Gone are the days where cable TV providers were “the only game in town”. Today, we have a variety of options for getting the entertainment we crave. Even when it comes to live TV, there are ways to watch without cable TV. Sling TV is one great option. But what is Sling TV? How does it work? Find out more in our full 2020 Sling TV review!
What is Sling TV?
Sling TV is an online streaming service that provides access to live TV channels. It’s a viable alternative to cable TV, because it provides a wide variety of TV channels which you can watch live. There’s also a limited on-demand selection to watch.
Sling TV is a paid service, with plans starting at $30 per month. So it’s not free – but it’s definitely cheaper than cable, and the Sling TV cost is competitive with other streaming services. You can choose a base package and then add on extra channels, offered in packs of 5-10+ channels.
Sling TV is the oldest and most-established streaming service of its type. It started back in 2015, and now boasts more than 2.2 million subscribers. Find out more about this service in our full 2019 Sling TV review below.
How Sling TV Works
Sling TV works over the internet. You will need to have reliable high-speed internet access in order to use the service. You’ll also need a compatible streaming player, like a Roku or Apple TV. You can also use your smartphone, smart TV or computer. Here are the basics of how Sling TV works:
- Sign up here for Sling TV (you can start with a free 3-day trial)
- Select your base channel package (23-40+ channels)
- Select add-on packages (5-10+ channels for extra $5 a month)
- Sign into your account
- Start watching LIVE TV on your computer
- Sign into Sling TV on other devices
- Enjoy live TV streaming on all your favorite devices
- You pay month-to-month, and are free to cancel your subscription at any time
It’s that easy! With Sling TV, you can be set up and watching your favorite shows in a matter of minutes. And if it doesn’t work out for you, you can cancel at any time since there is no contract.
Of all the streaming services, Sling offers one of the most customizable channel lineups. You start off with a small (and cheap) base package for $30 per month, and then add on specific types of channels that you like – instead of being forced to buy a larger bundle of channels you may or may not actually watch. This is one of the big perks of a Sling TV membership.
Sling TV Technical Features
What is Sling TV offering in terms of technical features?
Streaming quality – full HD 1080p. Streaming quality will depend on your internet speeds.
Frames per second – some channels offer 60fps, while most are covered at 30fps (this video demonstrates the difference between 30fps and 60fps).
Device compatibility – works on most devices. Sling TV devices include Roku, Chromecast, Apple TV, Android TV, Amazon Fire TV, Android and iOS mobile devices, computers, AirTV, Xiaomi Mi, select LG and Samsung smart TVs, and Xbox One.
DVR recording – a cloud DVR feature is available, but it costs extra. Currently, it’s $5 a month and comes with 50 hours of recording storage.
Simultaneous streaming – varies depending on your package. Sling Orange offers only 1 stream, while Sling Blue has 3 simultaneous streams.
Sling TV Channel Lineup
The Sling TV channels list will depend on which package you choose. There are several different options, as outlined below.
Sling Orange – includes 30+ networks for $30/mo. Channels include ESPN (great for watching Monday Night Football Online), AMC, CNN, Cheddar, HGTV, Comedy Central, Cartoon Network/Adult Swim, History, Disney Channel, ESPN2, ESPN3, TNT, ACC Network Extra, Food Network, TBS, BBC America, Freeform, IFC, EPIX Drive-In, Tribeca Shortlist, A&E, Viceland, Lifetime, Travel Channel, AXS.TV, Fuse, Newsy, Cheddar Business, Bloomberg Television, FulmRise, Comet, Stadium, and Local Now.
