A live multichannel TV service is coming to the Apple TV set-top box today. It's just not Apple's own service.
A slide presented by Apple's Eddie Cue showed a screenshot of the new Sling TV app, featuring an updated interface first announced at CES that will debut on the Apple TV. Cue said the app would be available starting today.
In a rare move, the $150 Apple TV box will be available as part of a discount incentive package. The price will be reduced to $90 to people who pre-pay for three months of Sling TV's base $20/month package, making those first three months of service essentially free.
Sling TV has been around since January 2015 as an app for numerous TV and mobile devices, including Apple phones and tablets. It delivers live streams of 20-odd TV channels, including ESPN, TBS, CNN, AMC and more in its base package, which costs $20 per month. The service is currently only available in the US.
Although the price is relatively low, the trade-off is that you don't get the full range of channels available on most cable packages. The base package is missing local broadcast channels (CBS, Fox, NBC, etc.), as well as most popular regional sports networks.
Sling TV also doesn't allow you to pause most channels, or initiate recordings like a DVR. Most packages are also restricted to one stream per account at a time, so you can't watch on more than one different device (like a TV) at a time.
Recently Sling has begun offering an alternate multi-stream service, however, with some Fox channels but no ESPN. In fact, it appears that this service is the one Cue showed in the screenshot. Sling also offers the ABC broadcast channel in some markets for an extra $5/month.
Separately, Sling announced today that Comedy Central would become part of the base $20/month packages, and that other Viacom channels (namely Nick Jr., BET, NickToons, TeenNick, MTV, Spike, MTV2, Logo, CMT, TV Land and VH1) would be added to various add-on packages, each costing $5/month. The multi-stream packages would also get some Viacom channels. Here are the full updated channel lineups.