Now you can.
DISH Network’s Sling TV, a $20-per-month Internet TV service that streams channels to your TV, PC, tablet, and phone, announced today that they’ve added Turner Classic Movies to their channel lineup. TCM will be available in the Hollywood Extra tier for an additional $5 – a total cost of $25 per month. Other film-centric networks in that tier include Sundance TV, EPIX, EPIX 2, EPIX 3 and EPIX Drive-In, which also airs classic films, along with cult, sci-fi and horror titles. (Here’s the EPIX schedule.)
You can watch Sling TV at home in high definition via an Internet-connected smart TV or a Roku streaming player, Roku Stick, Amazon Fire TV or Fire TV Stick. And If you’re a technophobe, don’t worry. Set up is easy and intuitive and the cheapest option will run you no more than $35. (Sling also offers discounts on Amazon streaming devices for new customers, including a free Fire TV Stick when you prepay for three months of service.) And you can watch remotely on your Mac, PC, Tablet or phone via a free app for iOS or Android devices.
Now, let’s take a look at the numbers for folks who decide to give Sling TV with TCM a try.
With a monthly subscription fee of $25 paid to DISH, plus at least $40 for decent speed (10-megabit or more) broadband service paid to, you guessed it, your local cable provider (you can’t escape them!) your total monthly cost will net out at about $65. But considering that you’re probably already paying for broadband, this is likely less than your total cost now to watch TCM via a cable or satellite provider.
Now the bad news: Sling TV is available only to customers in the United States and, according to a customer service rep I spoke with, Sling TV will not support the Watch TCM mobile app. Sling will offer access to TCM via its own app, which you can use on your phone or tablet as long as you have a WiFi signal. So, if you love to access Watch TCM on your phone via your cellular network (as I do while walking the streets of New York City), this may not be a great solution for you. Note also that Sling is a “single stream” service, which means you can’t watch on multiple devices at the same time.
Initially Sling will also not offer on-demand movie options for TCM like many providers do (Time Warner Cable currently offers 6-8 titles for free, on-demand viewing). Today’s announcement does suggest that additional on-demand options for TCM are coming, but no further details have been offered.
Sling’s programming choices are still somewhat limited (no local broadcast channels, no Showtime yet) and adding beyond the basic Best of Live TV tier will cost you additional money (which would eventually total more than you’re paying for your current cable bundle). But, if you’re a cord-cutter who watches local TV with an antenna and is looking to add TCM without a cable or satellite package filled with channels you don’t care about, this may be the day you’ve been waiting for.
At some point in the near future, TCM may be available direct-to-consumers via a subscription video-on-demand service you can access without cable or satellite (like the excellent Warner Archive Instant streaming service). And I’ll be the first person to tell you when that happens. But until we get there, Sling TV sounds like a good stopgap for cord-cutters. And they’re offering a free 7-day trial to check out the service, which I just signed up for. So continue to watch this space for more details.
The Future may not be here entirely, but every day brings us one step closer.
For more info on Sling TV visit their website.