This Sling TV review takes a look at the packages, channels and cost of this frugal Cable TV alternative.
Sling TV is an up and coming live tv streaming service that uses your existing internet connection and saves you a lot of money compared to cable.
Cable TV is ridiculously expensive, and if you’re looking to trim back your monthly budget then cutting the cable cord is a great place to start.
In this review we’ll discuss…
- What Is Sling TV?
- Sling TV Channel Packages
- How Much Does Sling TV Cost?
- How To Watch Sling TV
- Our Sling TV Review – Is It Worth It?
- Frequently Asked Questions
What Is Sling TV?
Unlike standard cable subscriptions Sling is a significantly less expensive than cable (starting at just $35 a month) and doesn’t require a contract, equipment rentals or unnecessary fees.
Sling TV also lets you choose streamlined channel packages that are right for you and lets you add services you want, instead of forcing you to pay for a bunch of channels and services you never use.
Sling TV Channel Packages (2021)
Sling TV has three main channel packages:
- Sling Orange
- Sling Blue
- Sling Orange + Blue
Sling Orange vs Sling Blue
Sling TV’s Orange vs Blue packages can be a bit confusing, especially given their vague naming convention, but we’ll try to make their plans a bit easier to understand.
The Sling Orange and Blue packages offer many of the same channels, but each also offers exclusive access to channels not available with the other plan. Each package also has limitations on how many devices can stream at one time.
What’s The Difference Between Sling Orange and Sling Blue?
- 30+ Channels
- Disney, ESPN, ESPN 2, ESPN 3, Motortrend, Freeform
- Stream on 1 device at a time
- $35 per month
- 50+ Channels
- NFL Network, FS1, NBC Sports, Fox News, MSNBC, USA, and more
- Stream on 3 devices at one time
- $35 per month
Is Sling Orange or Blue Better?
Deciding between Sling Orange and Sling Blue really comes down to which channels you’re interested in. If you want ESPN and Disney then Orange is for you. If you’re looking for NFL Network, FS1, NBC Sports and Fox News/MSNBC then Blue is for you.
If you can’t decide you also have the option to opt for the Sling Orange + Blue package for a discounted $50 per month. Sling Orange + Blue you access to all of Sling TV’s available channels, though the limitation on the number of simultaneous devices still applies.
List of Sling Orange Channels
Sling Orange features 32 channels with 7 Orange only channels highlighted primarily by the ESPN family of networks and the Disney channel.
Channels Only On Sling Orange:
- Disney Channel
- ACC Network Extra
Note: Sling Orange only channels can only be viewed by one device at a time.
List of Sling Blue Channels
Sling Blue features 45 channels (some only available in select markets) with 20 “Blue only” channels highlighted by the Fox family of channels, some of the NBC family of channels, NFL network and NickJr.
Channels Only On Sling Blue:
- Fox (Select Markets)
- Fox Sports (Select Markets)
- NBC (Select Markets)
- NBC Sports (Select Markets)
- NFL Network
- Nick Jr
- National Geographic
- National Geographic Wild
- TRU TV
Note: Sling Blue channels can be streamed on 3 devices at one time.
Channels On Both Sling Orange and Sling Blue:
- AXS TV
- BBC America
- Bloomberg Television
- Cartoon Network
- Cheddar Business
- Cheddar News
- Comedy Central
- EPIX Drive In
- Food Network
- Investigation Discover
- Local Now
- Tribecca Shortlist
- Trvl Channel
Does Sling TV have local channels?
Sling TV does offer local channels in some markets, but unfortunately the number of markets is very limited and local channels are not available for the majority of areas. You can check local channel availability here.
If your local channels are not available through Sling, you still have the option to get local channels via HD antenna in most areas. Sling will even give you a free digital antenna if you pre-pay for 2 months of service (or you could just buy your own antenna at Amazon or other electronics retailer).
Can I Watch Live Sports On Sling TV?
Sling TV does offer live sports channels, but which channels you get depends on which package you subscribe to.
Sling Orange gives you access to live sports on the ESPN family of networks, ACC Network Extra and TNT which broadcasts some NBA games.
Sling Blue gives you access to live sports on Fox Sports and NBC Sports (in some markets) as well as FS1/FS2, NFL Network, and TNT for NBA basketball.
If you subscribe to the Sling Orange + Blue package you get access to all of the above.
If that’s not enough live sports, Sling TV subscribers can also add the Sports Extra package which gives access to additional sports channels such as ESPNEWS, ESPNU and SEC Network for Sling Orange subscribers or NFL Red Zone and Golf Channel for Sling Blue subscribers.
Regional sports channels such as YES Network in the New York City area may also be included in your package, depending on your location.
Does Sling TV Have DVR?
The Sling TV DVR service gives you record, pause and fast-forward live TV, even on multiple channels. Sling TV’s gives you 50 hours of their cloud DVR service with their base packages (Orange, Blue, etc). If you need more than 50 hours you can upgrade that to 200 hours for an additional $5 per month.
While 50 or 200 hours is still limited compared to other services like YouTube TV who offer unlimited DVR, it should be enough for most users and may not be worth the additional cost of their competitors.
