Sling TV Users Finding Some Shows Are Now Being Blocked From Streaming

TV production and distribution is a complicated entanglement of interests involving studios, distributors, networks, and pay-TV services, not to mention deals any of these people might have with other companies like home video or on-demand streaming sites. That’s been one of the huge impediments to getting live-streaming of all TV content — having to please all those parties who may not all agree. And that appears to be why Sling TV users are now finding that they can’t access every show on all of the networks.

Some Sling users have taken to this reddit thread to discuss why they unable to watch Criminal Minds reruns on A&E, or why certain movies are not available on Lifetime and other channels in the Sling lineup.

“Due to rights restrictions, this content cannot be streamed on Sling TV,” reads the message that users get when trying to watch these shows.

Even though Sling has only been widely available since early February, we’d heard no reports of rights restrictions until very recently, after A&E and its handful of channels joined the service.

This is most likely due to the fact that A&E and Lifetime allow Sling users to employ the service’s quasi-DVR function that lets you watch programming that has recently aired. Many of Sling’s biggest names, including ESPN, TNT, Disney, and TBS, only allow viewing of the live stream; no pausing or rewinding and no on-demand archive.

Some blame CBS and its history of antipathy toward Dish for keeping Criminal Minds off Sling, but the more likely reason is the show’s current deal with Netflix, which carries the first nine seasons of the show. It’s possible that allowing Sling users to rewind CI episodes might put them into a category that conflicts with the Netflix agreement.

Other shows that some users say are being blocked include some episodes of A&E’s Intervention and at least one Lifetime original movie. Again, Netflix currently airs a handful of Intervention episodes, and recently added a large number of Lifetime movies.

A rep for Sling confirmed the blackouts on A&E and Lifetime to TechHive, but said that “when possible, these channels will offer other programming in place of the restricted content.”

[via FierceCable]

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