Early Sling TV reviews: Technologically solid, but the programming is for geezers

Dish Network (NASDAQ: DISH) made its new over-the-top streaming service, Sling TV, available for select tech bloggers and media journalists last week, who seemed to arrive at rather unified conclusions: The technology works great, but the programming is not going to appeal to millennial-aged consumers.

ESPN on Sling TV

ESPN is one of Sling TV's standard package channels. (Source: Dish Network)

"As a millennial who's never paid for cable TV … Sling TV would argue that I am the primary target for their product," writes Ars Technica's Megan Geuss. "But after watching just a few hours of Sling TV, I remembered why I never wanted to pay for TV in the first place. Here's the thing--millennials and cord cutters alike don't want channels, they want shows.

"What I'm saying is, I'm a cord cutter because I don't want to pay for crap I'm not interested in watching," Geuss adds. "Sling TV works well, its UI is uncomplicated and responsive, and by all respects, Dish hit the operational bulls-eye. But I don't know if folks liberated from their cable agreements will care about Sling TV if there's not really good programming to pay for."

Geuss referenced a post written by Deadline Hollywood's David Lieberman a week ago, which tallied the median age of Sling TV's 12 basic networks to be 48 years old.

In fact, across publications much less dissonant to the pay-TV business than tech blogs like Ars, the conclusion was largely the same. For example, Multichannel News' Jeff Baumgartner wrote, "While the variety of programming packages offered therein will need to evolve and expand to ensure that they can appeal to different segments of this small but growing group of consumers, I found that the technology underpinning Sling TV to be solid and reliable, backed up by a slick user interface that is easy to learn and navigate."

Dish will begin inviting select groups of consumers to try the service starting Tuesday, Jan. 27.

For more:
- read this Ars Technica story
- read this Multichannel News story
- read this story from The Verge

Related links:
Targeting millennials? Median age of Sling TV programming is 48
Dish's Sling TV sweeps major 'Best of CES' awards
Ergen dangerously hops onto the pay-TV bashing bandwagon
Dish unveils $20 per month OTT service called Sling TV