How Much Does Sling TV Cost?
Perhaps the biggest draw for Sling is their extremely low pricing model.
Sling Orange and Blue each cost just $35, and if you can’t choose which package you prefer you also have the option to buy both packages together for just $50 (a $20 savings).
Compared to the competition it’s a great value.
Live TV Competitor Pricing
- Philo TV $20 per month (See our Philo TV review)
- YouTube TV: $64.99 per month
- Hulu Live TV: $64.99 per month
- ATT TV: $69.99 per month
Of course each of these services offers a different mix of channels and services like DVR, local channels or regional sports networks which may be add-ons for Sling, so you’ll want to consider these before subscribing to one or the other.
How To Watch Sling TV
Signing up for an account is very easy and just takes a few minutes to complete. All you need to do is choose a channel package and which add-ons you’d like (if any) and you’re done.
Sling will also give you a 3 day free trial to make sure you like it before you buy.
Once you have an account all you need to do is connect your TV or mobile device.
What Equipment Do I Need for Sling?
You don’t need a lot of equipment to use Sling (or any other streaming service). In fact you don’t even need a TV to watch Sling because you can do do on your phone, computer or tablet. That said, since most of us still get our content from our TV sets here’s exactly what you need to watch Sling on your television.
To watch Sling TV on your television you only need:
- A television
- An internet connection
- A streaming media player (Roku, Fire TV, Apple TV, Chromecast, XBox) or Smart TV
Sling TV will work on both wired and wireless internet but it is recommended to use a wired connection whenever possible to ensure maximum data speed. If that’s not an option don’t worry it should still work if your connection is strong enough.
Sling also recommends an internet speed of 25mbps or higher to use their services. If you have less than that it may still work, but you may have some technical issues like pausing, slow loading or buffering. There are a number of websites that will check your data speed, I use Fast.com but any of them should be fine.
Once your internet connection is established all you need to do is connect your streaming media player to your TV by following your device’s instructions (skip this if you have a Smart TV) and then download the Sling app if it’s not already on there and log in.
Devices That Support Sling TV:
- iOS Devices (iPhones and iPads)
- Android Devices (Phones, Tablets and Android TV)
- Apple TV
- Roku Player
- Fire TV
- XBox One
- Google Chrome
- LG Smart TVs
Our Sling TV Review – Is It Worth It?
I’ve tested Sling TV on many occasions and find it to be a good service overall. The pricing is excellent, and is currently the lowest of all major live streaming TV services.
Their channel packages are a little confusing – Blue and Orange aren’t great for explaining what’s actually in each package – but I like the flexibility to be able to choose a more streamlined plan in exchange for saving money, or get both for full price.
I tested the service using a variety of Roku devices (Roku Ultra, Roku 3 and Roku stick), as well as on my iPad and Android Phone and the service itself ran smoothly most of the time. There was a bit of lag when I first chose a channel (I assume this was due to the data loading) but once the channel was loaded I didn’t experience any lag from that point forward… even after hours of testing.
Is Sling TV Good?
Overall I think Sling TV is a good service, especially for the price. The has some quirks and the Orange vs Blue channel package naming structure is very confusing, but overall Sling TV a good live streaming service that should work well for most people, especially for the price. That said, if you’re willing to pay a bit more money in exchange for more features you may be better off with YouTube TV or Hulu with Live TV.
Have you used Sling TV? What was your experience? Let us know in the comments!
Frequently Asked Questions
- Is Sling TV like Netflix or Hulu? Sling TV, Netflix and Hulu are all streaming media services but Sling is a little different. Sling TV features live television channels, just like you would have with regular cable. Netflix and Hulu have a pre-set list of movies and TV shows that you can watch at any time, but you couldn’t watch a cable channel like ESPN or HGTV live on them.
- Does Sling TV stream in 4K? Sling does not stream in 4K at the time of this review. If/when this changes we will add it to the review.
- Do I need a Smart TV? No, you can watch on your television using a streaming device like Roku, Apple TV, Chomecast, Fire TV and XBox. Alternatively you could watch Sling on most phones, tablets and computers without a television.
- Can you watch Sling TV on PS4 or PS5? Unfortunately Sony’s PlayStation consoles (PS4, PS5 etc) do not support Sling TV at this time. PlayStation was a competitor of Sling TV with their Vue service but now that that service has shut down they may offer Sling TV in the future.
- Can you watch Sling TV on XBox? Yes, unlike Playstaion, XBox consoles do support Sling TV.
- Does Sling use a lot of data? All video streaming services use a lot of data so if you’re on a capped data plan, be sure to monitor your usage or switch to an unlimited data plan or WiFi before streaming any video service.
- Does Sling TV have news channels like MSNBC, Fox News or CNN? CNN comes standard with either the Sling Orange or Sling Blue packages. MSNBC and Fox News are only available on the Sling Blue or Sling Orange + Blue packages.
- How many TVs can you watch with Sling? Sling Orange channels can be viewed on one television or device at a time. Sling Blue channels can be viewed on up to three devices at a time.