Sling TV Launches on Xbox One

The Xbox One is no stranger to video apps, with Netflix, Amazon Instant, Hulu Plus, and Crunchy Roll offering up a few popular ways to stream content. However, none of them has quite been able to replace a basic cable TV setup in terms of selection or enabling live channel viewing. Now, Sling TV is available with a $20 per month charge that gets you 17 channels including El Rey, TNT, Adult Swim, Cartoon Network, ESPN, ESPN 2, TBS, AMC, HGTV, CNN, Disney Channel, and ABC Family. Sling TV has partnered with Amazon before to include either a free Fire TV Stick or a heavy discount on the Fire TV, but they’ve given Xbox One owners something nice as well. New subscribers will be able to try one month of Sling TV absolutely free of charge on the Xbox One.

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Setup is reasonably easy with the controller. It’s certainly a bit more time-consuming, but you are getting three more weeks of free service using the Xbox One than you would by setting it up with your PC. Every channel is available for live viewing, but only one enables you to see past programming – El Rey. This is slightly strange, but it is a great way to watch Miami Vice episodes or catch up on Lucha Underground. Speaking of which, the most beautiful wrestling show on TV each week looks fantastic. Beyond being a fun telenovella that happens to be a wrestling show, it’s also nice to watch since they’ve designed it to pop off of any viewing platform known to man.

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That brings up video quality, which using a wired ethernet cable is really good. It’s about on-par with what I’ve seen from the show via on demand with Comcast, which is fairly impressive. The app itself is laid out fairly well with each channel getting its own icon. The d-pad navigation is a breeze, although the channel selection could be improved a bit. As a pro wrestling and MMA fan, I love having Lucha Underground available on the Xbox One in HD since I can only watch the channel in standard definition with on demand programming in HD. However, New Japan Pro Wrestling would really nice to see here and I would love it if AXS TV was added onto this service.

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If you’re wondering whether or not the service is for you, give the free trial a shot. Be sure to cancel it though, because $20 a month is a fairly steep charge to just forget about. The target market for this seems to be cord-cutters who want to retain some of their live viewing, and if you’ve got fairly minimal TV viewing habits, then this should suffice. If you’ve got a kid roaming around and they’re fine with just checking out the Disney channel or Cartoon Network, this is a really good option to try out. The inclusion of Galavision is nice for attracting the Latino market, and they’ve got a lot of bases covered demographically here.