Disney kicks off video streaming push with ESPN+

New ESPN Service Tries to Catch Streaming Wave

Officially announced in February, the new direct-to-consumer subscription streaming service offers sports fans a dynamic lineup of live sports, original content, and on-demand programming.

ESPN+ has been launched and will cost you $5 a month.

ESPN is launching a new streaming service that will test the sports juggernaut's ability to appeal to customers who don't want to pay for cable without losing the business of those who do. ESPN+ is now live and it's the first digital streaming service from Disney as it looks to become a major player in the online video streaming arena. The service will have more than 180 MLB and NHL games during the season, including one per day based on the league's schedule.

While Disney and ESPN have been previewing ESPN+ for a while now, and released numerous content details last week, they also brought reporters to ESPN's Bristol, Connecticut headquarters to lay out their vision and show off the app. The service offers HD streaming at 60 frames per second with DVR-like playback controls. However, you should note that its offering is not similar to the ESPN we are all familiar with. BYU locked in an extension with ESPN through 2019, for one, and the app will broadcast "football, basketball, baseball, softball, soccer, track and field, gymnastics, swimming and diving, lacrosse, wrestling, volleyball, golf and more" from 20 different conferences, according to the press release.

Bryant will debut his new National Basketball Association analysis show "Detail: From the Mind of Kobe Bryant" when ESPN+ officially goes online Thursday.

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Besides "Detail", other original content available on ESPN+ on launch day includes "The Last Days of Knight", a 30 for 30 documentary about former IN coach Bobby Knight's fall from grace.

"The company doesn't think ESPN+ will put a real dent in ESPN's ongoing subscriber losses", wrote Recode reporter Peter Kafka. The app will still provide sports scores, news and analysis, video highlights, and audio (both live and on-demand).

"We spent a good deal of time on personalization - getting the right content to the right consumer at the right time", he said.

To ensure the ESPN app is updated, the automatic update mode must be activated on Apple TV devices by going to Settings Apps and making sure the "Automatically Update Apps" setting is turned "On".

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