Sling TV embeds local channels in UX on LG TVs

Sling has been working to address the local broadcast channel issue since its inception. (Sling)

Sling TV is positioning a new partnership with LG as a way for more Americans to cut the cord with cable companies.

Sling this week announced a feature that integrates free, local over-the-air (OTA) broadcast channels into the Sling TV guide on some 2020 LG smart televisions.

The average American household can receive up to 44 local OTA channels at no cost with an OTA antenna. The partnership with LG allows consumers to integrate those OTA channels on their Sling UX along with the more than 700 channels provided by Sling’s streaming TV service. 

"We're making it easier than ever to watch free local channels directly within the Sling TV app," said Jon Lin, vice president of product at Sling TV, in a statement.

Analyst Brett Sappington, vice president with Interpret, said in an email to FierceVideo, “Sling has been working to address the local broadcast channel issue since its inception. While other vMVPD services pay for carriage of local broadcast channels across markets, Sling’s strategy has been to focus on cable channels instead. This approach helps Sling limit costs and keep its prices down at a time when other vMVPDs are raising prices.”

However, Sappington added that this potentially puts Sling at a strategic disadvantage to rivals that carry those local broadcast channels. To mitigate this issue, Sling encourages customers to use a number of alternatives including its own AirTV streaming device, which provides some element of integration that allows users to see those channels in the Sling TV channel guide.

The LG announcement this week is another step to help Sling users more easily access local broadcast channels.

Sling and LG

With the LG TVs, consumers don’t need to switch inputs or applications.

The Sling-LG partnership provides a channel-tuning feature on all 2020 LG OLED and LG NanoCell TVs. It allows consumers to access their local broadcast networks, including ABC, CBS, FOX, NBC and PBS, directly within the Sling TV app for free when connected to an OTA antenna.

Owners of compatible LG smart TVs can simply connect an OTA antenna directly to their television and begin the one-time channel scanning process. Once Sling TV receives the tuner's signal, all available local channels will appear within the interface like any other channel. Consumers can further customize their Sling TV experience by filtering for local channels within the guide.

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Sling TV offers two general market streaming services, Sling Orange and Sling Blue. Current prices for either the Sling Blue or Sling Orange channel package are $30/month. Sling TV has been able to achieve this price consistency in part by not offering broadcast channels.

A previous version of this article incorrectly stated the average amount of local OTA television channels an American household can receive.