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Satellite television provider Dish has jumped into the cord-cutting ring with a new over-the-top streaming television service featuring a number of big-name broadcasters, possibly signaling that content owners are becoming more at ease with alternative distribution methods that could bolster Apple's own efforts.
Among those who have signed on for the $20-per-month service, according to Re/code, is canonical sports network ESPN. Live sports broadcasts are frequently cited as the biggest reason that potential cord-cutters do not make the switch, making the Worldwide Leader's participation — Â the first time it has made such an agreement — Â particularly noteworthy.
Joining ESPN are ESPN2, ABC Family, Adult Swim, Cartoon Network, CNN, Disney Channel, Food Network, HGTV, Maker, TBS, TNT, and Travel Channel. Other channels will eventually be offered as a la carte additions.
Dish has yet to reveal when consumers will be able to sign up for Sling TV, only that the roll out will come "soon." Users will be able to access the service on Macs and iOS devices, but the Apple TV remains unsupported, reportedly because Dish is unwilling to bend to Apple's design restrictions for Apple TV apps.
Apple was previously rumored to have begun negotiations with content owners, including ESPN, for a similar service that would be tied to a new Apple TV. Those negotiations are thought to have died, however, with the company now engaged in talks with cable companies, rather than rights holders.
"Cable companies remain reluctant to leave an opening for Apple, which they fear could displace them as the brand that customers associate with television delivery," a July 2014 report on Apple's plans said. "And they also remain committed to their own new devices and experiences."