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DirecTV Finally Launches WatchESPN, Other Disney and ABC Internet-Video Services

DirecTV subs can at long last access WatchESPN — the sports programmer’s Internet streaming-video service, launched more than four years ago — along with other Disney and ABC digital-video services.

The No. 1 satcaster’s activation of the Mouse House’s TV Everywhere services follows the omnibus deal it reached with Disney/ESPN in December. The fact that DirecTV is just now adding WatchESPN, which debuted in October 2010, illustrates how slowly the gears churn in the pay-TV biz.

As of Thursday, according to DirecTV and Disney, the satellite broadcaster’s 20.4 million U.S. customers now have access to WatchESPN, Watch ABC, Watch ABC Family, Watch Disney Channel, Watch Disney Junior and Watch Disney XD services. Each of those provides live and on-demand news, entertainment and sports programming on computers, smartphones, tablets, gaming consoles and other connected devices.

Under the multiyear distribution deal, DirecTV customers can watch live network streams of ABC local stations, currently available in eight markets: New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Chicago, Houston, Philadelphia, Fresno, Calif., and Raleigh-Durham, N.C.

Additionally, live events and programming from ESPN networks — including ESPN, ESPN2, ESPN3, ESPNU, ESPNews, ESPN Deportes, Longhorn Network, SEC Network and SEC Network+ — are now accessible to DirecTV subs. ESPN Goal Line and ESPN Buzzer Beater will also be available on WatchESPN when those channels are in season.

In addition to live streaming, DirecTV customers now are authorized to watch current episodes of ABC and ABC Family original series the day after they air online at ABC.com and ABCFamily.com or on smartphones and tablets via Watch ABC and Watch ABC Family apps for iOS, Android and Windows. Watch ABC is also accessible on Apple TV and Google Chromecast.

To access WatchESPN, DirecTV customers can log in via WatchESPN.com on their computers for live access to ESPN networks, or via apps on Apple’s iTunes App Store, Google Play Store, Amazon Appstore or Windows Store. WatchESPN live programming and on-demand clips are also available on Amazon Fire TV and Fire TV Stick, Apple TV, Chromecast, Roku, and Microsoft’s Xbox 360 and Xbox One.

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