T-Mobile Dropping Branded Online TV Service; Adding YouTube TV, Philo

Wireless carrier T-Mobile’s attempt at a standalone ad-supported online TV service is coming to an end. The carrier March 29 announced it will discontinue TVision on April 29 — about six months after launching — and replace it with discounted access to Google-owned YouTube TV and Philo.

T-Mobile customers get YouTube TV, starting at $54.99 per month ($10 off SRP), and Philo starting at $10 per month ($10 off SRP). YouTube TV offers more than twice as many channels as TVision Live, and Philo offers nearly twice as many channels as TVision VIBE. Plus customers of both get unlimited DVR, can watch TV on more devices like Roku, Amazon Fire TV, or Google Chromecast.

T-Mobile CEO Mike Sievert

“This shift may surprise some given last year’s TVision streaming services launch,” Mike Sievert, CEO of T-Mobile U.S., said in a statement. “But innovation seldom follows a straight line. Since launching the TVision initiative, we’ve learned a lot about the TV industry, about streaming products, and of course, about TV customers. We also saw trends that made us take a fresh look at how to best do in video what we always do: put customers first. With our TV software provider encountering some financial challenges and with our broader, strategic partnerships with Google and Philo, we saw an opportunity to deliver unique value to our customers and strengthen the TVision initiative with the best partners.”

The online TV market is currently spearheaded by Disney-owned Hulu + Live TV with about 4 million subscribers, followed by Dish Network’s Sling TV and AT&T TV.

“This industry is incredibly fragmented, with new streaming services launching all the time, and we’ve concluded that we can add even more value to consumers’ TV choices by partnering with the best services out there, negotiating incredible streaming media deals for T-Mobile customers, and helping our customers navigate the increasingly complex streaming world,” Sievert said.

 

 

 

Discovery CEO Disputes T-Mobile’s Online TV Service Distribution

David Zaslav, CEO of Discovery, Nov. 5 reiterated his concern about T-Mobile’s recently launched online TV platform, TVision, and its distribution of Discovery Channel, Food Network, HGTV and TLC. The entry-level service offers 30 channels, including AMC Networks, Animal Planet; BBC America; BBC World News; BET; BET Her; CMT, and Comedy Central, among others.

Speaking on a fiscal call, Zaslav questioned why TVision, which launched in late October offering online TV subscription packages priced from $10 to $60 monthly, only carries the Discovery platforms on the lowest-priced option, TVision Vibe.

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“We were very surprised with how T-Mobile decided that they were going to bundle our networks, particularly because we have a clear agreement where our networks are required to be carried on all their … OTT offerings,” Zaslav said.

Discovery, like all pay-TV channels, is looking to expand distribution as the linear TV business model contracts and consumers migrate to less-expensive over-the-top video content. The company is set to launch its own branded SVOD platform, Discovery+, some time next year — and likely priced higher than $10 a month.

“So let’s just characterize it this way: We’re in active discussion with them to quickly resolve that issue,” Zaslav said. “We don’t believe they have the right to do what they’re doing right now. And they know. It’s very clear to them and they’re focused on it.”

 

T-Mobile Launches TVision Live Streaming Service

T-Mobile is targeting cord-cutters with TVision, a new live streaming service starting at $10 a month and launching Nov. 1.

“With TVision, you can cut the cord, cut the cost and cut the crap,” said Dow Draper, T-Mobile EVP of emerging products, who announced the move in a webcast.

TVision Live includes live news, sports, 100 hours of cloud DVR and more than 10,000 programs on-demand starting at $40 a month. It includes ABC, Fox, NBC, Turner, ESPN and more.

TVision Live TV+ includes all of the above, plus 10-plus more channels, including the NFL Network, ESPNU, SEC Network and The Golf Channel, at $50 a month.

TVision Live Zone, for sports fans at $60 a month, includes all of the above, plus 10 additional channels, including NFL Red Zone.

TVision Vibe, at $10 a month, includes live and on-demand programming from AMC, BET, Discovery, Food Network, Hallmark, HGTV, MTV, TLC and more (30-plus channels).

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TVision Channels features a-la-carte streaming services with one bill, one login and one place to manage it in the T-Mobile app or online, starting with Starz, Showtime and Epix.

For full channel lineups, visit T-Mobile.com/TVision.

Starting Nov. 1, customers who sign up for TVision Live TV+ or Live Zone packages by Dec. 31 will get Apple TV+ for free for a year, plus the option to add Apple TV 4K for $99.

TVision streaming services and the TVision Hub will be available nationwide for T-Mobile postpaid customers. Later in November, TVision services will be available to legacy Sprint customers and next year to prepaid customers.

The streaming services are available via Android and Apple mobile devices via the T-Mobile TVision app; on Apple TV, Amazon Fire TV, Android TV or Google TV using the TVision app; and the TVision Hub — an HDMI streaming device and remote for $50.

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T-Mobile Launching Online TV Platform

T-Mobile April 10 bowed “TVision Home,” a rebranded version of Layer3 TV launching April 14 in Chicago, Dallas-Fort Worth, Los Angeles, New York City, Philadelphia, San Francisco, and Washington, D.C. metro areas, as well as Longmont, Co., with other markets coming later this year.

The platform bows at $90/month (including a $9.99/month discount for T-Mobile customers … but available to everyone for a limited time), which includes 150+ channels, local broadcast, regional sports and more. Plus $10/month per connected TV, including DVR for a limited time.

Premium TV packages – like HBO, Showtime and others – or transactional VOD and digital movie/TV show purchases are extra.

T-Mobile is joining a crowded online TV market created in 2015 by Dish Network’s Sling TV. Other players include DirecTV Now, PlayStation Vue, YouTube TV, Charter Spectrum Plus, Fubo TV, Hulu with Live TV, Philo and AT&T Watch TV.

T-Mobile, which inked a content deal with Viacom last week, said Netflix and other streaming apps will be available on the platform.

To generate buzz, the telecom is offering to pay off early contract termination fees for Dish and DirecTV customers, up to $500 via prepaid card, when they switch to TVision Home.

“Today’s news brings us one step closer to taking on big cable,” CEO John Legere said in a statement.

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TVision Home claims “the most” 4K channels as part of more than 275 available channels, 35,000 on-demand movies, TV shows in addition to on-screen social content, personalized home screen, 1 terabyte DVR storage, smart speaker voice control with Amazon Alexa or Google Assistant.

Apps at launch include Pandora, iHeartRadio, XUMO, CuriosityStream, Toon Goggles, HSN, Netflix, YouTube, YouTube Kids. T-Mobile will soon release a companion app for iOS and Android, allowing users to stream content to a smartphone anywhere in the house.

TVision Home is part of T-Mobile’s forward 5G strategy that starts with the Sprint merger – pending regulatory approval.

Claiming that almost half of the country’s households, and more than 76% of rural households have no high-speed service (100 Mbps average), T-Mobile claims that if the merger is approved, the combined company will have the scale and capacity to create a supercharged 5G network capable of reaching over half the country’s households with high-speed broadband by 2024.

“TVision Home is about so much more than home TV… it’s TV built for the 5G era,” said COO Mike Sievert. “With New T-Mobile, we’ll bring real choice, competition, better service, lower prices and faster speeds…right into your living room.