Sling Blue – includes 40+ networks for $30/mo. Channels include NBC, and NBC Sports in select markets, and nationwide coverage of NFL Network, AMC, FX, CNN, Cheddar News, HGTV, Comedy Central, Cartoon Network/Adult Swim, History, TNT, Bravo, Food Network, NBCSN, TBS, BBC America, FXX, SyFy, NickJr, IFC, EPIX Drive-In, Tribeca Shortlist, A&E, Viceland, TruTV, Lifetime, Travel Channel, Paramount Network, E!, AXS.TV, Fuse, BET, National Geographic, Nat Geo Wild, Newsy, Cheddar Business, Bloomberg Television, FilmRise, Comet, Stadium, and Local Now. Note that this package used to contain some FOX networks, but in September 2019, Sling TV and FOX got into a dispute and currently the channels are no longer available on the service. If that changes, we’ll update this article. You can get more info here.
Sling Orange + Blue – Includes 45+ networks for $45 per month. This package combines everything in Sling Orange and Sling Blue, for a 20% savings.
Other Channel Packages & Features
In addition to these base packages, Sling also offers a wide variety of add-ons. These can expand your Sling TV channels list with specific types of channels. They can be added onto either base package – however do note that the lineup varies slightly depending on which package you have. These include:
Cloud DVR – $5/mo for ability to record live TV
Cloud DVR – $5/mo – adds the ability to record live TV to watch later. Comes with 50 hours of storage. Costs the same for both base packages.
Hollywood Extra – $5/mo for extra movie channels
Hollywood Extra – $5/mo for Fandor Festival, REELZ, HD Net Movies, Sundance TV, Turner Classic Movies, Cinemoi North America, The Film Detective. Selection and pricing is the same for both base packages.
Heartland Extra – $5/mo for extra outdoors/rural lifestyle channels
Heartland Extra – $5/mo for World Fishing Network, Sportsman Channel, Outdoor Channel, Ride TV, RFD-TV, PixL, The Cowboy Channel. Selection and pricing is the same for both base packages.
Comedy Extra – $5/mo for more funny channels
Sling Orange + Comedy Extra – $5/mo – adds MTV, TruTV, Paramount Network, MTV2, CMT, Logo, GSN, TV Land, Revolt
Sling Blue + Comedy Extra – $5/mo – adds MTV, MTV2, CMT, Logo, GSN, TV Land, Revolt
Kids Extra – $5/mo for more kids programming
Sling Orange + Kids Extra – $5/mo – adds Disney Junior, Disney XD, NickJr, NickToons, TeenNick, Boomerang, BabyTV and DuckTV.
Sling Blue + Kids Extra – $5/mo – adds NickToons, TeenNick, Boomerang, BabyTV and DuckTV.
Sports Extra – $5-$10/mo for extra channels to watch sports online
Sling Orange + Sports Extra ($5/mo) – adds NBA TV, SEC Network, SEC Network+, Pac12 Network, ESPNU, ESPNEWS, NHL Network, BeIn Sports, ESPN Goal Line, ESPN Bases Loaded, Outside TV, MLB Network, MLB Network Strike Zone, and Motorsport.tv.
Sling Blue + Sports Extra ($10/mo) – adds NFL RedZone live stream, NBA TV, NHL Network, MLB Network, MLB Network Strike Zone, GOLF, BeIn Sports, Pac12 Network, Outside TV, Olympic Channel, and Motorsport.tv.
News Extra – $5/mo for extra news coverage
Sling Orange + News Extra – $5/mo for BBC World News, TheBlaze, HLN, Weather Nation, Fusion, Euronews, News18, RT, CGTN
Sling Blue + News Extra – $5/mo for MSNBC, CNBC, BBC World News, TheBlaze, HLN, Weather Nation, Euronews, France24, News18, NDTV 24×7, RT, CGTN
Lifestyle Extra – $5/mo for extra entertainment channels
Sling Orange + Lifestyle Extra – $5/mo for VH1, BET, Cooking Channel, DIY, FYI, Hallmark Channel, WEtv, Lifetime Movies, Halmark Movies & Mysteries, Hallmark Drama, Vibrant TV Network, ZLiving, Afro
Sling Blue + Lifestyle Extra – $5/mo for VH1, Oxygen, Cooking Channel, DIY Network, FYI, Hallmark Channel, WEtv, Lifetime Movies, Hallmark Movies & Mysteries, Hallmark Drama, Vibrant TV Network, ZLiving, Afro
Premium Channels/A La Carte Channels
Sling TV also offers premium channels. These are available as add-ons to expand your Sling TV channel lineup. Additionally, some a la carte channels are available that can be purchased with or without a base service.
