Can Cord Cutters Have It All?

By Karen Fratti Comment

wiresSling TV announced this morning that it will now be available on XBox One and that it’s adding content from A+E Networks towards the end of March. A+E’s Lifetime, History, A&E, and H2 will be incorporated into the “Best of Live TV” core package.

There will be two new add on packs, “Lifestyle Extra,” and “World News Extra,” incorporating the new content that customers can add for $5 a month, in addition to the $20 for the “core package.” They feature “truTV, Cooking Channel, DIY and WE tv, with A+E Networks’ FYI and LMN coming soon, while the “World News Extra” features Bloomberg TV, HLN, Euro News, France 24, NDTV 24/7, News 18 and Russia Today.”

The two new packs replace the current “News and Info Extra” that included some of the same content. Sling TV CEO Roger Lynch notes that:

After only six weeks in market, we’re working towards nearly doubling the size of our ‘Best of Live TV’ core package while preserving our attractive $20 price point. With the upcoming arrival of A+E Networks’ highly-rated content, Sling TV will soon include 20 networks for just $20 per month…With the launch of ‘Lifestyle Extra’ and ‘World News Extra,’ our customers can now choose from a total of five add-on packs to better customize their Sling TV experience based on their viewing preferences.

This is a new kind of bundling — you get a package of the big cable channels you may or may not want and can add on some extras if you’re into it, but probably including some channels you don’t want, but might end up watching. Apple announced this morning that it’s own OTT service will be available this coming fall. And they want the big channels. The Wall Street Journal reports:

Meanwhile, Apple has been talking to Walt Disney Co., CBS Corp., and 21st Century Fox Inc., among other media companies. The idea is to offer consumers a “skinny” bundle with well-known channels like CBS, ESPN and FX, while leaving out the many smaller networks in the standard cable TV package.

Being the launch partner of HBO Now helps, though they are having trouble getting into talks with NBC Universal, after a “falling out” with Comcast over launching a streaming service last year. Apple’s would cost about $30-40, according to reports this morning, which is about what Sling costs if you add on their packages to round out their menu. But is it really a deal? Brian Stelter writes over at CNN Money:

And therein lies the rub: companies that sell both TV and broadband, like Comcast, already offer significant discounts to households that sign up for both. Would an Apple bundle of TV channels plus a broadband connection from some other company really be much cheaper? And what’s to stop broadband providers from hiking the cost of Internet access in order to make up for lost cable TV customers? Of course, when Apple pitches new products, it’s typically more about innovation than about price.

When it comes to “virtual cable,” there’s still no great way to get everything you want, and only what you want. But maybe we’re not supposed to ‘have it all.’