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Sling Freestream unveils cloud DVR feature

Streamers will be able to record 10 hours of free, ad-supported content without cost.

Streamers will be able to record 10 hours of free, ad-supported content without cost.

The electronic program guide for Dish Network's free television service Sling Freestream. (Graphic by The Desk)
The electronic program guide for Dish Network’s free television service Sling Freestream. (Graphic by The Desk)

Dish Network has formally announced a new cloud DVR feature for its free, ad-supported streaming platform Sling Freestream.

The feature, which became available to some Sling Freestream users last month, allows TV fans and film buffs to record 10 hours of free streaming content from over 500 content streams available on the service.

“We are giving our customers exactly what they are asking for,” Gary Schanman, the Executive Vice president and Group President at Dish Video Services, said on Tuesday. “The new DVR feature for Sling Freestream is going to give subscribers even more choice and access — they can watch their favorite programming on their terms, when it works for them.”

Sling Freestream uses the same app as Dish Network’s pay service Sling TV, making free, ad-supported content instantly available on streaming TV platforms like Roku, Amazon Fire TV, Apple TV and Android TV (Google TV), as well as on phones, tablets and computers.

The service offers a mixture of general entertainment, lifestyle, knowledge, news and sports programming across channels like Architectural Digest TV, USA Today, Stories by AMC, FilmRise Comedy, Cinevault, The Grio, Barstool Sports, CBS News and more.

Sling Freestream is not the first platform to couple a cloud DVR with free, ad-supported streaming channels: The wallet-friendly streaming service Philo offers something similar, though it requires a subscription to Philo’s base programming package, which costs $25 per month.

By comparison, Sling Freestream honors the “free” in “free, ad-supported channels” — the service doesn’t require users to put a credit card on file, nor does it require registration to view free streaming channels (though users are required to register an account to record them).

“Our goal is to continue to lead the industry with innovative ways to provide more in the FAST space, making sure our customers have access to a premium experience as well as an unparalleled amount of free live sports, news and entertainment,” Schanman said.

Sling Freestream also offers premium subscriptions to services like AMC Plus and MGM Plus as a separate purchase, but without the need to subscribe to a base programming package of channels — though if users do want live cable channels like CNN, Fox News, TBS, TNT or Comedy Central, they can upgrade to Sling TV, which starts at $40 per month.

“We are going to continue to look at ways to make the Sling Freestream user experience even better throughout 2024,” Schanman affirmed. “Just because a streaming service is free doesn’t mean users shouldn’t have access to the features a paid service provides.”

Streamers can watch live content from Sling Freestream by clicking or tapping here.


Editor’s note: An earlier version of this story erroneously said Sling Freestream users did not have to sign up for an account to watch or record live channels. A spokesperson for Dish Network clarified that an account is required to record content from free streaming channels, but not to watch them.

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About the Author:

Matthew Keys

Matthew Keys is a nationally-recognized, award-winning journalist who has covered the business of media, technology, radio and television for more than 11 years. He is the publisher of The Desk and contributes to Know Techie, Digital Content Next and StreamTV Insider. He previously worked for Thomson Reuters, the Walt Disney Company, McNaughton Newspapers and Tribune Broadcasting.
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