Sling TV, Dish Network's new over-the-top pay TV service for cord-cutters, has yet to introduce a package option that includes broadcast TV channels, but a recent technical tie-up with Channel Master could eventually open up such a path for consumers with decent over-the-air TV reception.
Channel Master, maker of a no-subscription- required digital video recorder that mixes OTT and over-the-air content, confirmed that the company demonstrated the Sling TV app running on its platform at the recent Dish Team Summit for retail partners. Technology blog ZatzNotFunny first spotted evidence of the trial, which included a low-resolution video of the demonstration that Channel Master posted to its Facebook page.
Channel Master is in talks with Sling TV about a future commercial integration, but would still need to complete beta testing before it could be launched, a Channel Master official said.
In the meantime, Channel Master — which, like Sling TV, tailors its product to a growing group of cord-cutters — is gearing up for a big software update that will enable its platform to support OTT-delivered linear content. That “LinearTV” component, introduced in January at the International CES, has already demonstrated support for several sources of OTT video, including Bloomberg Television, Al Jazeera America, QVC and HSN. A sample screen capture of the platform has also shown CBSN, the new live streaming news channel from CBS News and CBS Interactive.
A formal integration with Sling TV could sweeten sales for Channel Master’s DVR+ product, which includes a top-of-the-line $399 model that packs 1 Terabyte of storage. Channel Master confirmed that its demo of Sling TV did not allow recording to the device’s integrated DVR.
Sling TV declined to comment on its activity with Channel Master, but other device makers have been eager to tuck in the OTT service. In March, Mohu Networks, a maker of high-performance digital antennas and a new $149 device called “Channels” that blends OTT with OTA TV, confirmed that it was interested in integrating Sling TV and that discussions were underway.
Sling TV currently supports several platforms, including Web browsers, iOS and Android smartphones and tablets, the Amazon Fire TV box and Fire TV Stick and Roku. Sling TV recently expanded access to Google’s new Android TV platform, starting with the Nexus Player.