Note: Sling TV usually offers HBO and Cinemax, but recently the channels have become unavailable due to a contract dispute. We’ll update this guide if they become available again.
Starz – $9 per month
Showtime – $10 per month
EPIX – $5 per month
CuriosityStream – $3 per month
Docurama – $5 per month
Grokker – $7 per month
Here TV – $8 per month
CONtv – $5 per month
UP Faith & Family – $5 per month
PANTAYA – $6 per month
Outside TV Features – $5 per month
Dove Channel – $5 per month
Stingray Karaoke – $7 per month
Magnolia Selects – $5 per month
DOX – $3 per month
Warriors & Gangsters – $3 per month
Monsters & Nightmares – $3 per month
Stingray Qello – $8 per month
Genius Brands Network – $5 per month
FlixLatino – $3 per month
Hallmark Movies Now – $6 per month
The Country Network – $3 per month
Cinemoi – $3 per month
VSiN – $4 per month
NBA League Pass – $29/mo for entire league, $18/mo for 1 team
In addition, Sling also offers some international packages, including a package of Spanish-language channels.
Sling TV Cost
The Sling TV price depends on the package you select. Prices are detailed in full above, but here’s a recap:
Sling Orange – $30/mo, no contract
Sling Blue – $30/mo, no contract
Sling Orange + Blue – $45/mo, no contract
Add on packages – $5/mo, no contract (Sports Extra is $10/mo, the rest are $5).
Premium channels – $3-$15/mo, no contract. See full list above.
Overall, Sling TV pricing is quite competitive. Most similar services run $40/mo or more, so Sling TV’s base package at $30/mo is great. It’s an even better deal when compared to cable TV, which runs on average $100+/mo and growing rapidly.
Sling TV Pros & Cons
There’s a lot to consider when choosing a streaming service. What is Sling TV offering compared to the competition? Here’s a wrap up:
- Very affordable starting packages
- Easy to customize channel lineup
- No contract
- Huge number of channels available
- Good coverage of sports (NFL – including some NFL Playoffs streams, NBA, NHL, MLB, etc.), news, and entertainment
- Works on almost all devices
- The most popular live streaming service (and the oldest)
- Free 3-day trial available
- Bad coverage of local channels like NBC (only covered in a handful of areas, check out our guide to Sling TV local channels)
- Cloud DVR costs extra
- Missing a few popular channels, like FOX News, FOX, FS1, FS2
Overall, third-party Sling TV reviews are positive. The most common complaints are often about poor customer service. Do keep in mind that this service has changed a lot over the years. If you’re reading a Sling TV review, make sure it’s been updated recently, otherwise it’s likely out of date!
Is Sling TV Worth It?
Sling TV is a great service overall. It’s the largest and oldest live streaming service, with a customer base of more than 2 million people.
We mostly recommend Sling TV for folks who want to customize their channel lineup. Most competing services only sell large bundles, forcing you into a bundle of networks you might not actually want. Sling makes it easier to select channels that you’ll actually enjoy.
Sling is also one of the most budget-friendly streaming platforms. Most services start at $40/mo, while Sling comes in at $30/mo. With that said, once you start adding more channels, the price can quickly rise.
Ultimately, the decision is up to you. What is Sling TV offering that suits your needs, wants and budget? Consider the pros and cons.
If you’re on the fence, do remember that Sling TV offers a free 3-day trial for new customers. And since it’s non-contract, you can cancel any time.
Thanks for reading our Sling TV review! If you have any questions, feel free to leave a comment and we’ll do our best to help!
Helen loves to help people rid themselves of the high costs of cable and satellite TV, through writing about simple cost effective alternatives to cable TV. Contact her at [email protected] Latest posts by Helen Back (see all)