Sling TV Review
Sling TV was the first live TV streaming service to hit the market—and it’s still the cheapest. You can get most (if not all) of your favorite channels for way less than your current cable bill, and Sling lets you watch anywhere, on almost any device.
|Sling Orange||$25/mo.||32+||Free trial|
|Sling Blue||$25/mo.||47+||Free trial|
|Sling Orange + Sling Blue||$40/mo.||53+||Free trial|
*Channel inclusion varies according to location.
** One stream of Sling Orange channels, three streams of Sling Blue channels.
If you want live TV without a massive monthly bill, then Sling TV can still give you what you need. But don’t expect it to be as good as newer options.
Sling TV packages and pricing
Sling has unbeatable pricing, although it doesn’t offer that many channels and its plans can be confusing.
Why Sling chose to name its plans after colors, the world will never know. The names “Sling Orange” and “Sling Blue” don’t tell you much of anything about what the plans offer, which makes the “Sling Orange + Sling Blue” plan even more confusing.
We’ll try to do what Sling didn’t and make this simple with a quick overview of the different plans.
The biggest differences between Sling’s packages are channel count and channel selection.
1. You must pre-pay for two months of Sling right from the start. You can’t do a 7-day free trial and then pre-pay for two months.
2. Sling will charge your account after the two months pass unless you choose to cancel. No refunds are issued once your account is charged. No, not even partial or prorated refunds.
3. A single Roku device cannot stream to the all the TVs in your house. You’ll need a separate device for each TV (unless you have a smart TV).
Sling TV channels
Sling TV gives you fewer channels than the competition, but you have more control over which ones you pay for.
As you may have noticed, Sling Blue gives you double the number of channels you’d get with Sling Orange, and for the same price. So what’s the difference?
Well, first of all, you don’t get the same channels with Sling Blue as you do with Sling Orange—that’s why they’re the same price. Sling Orange gives you channels like ESPN and Disney while Sling Blue skips those and instead gives you options like FOX and USA.
Even though you get more channels with Sling Blue, you should choose Sling Orange if your kids love Sofia the First and you love SportsCenter. On the other hand, if you’d rather watch Archer than Love It or List It, go with Sling Blue.
What is Sling Orange + Sling Blue?
Sling Orange + Sling Blue is exactly what it sounds like: Sling Orange and Sling Blue put together. The only difference is you get a bit of a discount for buying both. Other than that, each plan functions the same as it does on its own.
For example, Sling Orange gives you one stream per account and Sling Blue gives you three. Sling Orange + Sling Blue does the same thing: you get one stream for Sling Orange channels and three for Sling Blue channels.
Confused? So are we. We’d rather Sling just gave us four simultaneous streams, period. But until then, Sling Orange + Sling Blue is the only option that gives you all of Sling’s available channels together.
Local channels are limited
The Sling Blue plan gives you a smattering of local options, like NBC, as long as they’re available in your area.
Overall, we’re not super impressed with Sling’s local channel lineup.
|Network||Number of affiliates||View details|
*Local channel availability and pricing may vary by location.
Sling does offer NBC and FOX content on demand no matter where you live. But you might not have the option to watch local networks like those live.
Indoor HD TV Antenna recommendation
Sling’s local channel lineup might be sad, but it’s not necessarily a dealbreaker. If you have an HD TV antenna, then you don’t need Sling to route local channels for you—you can do it yourself.
An HD antenna gives you access to all the channels from your local broadcasting stations, and—after you pay for the antenna itself—it’s totally free.
Sling TV premium channel options
Sling sells premium channels as à-la-carte extras, which is fairly standard for a streaming service or even a cable provider.
|UP Faith & Family||$5/mo.||View Plans|
Sling TV sports channels
Sling’s sports add-on package is pretty cheap ($5 per month) and offers the following sports channels:
- NBA TV
- SEC Network
- SEC Network+
- PAC 12
- NHL Network
- beIN Sports
- ESPN Goal Line
- ESPN Bases Loaded
- Outside Television
Sling’s add-on packages let you customize your subscription
Sling has no shortage of add-on packages. It’s the main way you can use Sling to customize your TV service so you pay only for what you really want. If you like Lifestyle channels like BET or DIY Network, Sling’s add-on package can give you more of them. If you’re really into the news, then choose the News add-on.
Sling TV even offers Hindi TV channels. You can watch the following channels anytime.
- Apaka Colors
- Colors TV
- Sony Entertainment Television
- Star Plus
- Zee TV
Sling TV offers the following add-on packages:
Sling TV gives you the choice of the Hindi (50+ channels), Hindi Premium (60+ channels), or Hindi Gold (90+ channels) package—and you can choose to pay either every month, every three months, or every year.
DVR costs a bit extra
Sling TV’s DVR is cheap, but it does cost extra and you only get 50 hours of recording time.
|DVR Price||Storage hours||Details|
|$5/mo.||50 hrs||Learn more|
Sling TV lets you store content in your cloud DVR for an unlimited period of time. But you get only 50 hours’ worth of content, and then Sling will auto-delete your old stuff. So if you really want to keep that old episode of Scrubs, you’ll have to proactively delete other recordings before you fill up your storage space.
Another thing to consider is how many shows you can record at once. Its cloud DVR gives you the same number of simultaneous recordings as your Sling TV plan.
To put this in context, if you have Sling Orange, you can record one show at a time. If you have Sling Blue, you can record three shows at a time.
Sling TV user experience
Sling TV’s interface is a little confusing and glitchy, but it does work on almost every device.
We had to play with Sling’s interface for a little while to figure out, so it’s not wholly intuitive. But once you get the hang of it, it works pretty well. You can mark shows as favorites and Sling will save shows and channels you’re already watching under the My TV tab.
We especially like the little orange lines that indicate how far in the show you are. You can see the same little orange lines in the live TV section, which lets you spot shows that just started.
The On Now section (a.k.a. the live section) also separates shows by genre. Easy enough, right?
But if you want to search by channel, you have to use the Guide.
Truth be told, we’d like it better if you could toggle back and forth between searching by genre and searching by channel, but at least there are options for both.
Glitches and issues
We noticed a couple of issues with Sling’s fast-forward and rewind buttons. When we watched live channels on a TV and tried to fast-forward, it got stuck and keep jumping ahead until we quit the application.
On Sling’s browser version, the fast-forward and rewind buttons didn’t work at all one day, but once we cleared our cache and refreshed the page, the issue fixed itself.
These issues indicate a bigger problem with Sling: its apps can be a little glitchy. Random issues can pop up suddenly but stop happening the next time you open the app. It’s always a bit of a gamble.
Is Sling TV compatible with your streaming device?
We love that Sling works on just about every device. That includes Xiaomi, which we’d never even heard of before.
- Apple TV
- Amazon Fire TV
- Android TV
- AirTV Player
- LG with Sling
- iOS and Android phones and tablets
- Amazon Fire tablets
- XBOX ONE
- Google Chrome
- Windows 10
Recap—Should you get Sling TV?
If you want to ditch cable in favor of a cheaper option, then Sling might fill the void.
Sling TV is a decent option for affordable live TV. Just be sure to check which channels come with which plan to make sure you’ll still have access to all your favorites when you make the switch. And, if you’re considering the Sling Orange + Sling Blue plan, then we’d recommend checking out other streaming providers (like DIRECTV NOW or YouTube TV) first.
Sling TV summary:
- Cheap plan options
- Cloud DVR with 50 hours’ worth of storage (for a little extra money)
- Lots of add-on options
- Somewhat glitchy interface
- Relatively limited channel selection