Sling TV is debuting on its first gaming console today. Microsoft just announced that the internet TV service is now available to Xbox One owners — as is the month-long free trial we heard about back in January. Xbox customers can download the app and start streaming from Sling's core "best of live TV" pack that includes ESPN, AMC, the Disney Channel, and more. (Separately, Dish also announced today that it will add A&E, History, H2 and Lifetime to that $20 package by the end of March.)
If you're not yet an Xbox owner, you'll be eligible for three months of free Sling TV upon the purchase of a new Xbox One console. Microsoft will also be showcasing Sling TV running on Xbox at its own stores, so clearly the companies have forged a strong relationship here. As another sign of that, Sling accounts can be set up directly on the Xbox without any need to register from a web browser. Sling TV is priced at $20 per month for the basic channel pack, with extra programming available through $5 bundles and video-on-demand rentals also offered.
With PlayStation Vue on the horizon, Microsoft and Dish are getting close
Microsoft is making a lot of noise about being the "first" game console to pick up Sling, though it's very much uncertain whether Dish's service will ever appear on the PlayStation 4. What seemed like a good relationship between Sony and Dish during the previous console generation has now splintered, with Sony working to launch its own internet TV service in PlayStation Vue. Microsoft has no direct answer for PlayStation Vue at the moment, so throwing its weight behind Sling TV is a logical move to make. So much for reinventing TV.
If you've used Sling TV elsewhere, the Xbox experience should be very familiar. But you can do some handy things using the strengths of Microsoft's console; individual channels can be pinned to your Xbox One home screen, for example, so getting back to AMC for next week's Better Call Saul can be almost instantaneous. Support for Kinect voice commands has also been built into the app.