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ESPN Plus streaming service launches, offers "thousands" of live events for $5 per month
- ESPN has updated its Android app to integrate its new streaming service.
- The service offers a variety of sports and original content to subscribers for $5 a month.
- As part of launch week festivities, the company is offering a 30-day free trial to users.
ESPN has finally launched its ESPN Plus (ESPN+) streaming service, giving users a way to watch sports without having a cable TV subscription. The service arrived in an update to the ESPN app that also included a design overhaul.
The new service sits alongside the news and TV Everywhere services for pay TV subscribers — but should you hop on the Plus bandwagon?
For $4.99 a month or $49.99 a year, you’ll get MLB, NHL, the 30 for 30 series, boxing, soccer, college sports, PGA Tour Golf and Grand Slam Tennis, to name a few. ESPN says the service will offer “thousands of live events,” but you won’t find the NBA or NFL here.
ESPN adds that the service is compatible with Android phones, Android TV and Chromecast (in addition to iOS, Apple TV and Amazon’s Fire TV and tablet devices).
Before you hit the “subscribe” button, the broadcaster notes some gaps in coverage. For example, cricket coverage is limited to New Zealand Cricket and Cricket Ireland coverage, while rugby is confined to “SANZAAR Rugby, the HSBC World Rugby Sevens series, and Major League Rugby.” It looks like the service is targetting a more niche sports fan market, so your mileage may vary.
The company adds that streaming is “high-definition, 60 frames per second.” Will it be 720p/60fps playback, or 1080p/60fps? We’ve asked the company for details in this regard and will update the story when we receive a response. Update: ESPN has clarified the streaming quality: “Currently it is 720p at 60fps, and dynamically adaptive bit rate encoding. Because sports have high levels of motion, the higher frames provide crisper images and less blur. We do not provide the option to change the frame rate at this time.”
The update is available now via the Play Store. ESPN adds that a 30-day free trial is on offer for the first week (April 12-18), dropping to a seven-day trial thereafter.