Like many cord-cutters, we've been big fans of the Sling TV $20-per-month, skinny service since it launched in early 2015. Maybe that explains why we're so disheartened by the painful decision embedded in the company's latest plan.
If you're a new subscriber, you can either abandon ESPN in favor of Fox's channels and the ability to simultaneously stream to three devices or choose ESPN (and Disney's other channels), but settle for streaming to just one device at a time.
For sports fans looking to cut the cord, that's one tough call, especially since options for getting ESPN without a pay TV subscription are limited. Another consideration: The Disney plan doesn't include any local broadcast channels.
If you don't really care about "Monday Night Football" and "SportsCenter," though, this will seem like a no-brainer. In addition to access for three users, the new $20-a-month Fox Sling TV package offers Fox broadcasts in 17 markets (with more to come), Fox channels such as FX and Fox Sports, regional sports networks, and an on-demand library of Fox shows ranging from "Empire" to the "The Simpsons." And then, of course, there's AMC, A&E, Cartoon Network, CNN, HGTV, and TBS (also available in the Disney package).
Both plans let you add more channels by purchasing add-on theme packs at $5 each a month, but those options do not include ESPN. HBO can be added to either plan for $15 a month.
While it's possible that Sling TV and Disney/ESPN can reach a deal that would allow multiple streams—apparently, the companies are discussing this possibility—the only option right now for ESPN fans who want multiple streams is to subscribe to both services. That would cost $40 a month and leave them with lots of overlap between the stations offered in both plans. Still, that may be a cheaper route than your current pay TV plan, as long as you're willing to forgo local broadcasts from ABC, CBS, and NBC.
If you're a baseball-loving Comcast customer living in the Northeast, there may be one additional benefit to the Fox plan: It includes the Yes Network, which broadcasts Yankee games. And due to a fight over transmission fees, that programming has been blacked out to Comcast subscribers since late last year.
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