(Pocket-lint) - ESPN+ is finally here.
Disney's sports product is a direct-to-consumer subscription video service for all you MLB and NHL sports fans. There’s no separate app to install on your device; it's all within the ESPN app that's available. Here's what you need to know about it.
What is ESPN+?
ESPN+ is ESPN's video streaming service.
Owned by Disney, it's overseen by the company's BAMTech unit, which is behind other popular video apps from the likes of HBO, WWE, and others.
ESPN still makes a lot of money off affiliate fees, despite opening up to streaming a bit more. It charges cable providers, such as Comcast, Charter, Spectrum, Verizon, DirecTV, etc, and it likely does not want to risk cannibalising the main ESPN network for the sake of appeasing cord cutters.
How much does ESPN+ cost?
ESPN+ costs $5.99 a month ($59.99, if you pay annually).
You can also access it by buying a Disney bundle, which gets you EPSN+, Hulu and Disney+ access in one package, priced at $13.99 monthly, which represents a solid saving if you'd be subscribing to each anyway.
Where and how can you watch ESPN+?
The new ESPN+ service is not a standalone app. It lives inside the existing ESPN app, which is available on a range of devices, including smartphones, game consoles, and streaming TV boxes and players. At launch, ESPN+ worked on Android devices, iOS devices, Apple TV, Chromecast, Fire TV, and the web. Go to ESPN's FAQ page here to view the full list of currently supported devices.
How does ESPN+ work?
Purchase a ESPN+ subscription
A subscription to ESPN+ is available to buy via the ESPN app and ESPN.com. You can only access ESPN+ content after you have subscribed. Log in using your current ESPN account or create a new account via the ESPN app or from the web (here). You'll be prompted to log in or create a new account when buying a subscription. Note: the ESPN app itself is still free. You still get all the same news, highlights, etc.
Look for Gold icon and Watch tab
The entire ESPN app was redone with a card-based-like UI a couple years back, complete with rounded corners and cool transitions and effects. You'll get relevant news, smarter video recommendations, and more. You'll also see ESPN+ highlighted prominently throughout the app.
That's because all ESPN+ content is designated in the refreshed ESPN app with a gold icon, so you can easily see that it’s available with your subscription. ESPN has a revamped Watch tab, too, which has a new black background (whereas all other tabs are light). It's where you'll go to access free highlights, livestreams from ESPN channels (pay TV customers only), and ESPN+ content, which has its own section.
What content does ESPN+ offer?
ESPN+ promises to offer live games, studio series, and original programs.
ESPN+ streams “thousands” of hours of live games, though mostly for niche stuff. You'll find live soccer, boxing, golf, tennis, rugby, cricket, and several college sports. You can also add on packages like MLB.TV or NHL.TV packages for more money.
Original programming and studio shows
Yes, ESPN+ has live events, like for Major League Soccer, but it also has original programming, exclusive studio shows, and a deep catalogue of content (including titles like E:60 and OJ: Made in America).
Series and films
ESPN+ is also the only place you’ll find the entire archive of the 30 for 30 documentary film series.
What content doesn't ESPN+ offer?
NFL and NBA
Disney's new ESPN+ service is not a replacement for ESPN. It'll complement the cable channel, which is home to SportsCenter and live games from all the major pro leagues. For instance, the new streaming service does not stream live NFL games, live NBA games, and no Sunday Night Baseball. But you do get one free MLB and NHL game every day (when they’re in season, and they're subject to blackout rules).
What quality are ESPN+ streams?
ESPN+ video streams in high definition at 60 frames per second.
Can you have multiple ESPN+ streams?
Five simultaneous streams are allowed per ESPN+ account.
Plus, as a subscriber, you can pause, rewind, or restart anything you’re watching live through ESPN+.
Does ESPN+ have any ads?
You’ll get no display advertisements on ESPN+, and that includes no pre-roll or post-roll adverts. It’s essentially like YouTube Red, but for ESPN, though you will still see commercials when watching live events, of course.
Where is ESPN+ available?
ESPN+ is currently only available in the US.
Want to know more?
Check out the ESPN+ FAQ hub.