It seems that Apple TV's exclusive deal to show HBO Now streaming content before any of its rivals was just a matter of semantics. Sure, strictly speaking HBO Now will only be available on Apple TV, but the same HBO content will be available via Sling TV later this month.
Although Sling doesn't call the offering HBO Now, it will include "one live channel and the same extensive video library HBO provides on its other platforms." The HBO content will be available for an extra $15 (HBO Now will cost $14.99) per month on top of the standard $20 per month subscription price for Sling TV.
Sling TV was launched by Dish Network in January and doesn't stream content directly. Instead, it gives users access to live TV over the internet via a streaming device. Users can also watch any content that aired in the last three days. As Sling TV is officially showing live TV rather than streaming content, this announcement doesn't actually break Apple TV's exclusive deal announced at the Apple Watch event in March, but it's really only a matter of semantics.
Apple's exclusive HBO rights last for three months, but don't cover traditional pay-TV operators. Although Sling TV is not officially offering HBO Now, Apple's exclusivity is starting to feel a little less exclusive. For example, Sling TV customers will be able to watch new episodes of Game of Thrones at the exact same time as Apple TV viewers.
"HBO delivers hit shows and movies that TV viewers crave, and with this addition we're adding another heavy hitter to a lineup that includes ESPN, AMC, TNT and more," said Sling TV CEO Roger Lynch.
Dish Network didn't say exactly when the HBO offering will go live on Sling TV, but confirmed that it would be in time for the start of Game of Thrones, which debuts on April 12. For $20 per month, Sling TV subscribers get access to a range of channels that include the likes of ESPN, CNN, TNT, TBS, HGTV, The Travel Channel, Cartoon Network and the Disney Channel. There are already $5 add-on packages, including for kids TV or news that give you access to the likes of Disney Junior and Bloomberg TV.