The Armed Forces Network has started testing a new streaming app that promises to offer a wide variety of free video programming to eligible service members, their families and retirees living overseas.
AFN Now has entered its beta testing phase, and developers are looking for military members to test the app before its final release. If you're a service member, Defense Department civilian, or a family member based in Japan or South Korea and want to participate in the test, go to www.afnpacific.net and click on the AFN Now banner at the top of the page.
The app is the product of three years of negotiations with media rights holders to provide a wider variety of television shows, live sporting events, movies and news programs than can be found on a single service back home.
Verizon Media was contracted to build the service, which comes with a few restrictions because of its broad spectrum of programming. "Some of the shows on AFN Now can be viewed no matter where you are, while others are limited to U.S. military installation IP ranges and restricted to on base or on post viewing," AFN chief of television Karreem Lowe said in a press release from the network.
Anyone who's used apps from cable providers like Xfinity or Spectrum has experienced a similar situation. With those companies, some programs can be streamed only on the home network, while others are available anywhere.
The programming will be commercial free, but the Defense Department will use short breaks in the programming to deliver important command information to viewers.
"[Our audience] can already get their own music. They can already get their own entertainment, but they can't get information on their careers. They can't get information on their local community, and that is what we deliver that nobody else can," Erik Brazones, an AFN operations policy officer, told Military Families Magazine. "Netflix doesn't care about force protection conditions, but the people that are overseas do."
AFN Now is scheduled to launch later this fall and will be available via Apple, Google Play, gaming devices and smart TVs. Anyone looking to use the service must be verified through the Defense Enrollment Eligibility Reporting System.
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