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Media Streamers

Sling TV's new $20 package gets Fox channels, 3 streams, but no ESPN

A new programming option is available today from Internet TV pioneer Sling TV, offering local Fox broadcasts, FX and even regional sports channels, but no ESPN, for the same price as its original package.

Cord-cutters who want live TV can now watch American Horror Story, The Simpsons, and maybe even local Major League Baseball games for $20 a month. As long as they're willing to give up SportsCenter.

Today Sling TV, the first major nationwide provider of live TV channels delivered over the Internet without a cable subscription, now has Fox. A new base TV package is available today, delivering the local Fox affiliate in 17 markets (Channel 5 in New York, for example) as well as the FX channel and Fox Sports. Anyone outside those markets loses the local affiliate, but can still watch Fox shows on-demand with a 24-hour delay. Depending on where you live you might also get access to another regional sports network, like YES in New York.

Just like Sling's current base package, the new one costs $20 per month with no contract and the option to cancel or resume service anytime. The two packages also share numerous other channels, including A&E, AMC, CNN, Lifetime, TBS and TNT. Here's a full channel breakdown (PDF).

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Sling's new package also offers access to some regional sports networks.

David Katzmaier/CNET


In one crucial way the new package is even better: it allows you to stream to up to three devices at the same time. That means three family members, for example, could watch three different things on three different TVs using the same Sling TV account. Sling is calling the new package "Multi-Stream" as a result.

Want Fox and 3 streams? Sacrifice ESPN and Disney

The biggest disadvantage of the Multi-Stream package is that it lacks ESPN, ESPN2, The Disney Channel and Freeform (formerly ABC Family), all of which are available on the original Sling TV basic package. Subscribers who choose the Multi-Stream option also lose access to other Disney-owned channels available in Sling's $5/month add-on packages, including ESPN News, ESPNU, Disney Junior, and Disney XD, as well as anything (beyond Univision) from its Spanish language packages.

Basically, Sling now offers two choices: ESPN with Single-Stream, or Fox with Multi-Stream. If you want both you'll have to pay $40 per month for both packages, or choose an alternative service like PlayStaton Vue (which has all of those channels and more, as well as a DVR and support for multiple streams) or a traditional cable or satellite provider.

I tried the new Fox service briefly and it worked as advertised, streaming to three different devices and delivering both the Fox Sports channel and YES Yankees games. I was able to watch past episodes of the current season of The Simpsons, but unlike on the FX Now app I couldn't watch every episode, ever. I was also not surprised to find I couldn't pause or rewind live TV on any of the Fox channels or YES -- most major Sling channels also have this restriction.