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T-Mobile intros three streaming TV services and an Android TV dongle
- T-Mobile is launching three TVision streaming services: Live, Vibe and Channels.
- It’s also introducing an Android TV dongle, the TVision Hub.
- Service starts November 1, but you’ll have to be a T-Mobile or Sprint customer.
T-Mobile is finally offering streaming TV services devoted to cord cutters, and there’s even some hardware in the bargain. The carrier has introduced three TVision branded offerings alongside a long-rumored Android TV dongle, the TVision Hub.
The first streaming service, TVision Live, is T-Mobile’s closest substitute for a typical cable TV package. The base Live TV offers 30-plus channels starting at $40 per month, with news and sports channels that include ESPN. Pay $50 per month for Live TV+ and you’ll get 10 extra channels that include regional sports as well as football and golf. If you’re deep into sports, the $60 per month Live Zone adds another 10 channels that include pro networks like NFL RedZone.
All three tiers offer up to three simultaneous streams, 100 hours of cloud DVR recording, and 10,000-plus shows on demand.
TVision Vibe, meanwhile, is aimed at viewers who aren’t interested in sports but still want the essentials. It’s available for $10 per month and includes over 30 live channels, such as AMC and TLC. Vibe supports two simultaneous streams, but you’ll have to pay $5 extra per month if you want the 100 hours of cloud DVR storage.
TVision Channels is T-Mobile’s equivalent to Amazon’s Prime Video Channels and Apple TV Channels — that is, a gateway to third-party streaming services. You can add services like Epix, Showtime and Starz (more are on the way) while using one app and sign-in to watch everything. Subscriptions start at $6 per month, and you don’t need one of the live TV packages.
As for the Android TV dongle? The TVision Hub (above) is a $50 device that includes a “familiar” show guide as well as Google Assistant voice control for media and your smart home. T-Mobile didn’t outline every aspect of the Hub’s performance, but it does support 4K.
You won’t need the dongle to try T-Mobile’s service. It’ll support third-party Android TV hardware like the new Google Chromecast, regular Android devices, Amazon’s Fire TV, iPhones, iPads, and Apple TV.
Read more: The best live streaming TV services
There is one major catch to all of this, though: you’ll need to be a T-Mobile customer at first. All the TVision services and the Hub dongle will be available only to T-Mobile’s postpaid subscribers when they launch on November 1. Sprint customers will get access on November 13. and prepaid users will have to wait until 2021. T-Mobile said TVision’s services will be available for anyone “over time,” but the initial focus is clearly on locking customers into bundles with their phone service.
It’s difficult to say how well TVision Live compares to rivals without the full channel lineup, but the pricing is at least competitive with lower-cost streaming services like Sling TV and below pricier choices like AT&T TV Now ($60 per month) and YouTube TV ($65 per month). The limited platform support may be an issue, though. You won’t find the new TVision options on Roku, smart TV platforms or consoles in its early incarnation, and that could be a dealbreaker if you don’t have a Google- or Apple-centric household.