Apple TV 4.0 is expected to launch on a new Apple TV device that will have an App Store, more storage, and Siri.

Competition growing


Apple isn’t the only company helping us to “cut the cord.” Dish Network’s Sling TV is already doing this, and across multiple devices, and this week saw the arrival of Sony Vue.

First introduced in January, Sling TV recently launched on Microsoft’s Xbox One. The Microsoft gaming console joins other devices that support Sling TV, including Amazon Fire TV and Fire TV Stick, current-generation Roku players and Roku TV models, plus iOS, Mac, PC, and Android.

Currently, Sling TV’s “Best of Live TV” base package is $20 per month. This includes: ESPN, ESPN2, AMC, TNT, TBS, Food Network, HGTV, Travel Channel, IFC, El Rey, Adult Swim, Cartoon Network, ABC Family, Disney Channel, CNN and Galavision, with A&E, HISTORY, H2, and Lifetime coming soon. This package additionally features access to WatchESPN, including ESPN3 and an array of video on demand (VOD) entertainment.

Optional packs for $5 each include: Sports Extra, Hollywood Extra, Kids Extra, Lifestyle Extra, and World News Extra. In addition to live channels and VOD entertainment, Sling TV customers have access to content from Maker Studios.

Sony Vue, by contrast, offers 53 channels for $50 per month. The service has already launched on PlayStation consoles in select markets, and will be coming to the iPad soon.

With Sony Vue, you get broadcast networks CBS, Fox, and NBC. You also get popular cable channels TNT, MTV, Nickelodeon, CNN, Comedy Central, and more. If you want to spend even more, you can step up to the $60 plan and get regional sports networks Yes, Comcast SportsNet Chicago and Philadelphia, and Big Ten. At the $70 tier, you add on expanded cable channels like FXM and Sprout.

Are companies such as Dish Network and Sony worried about Apple’s video streaming business? Not so much, according to Sling TV’s Roger Lynch.

The CEO told AppAdvice that he isn’t too concerned about Apple’s likely entry into the video streaming market. He said it’s been an open secret for a while now that Cupertino wants to be a player. He noted that it won’t affect his company’s business model, which is to offer quality service across multiple platforms.

“Our strategy isn’t all or nothing. We view providing programming more like a puzzle; we simply want to be part of the puzzle,” according to Lynch.

Readers respond


AppAdvice readers are mostly excited about Apple’s video streaming service.

DC asks, “When can I sign up & kick comcast to the curb?” Moofer concurs, saying that he’ll make a switch “in a heartbeat.”

Others are concerned that the service may not go far enough.

Sockpocket notes, “If they are only offering live streams of broadcast channels, where I have to keep track of a television schedule and record things and all that old-fashioned guff, I’m not interested.”

MisterFloppy says “I hope this is not the revolution they were talking about. I don’t want traditional tv schedules, I want VOD and original content like Netflix. TV Channels aren’t the future, production companies that sell content to Apple, Amazon, Google, PlayStation, Xbox… are.”

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