There have been plenty of streaming TV options launched over the past few years, but one of those is now going away. That would be wireless provider T-Mobile’s TVision service, which was launched two years ago. As per Dade Hayes of Deadline, T-Mobile is cancelling that service as of April 29, and replacing it with $10 discounts for T-Mobile subscribers on alternative streaming services Philo (usually $20 a month) and YouTube TV (usually $65 a month).
TVision’s offerings are outlined in this October piece from The Verge, which falsely claimed that November 2020 was when the service was going to be launched (it had been around for more than a year at that point). Those offerings included a $10 per month TVision Vibe tier with around 30 channels, a $40 per month TVision Live news and sports tier (notably missing CBS), a $50 per month TVision Live Plus tier (also including Big Ten Network, ESPNU, NFL Network, and regional NBC sports channels), and a $60 per month Live Zone tier with NFL Red Zone. With this shutdown, existing TVision subscribers can get a free month of either Philo (which has lots of channels, but not sports-specific ones) or YouTube TV (which has a fair bit of sports-specific channels). Here’s more from a blog post on this change from T-Mobile CEO Mike Sievert, which notes that their new partner services offer more channels:
This is a big upgrade. YouTube TV offers more than twice as many channels as TVision Live, and Philo offers nearly twice as many channels as TVision VIBE. Plus customers of both get unlimited DVR, can watch TV on more devices like Roku, Amazon Fire TV, or Chromecast, and more. And just like previous TVision offerings, customers get these new services with no cable box, no annual contracts, no exploding bills, and no hidden fees. And they’ll still get T-Mobile’s team of thousands of friendly, knowledgeable mobile experts ready to help them cut the cord.
This shift may surprise some given last year’s TVision streaming services launch. But innovation seldom follows a straight line. Since launching the TVision initiative, we’ve learned a lot about the TV industry, about streaming products, and of course, about TV customers. We also saw trends that made us take a fresh look at how to best do in video what we always do: put customers first. With our TV software provider encountering some financial challenges and with our broader, strategic partnerships with Google and Philo, we saw an opportunity to deliver unique value to our customers and strengthen the TVision initiative with the best partners. This industry is incredibly fragmented, with new streaming services launching all the time, and we’ve concluded that we can add even more value to consumers’ TV choices by partnering with the best services out there, negotiating incredible streaming media deals for T-Mobile customers, and helping our customers navigate the increasingly complex streaming world.
We’ve always seen video as a critical ‘door-opener’ for our forthcoming Home Internet business, because, even today at the peak of cord cutting and streaming, most homes still buy entertainment and internet connectivity together — and the #1 thing people stream on their home internet connection is video. Our TVision brand and our TVision HUB device will play a central role in helping customers get the best of media in connection with our Home Internet service. And now, we’ll offer even better solutions to our customers with the combined strength of YouTube, Philo and more leading brands through future partnerships, because really – TV is better with friends!
It’s interesting to see the streaming TV space contract this way. And it’s notable to see T-Mobile change their plans from running their own TV services to partnering with existing services. We’ll see how this shakes out for them in the years ahead.