Time Warner’s premium movie channel is the latest network to join Dish Network’s Sling TV.
Cord-cutters have long sought access to premium movie networks like HBO, which were long one of the few exclusive offerings keeping fed-up subscribers from dumping pay-TV completely. Those prayers were answered when HBO announced plans for their own standalone streaming service, HBO Now, though prior to its launch, questions swirled regarding how the service would be sold and delivered. At launch, there were two ways to sign up for the long-awaited service: through Apple devices or New York area cable provider Cablevision. While this opened the floodgates for HBO Now signups, many users of other devices were left out of luck.
But now, there’s another option, and one that’s far more readily available to all cord-cutters and on a wider variety of devices: Sling TV. Dish Network’s popular virtual pay-TV product now includes an add-on giving access to HBO. Sling TV costs $20 per month for about a dozen channels, with add-on packages of additional channels available for anywhere from $5 a month to $15 a month for HBO. That puts the price of adding HBO to Sling TV in line with the price of HBO Now, as well as that charged by most TV providers.
Questions remain over whether Sling TV will be able to handle an influx of HBO fans, especially with the premiere of the next season of the network’s mega-hit “Game of Thrones” just days away. During the NCAA’s March Madness college basketball tournament, Sling TV was one of the only outlets through which cord-cutters could watch the Final Four games. Amid a resulting surge in sign-ups and viewership, the service buckled under the pressure, resulting in error messages and poor performance interrupting the big games for many. Dish Network has since claimed that they’ve made the necessary upgrades and adjustments, but after failing to correctly anticipate the demand for the final March Madness games, the chance remains that the service could be similarly overwhelmed by cord-cutting “Game of Thrones” fans on April 12th.