T-Mobile is getting into the live TV streaming business. The carrier has introduced TVision, a new subscription-based service that gives customers access to live television channels found on cable. It’s the same principal as something like YouTube TV or Hulu with Live TV. In other words, the carrier still isn’t taking advantage of its deal with Layer3 from 2017 which gave it fiber optic-based IPTV tech. TVision, instead, is strictly streamed right to the web.
TVision’s structuring is a bit wonky, so here’s a breakdown.
- Live: TVision Live is the primary package you’ll be subscribing to which gives you access to local stations like NBC, ABC, and Fox (no CBS, though) and your favorite cable channels like Bravo, E!, FX, TBS, Syfy, TNT, USA, National Geographic, and TruTV. It’s broken into three price tiers depending on your budget and amount of channels you want.
- Live TV: TVision Live TV is the starting package that gets you over 30 channels for $40 per month.
- Live TV+: This is a step up that gets you everything in Live TV plus over 10 extra channels (with a majority focused on sports) for $50/month.
- Live Zone: Finally, there’s TVision Live Zon which gets you everything in Live TV+ alongside over 10 extra channels also focused on sports. Notably, NFL RedZone is included in this package.
- Vibe: TVision Vibe adds on an additional 30+ channels to your Live package of choice which cover genres like comedy, drama, and lifestyle. This translates to channels like Travel Channel, TLC, Food Network, Nickelodeon, BET, CMT, Comedy Central, Hallmark Channel, HGTV, MTV, Paramount Network, Investigation Discovery, and more It’s an extra $10/month.
- Channels: Rounding things off is TVision Channels. This lets you subscribe to Starz ($8.99/month), Showtime ($10.99/month), and/or Epix ($5.99/month).
According to T-Mobile, all TVision Live packages include up to 100 hours of cloud-stored recorded shows. With the right package, you can also get up to three concurrent streams so you can share your subscription with others. With TVision Vibe, you only get two concurrent streams, and DVR access costs another $5/month. I think getting a Live package with Vibe on top of it makes the most sense, but it’s your call.
TVision will be available on Apple TV, Amazon Fire TV, Android TV, and Google TV at launch. It isn’t clear if a Roku app is on its way, nor is there any known way to stream content from your subscription on a computer. I suppose that functionality will be added down the road. The carrier will also sell its own $50 TVision Hub dongle that runs Android TV.
All in all, this sounds like a solid offering from the Uncarrier as it tries to get its foot in the door in the live TV streaming business. Whether they’ll be able to keep the prices down over time remains to be seen since almost every TV subscription service has been subject to a price hike at some point due to rising licensing costs from content providers. Still, at least for now, TVision seems like an appealing contender.
T-Mobile is giving its postpaid wireless customers first dibs on TVision beginning November 1st. After that, Spring customers will gain access. Then, sometime in 2021, everyone will be able to subscribe.