TVision Home will be available starting April 14 in eight markets (the same areas Layer3 TV has already been available): Chicago, Dallas-Fort Worth, Los Angeles, New York City, Philadelphia, San Francisco, Washington D.C., and Longmont, Colo.
It’s not a skinny bundle: TVision Home starts at $90 per month, which includes more than 150 channels, local broadcast stations and regional sports networks, as well as 15,000 VOD titles. Premium TV packages like HBO and Showtime are extra. In addition, TVision Home users must pay a $10 monthly set-top fee per connected TV. (Actually, the regular price of TVision Home for non-T-Mobile wireless customers is $99.99 per month, but the carrier is including a $9.99-per-month discount to all new subs for a limited time.)
Overall, it’s not really a better deal than traditional cable or satellite TV, despite T-Mobile’s rhetoric about bringing competition to incumbent pay-TV providers.
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In a special promo targeting satellite TV providers, T-Mobile is offering to pay contract-termination fees for Dish Network and DirecTV customers with up to $500 via prepaid card, when they switch to TVision Home.
Channels available in TVision Home’s base package include ABC, CBS, Fox and NBC as well as cable networks including ESPN, AMC, A&E, CNN, CNBC, TBS, TNT, Food Network, MTV, Comedy Central, E!, Bravo, Freeform, Disney Channel, History, BET, HGTV, FX, Fox Sports, Nickelodeon, TLC, Syfy and USA.
Out of the gate, the revamped TVision Home will include apps for internet services Pandora, iHeartRadio, Xumo, CuriosityStream, Toon Goggles and HSN. Other apps to be available later in 2019 — in addition to Amazon Prime Video — include Netflix, YouTube, and YouTube Kids. T-Mobile also said it plans to release a companion app for iOS and Android, to let TVision Home customers to stream all their TV to a mobile device but only inside their home, because of rights restrictions.
Subscription services like Netflix and Prime Video aren’t included in the TVision Home monthly price: Users must pay for those separately.
TVision Home is a rebuild of the over-the-top TV service from startup Layer3 TV, which T-Mobile acquired in late 2017 for about $325 million. With the Layer3 team and technology, the carrier has been building what it has touted as “its first wave of home and mobile TV offerings” — which T-Mobile previously had planned to debut by the end of 2018.
Separately, T-Mobile also is prepping a separate suite of wireless nationwide streaming services, slated to debut later in 2019, after announcing Viacom as its first programming partner last week.
Like other OTT services, TVision Home requires an existing wired broadband connection today. According to T-Mobile, TVision Home is “designed for a 5G future where wireless broadband can replace your home internet.” The carrier’s 5G buildout plans — if its pending acquisition of Sprint is gets regulatory approvall — will deliver high-speed wireless service to more than half of U.S. households by 2024.
T-Mobile touted TVision Home’s “AI-driven” personalized user interface that learns your preferences based on viewing patterns, as well as an individual profile, home screen, and DVR section for multiple members of the household. The service’s DVR provides 1 terabyte of storage, enough for over 400 hours of content.
Other features of TVision Home: Users can access Facebook videos and picture; check Twitter; voice controls via integration with Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant; and compatibility with home-security systems’ security cameras.
Also, while TVision Home requires a set-top box today, T-Mobile says it will eventually be available as an app on connected-TV devices.