The WWE Network 2014 channel has launched online as of Monday, Feb. 24, with gadgets such as the popular Roku streaming media device, Apple TV and PlayStation 3 among the items carrying pro wrestling content. Fans have been able to sign up for a free one week trial subscription or purchase the monthly subscription package on WWE's website, and get started watching programs available on the network. The channel's launch will bring forth a brand new pre-show for WWE Raw followed by a "Backstage Pass" on the same night that Hulk Hogan is scheduled to return to WWE.
On Monday Feb. 24, Deadline.com reported that the launch of the new network was not without its share of technical problems in the early going. The article cites that WWE's launch day woes with the fact they were "unable to process most orders since 9 AM," was attributed to technology partner Major League Baseball Advanced Media (MLBAM). Basically, the system was overwhelmed by demand for the new subscriptions on its first day of operation. WWE is currently offering a free one week trial on their website, as well as the ability to sign-up and pay $9.99 per month, with a six-month commitment to the new service. As of this report, this writer was able to access programming on a Roku device after signing up in the early afternoon.
The new network will not only present fans the ability to access a library of "on-demand" shows such as past pay-per-views or TV shows episodes, but also every monthly pay-per-view starting with WrestleMania 30 in early April. There's also newer original programming on the schedule such as WrestleMania Rewind, WWE Countdown, The Monday Night War, and WWE Hall of Fame. That's not to mention WWE's crack at a rather hilarious-sounding reality program called WWE Legends House which will have viewers watching to see how former WWE/F stars co-exist and make it through various challenges together.
Among the devices that fans will be able to watch the new WWE Network with are the popular gaming systems such as Sony PlayStation 3 and 4, the Microsoft Xbox 360, as well as Roku streaming media devices, select Smart TV's, and Android or iOS devices. WWE launched a brand new app for fans to use for the network as well as provided videos featuring divas The Bella Twins to inform fans what's needed to use the technology.
For most users, it requires simply having your particular device connected to an HDTV via HDMI cable, or using an app on your particular tablet. Those might be the iPad, iPad Mini, Amazon Kindle Fire HDX or Google Nexus 7, which it appears WWE has Network apps for. There's a page here giving more details about the network. This latest innovation from the pro wrestling sports entertainment company joins many other channels that users watch streaming media content with on their Rokus, Apple TVs and other devices, such as HBO Go, Netflix, Hulu Plus and Amazon Instant Video. The brand new network was first announced back in January at the annual Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.
As of this report, a special show featuring the rivalry between Shawn Michaels and Bret Hart was showing on the network, with an NXT In-Ring Specials program scheduled for 4 p.m. EST and a WrestleMania 1 program at 5 p.m. EST. The brand new Raw Pre-Show is being advertised to live stream online at 7:30 p.m. EST, with a post-Raw "Backstage Pass" show at 11:06 p.m. EST which will last about 24 minutes total. Fans can get more information about WWE Network here.