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Sling TV Touts Native Integration into Google TV

Sling TV on Google TV
(Image credit: Future)

After admittedly “stumbling” with the execution of the Sling TV user experience since the platform launched back in 2015, Dish Network is working quickly to catch up. 

In the latest signal of progress, Dish said Tuesday that Sling TV is now natively integrated into Google TV, and new search-and-recommendation overlay to the Android TV operating system.

Starting this week, users of Google TV devices, who subscribe to Sling TV and have linked the Sling TV app to their Google account, will see a new “Live” tab emerge on the top-line menu of their home screen, to the right of the “For You” tab.

This Live tab, which was previously only available to YouTube TV subscribers,  will now also let users access their Sling TV programming without going into the app. Under the new configuration, Sling TV programming will also show up in the recommendations surfaced under the “For You” tab.

Notable: Our Sling TV app was already linked to our Google account. Our Chromecast with Google TV device is up to date, and we rebooted it, but the “Live” tab and Sling TV integration never surfaced. A number of tech bloggers have kicked the tires on Sling TV’s announced integration into Google TV already and found it work just fine. 

Perhaps the update hasn't arrived for us yet?

“The integration is rolling out to Google TV devices throughout the next week. As the rollout just launched, it is currently only available on select devices. But you should see the integration on your device within the next several days,” a Sling TV rep told us. 

It’s unclear how widely adopted Google TV is, having debuted last October with the introduction of Google's latest Chromecast device. In terms of third-party tech, Nvidia and Xiaomi have integrated the Google TV overlay into certain Android TV-based streaming players, and Sony and TCL have put into their Android TV-powered smart TV products. 

Google has plans over the next few years go migrate the broader installed base of third-party Android TV gadgets to Google TV. And with Walmart now selling its own line of Android TV connected TV players, that installed base is growing. 

As for Sling TV, its notoriously clunky app is often faulted for undermining the business potential of the Sling platform, which was the first vMVPD to launch back in February 2015. 

Sling TV is now the No. 3 ranked vMVPD behind Hulu + Live TV and YouTube TV. Finishing the first quarter with 2.374 million subscribers, its growth has mostly stagnated over the past three years. 

In fact, in a ranking of streaming services published today by the American Consumer Satisfaction Index, Sling TV placed near the bottom

However, a technology refresh is afoot, with Sling TV debuting in bet last month a reimagined app for Amazon Fire TV.