Sling TV has just told users that it's getting a big overhaul — and soon. This new look will give users a more customized experience that also looks better, and Amazon Fire TV is going to be where it comes first.
The news will hit individual users directly via a message that shows up when they boot up the Sling TV app on their Fire TV devices. You'll see a small sliver of a navigation screen with a message that starts with "We've been listening!" as if to say "you've been complaining, and we're finally sprucing things up." And this is just the kind of thing Sling needs to keep its rank as one of the best streaming services.
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This need for a change matches what we said in our Sling TV review: "Perhaps because it's been in the live TV streaming market for some time, Sling doesn't seem to have made updates to its interface to keep up with competitors. Fellow low-cost live TV service Philo is much slicker. The big guns, YouTube TV and Hulu With Live TV, both boast deep, rich experiences."
Sling's message continues "A simple, beautiful, more personalized TV experience is on the way. The all-new Sling app will be available on your device soon."
But how long will other devices (say, Roku devices or the Apple TV) have to wait? At the bottom of the message, it states "The new Sling app ... will be available on all devices later this year." When companies say "later this year," they often really mean "by the end of the year," as we saw when the new Fire TV interface took months to come to half of those streaming devices.
This is an interesting way to roll the new Sling app out, giving Fire TV users preferential treatment. The streaming platform wars have heated up as of late, and this gives the 50 million monthly active users on the platform something they don't get that often: something that Roku users don't have. Right now, Fire TV is still missing the Peacock streaming service, which we assume will be corrected by July's 2021 Olympics.
And while Roku has practically every app, Roku and Google's current spat took the YouTube TV app out of the Roku directory. Google responded by putting YouTube TV in the Roku YouTube app, and we haven't heard the last of this mini-war yet.