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Sling TV: Prices, Plans, Features, and Service Review (2020)

If you’re jumping into the “cutting the cord” trend when it comes to your live TV streaming experience, Sling TV is one of the most affordable options. It’s less expensive than traditional satellite and cable subscriptions, without the hassles of monthly billings and hard-to-cancel subscription plans. Sling TV’s service enables subscribers to stream a plethora of popular and live TV channels on their smartphones, tablets, computers, and TVs. Know more about this streaming service in this guide.

 

What Is Sling TV?

Sling Logo
© Photo from news.sling.com

 

The Dish Network-owned company offers live streaming entertainment through your internet. With an à la carte basis for channel selection, Sling TV provides customers with the opportunity to register for individual channels. It is similar to having a satellite or cable TV subscription. However, the sole difference is that you’re using the internet to watch your favorite channels instead of a traditional cable box. To start steaming, you simply connect a game console, a streaming device, or the Sling TV app to your preferred device to watch. 

Despite the many competitors, Sling TV is still the frontrunner when it comes to affordable cord-cutting live streaming service. Users can choose from two subscription plans; namely, Sling Blue and Sling Orange, which will be discussed further in this article.

 

How Sling TV Works

What Is Sling TV?
© Photo by Clark.com

Although operated by Dish Network, Sling TV doesn’t require a Dish subscription to enjoy the streaming service. Also, it is compatible with almost all major platforms including Roku, Android, and iOS. 

For Sling TV to work, you should have a stable and active internet connection of a minimum of 5 Mbps. However, it’s highly recommended to have 25 Mbps or higher. Sling TV replaces your traditional cable box, antenna, or satellite dish with modern devices such as Smart HDTVs and gaming consoles.

Furthermore, there is no agreement, contracts, and cancellation fee to it. Thus, you can cancel or resume your Sling TV subscription without hidden fees or penalties. Also for Sling TV’s Orange subscription, you can only watch one stream at a time, while the Blue subscription provides you with three streams at a time.

 

Sling TV Subscription

SLING TV - Photos
©Photo from Sling TV

If you’re wondering what it’s like to have the cloud DVR, then it’s Sling TV gives you a similar experience by mimicking traditional satellite devices or cable’s actual digital video recorder box. It enables streamers to play and record TV shows and skip ads on specific channels. All monthly subscriptions from Sling TV include 10 hours of cloud DVR service. Also, you can pay an extra for $5 per month for additional storage of 50 hours.

For on-demand shows, the majority of channels on Sling TV allows you to watch these shows instantly. They feature “Three Day Replay” so you can watch any TV show that aired within three previous days. What’s more, some channels even provide you with the opportunity to re-watch any movie or TV show within the past seven days.

 

Sling Orange

$30 per month: it includes 33 channels with Disney and ESPN included but not NBC and Fox channels. Subscribers can stream one at a time.

 

Sling Blue 

$30 per month: it includes 48 channels with NBC and Fox channels included but not limited to Disney and ESPN channels. Subscribers can stream three at a time.

 

Sling Orange + Sling Blue 

$45 per month: all channels are included. Streaming is up to four at a time except for Sling Orange. It only supports one channel at a time in terms of simultaneous streaming.

 

To get started, first, you should have a subscription to Sling by creating an account. Once you already have an active subscription, then you’ll need to download and install the Sling TV app to a compatible iOS or Android device. After you’ve finished the setup, you can finally sign in and start streaming your favorite channels anywhere in the U.S. Regardless if you’re using mobile data, wired, or Wi-Fi connection, you can easily stream on Sling TV.

 

How the Channels Work

Similar to traditional TV channels, Sling TV has national advertisements and commercial breaks. For a number of on-demand content, some ads can’t be paused or skipped. Also in terms of skipping and pausing on Sling TV, it comes with an extra subscription for cloud DVR.

However, pausing content on live TV is only applicable to specific channels. Without this additional service, the fast-forward, rewind, and pass functionalities won’t work when streaming Sundance TV, HLN, Boomerang, ABC Family, Cartoon Network, CNN, ESPN, and TNT.

On selected channels, the fast-forward, rewind, and pause functions work normally. Thus, you can pause your favorite movie and rewind it to your favorite scenes. Also, you can fast-forward to catch up and for both functions, it’s only possible through Sling TV’s cloud DVR.

 

Sling TV Features

Features
© Photo from Sling TV

 

Interface

Since its launch, Sling TV doesn’t have any major updates when it comes to revamping its interface. Here are the major sections you need to be familiar with. 

My TV Panel

Once you open the Sling TV app, you’ll initially see the My TV main panel. The My TV screen is categorized into My Channels, Recordings, Favorites, Hit Movies, Top News, and Recommended For You. Aside from that, the top navigation includes On Now, Guide, Sports, On Demand, and Rent.

For genre-specific streaming, you can click on On Now for choosing live TV channels that are categorized according to different genres, including Comedy, Action and Adventure, Lifestyle, and Kids.

 

Guide and Sports Panel

Sling TV’s popular navigation is the Guide panel. It is a cable-like grid that consists of networks listed in a vertical position with horizontal schedules. The downside of this panel is that the names of the networks aren’t listed in alphabetical order, thus finding your favorite channels are a bit challenging and daunting.

Next to Guide, the Sports panel is categorized according to the type of sports such as Obscure Sports, eSports, Combat Sports, and Basketball.

 

Rental Panel

For some specific devices and web version of Sling TV, a Rental panel is available. Similar to Apple TV and Amazon Prime Video, you can rent out your favorite movies. In general, you can rent out newly-released movies starting at $5.99.

 

Search Function

Lastly, Sling TV has nice search functionality. As you input your search query, Sling TV will provide you with a list of the most popular search results happening at the time of input. Once you’ve selected what you’ve searched for, Sling TV will organize the results into a new set of categories such as channels, TV shows, movies, and popular results. While it’s not as robust and ultra-fast as YouTube, it works well.

After clicking on your preferred search result, it will pop up a window that provides you with information regarding cast listing and synopsis. Regardless if the TV is airing live or not, subscribers can either record or watch. 

 

Channels

Sling TV has two main subscriptions: Sling Orange and Sling Blue. Both subscriptions deliver more than 30 channels costing $30 per month. For the majority of channels, they mainly overlap between the Orange and Blue subscriptions; however, there are minor differences that might affect your preferences.

For example, the Sling Blue subscription doesn’t include ESPN and Disney, unlike Sling TV’s Orange. Instead, you’ll get Discovery Channel, TLC, Bravo, National Geographic, and Fox-owned channels. Also, Blue includes NBC and its local programs.

On the contrary, Sling TV’s Orange package doesn’t include any local channels. Thus, if you’re a fan of watching the local news, the Sling Blue package is your perfect option.

If you’re watching the latest episodes of any series on Fox channels but don’t want to miss out on ESPN’s basketball streams, you can purchase a combination of Sling Blue and Sling Orange. You will pay $45 per month and you will get more than 50 channels from the two Sling TV packages. 

 

List of Sling TV Channels

Here is a comprehensive list of all Sling TV channels that you can stream on either a Sling Blue or Sling Orange subscription:

Channels

Sling TV Orange

Sling TV Blue

Orange + Blue

A&E
AMC
AXS TV
BBC America
BET x
Bloomberg TV
Bravo x
Cartoon Network
Cheddar Business
Cheddar News
CNN
Comedy Central
Comet
Disney Channel x
Discovery Channel x
Epix Drive-In
ESPN x
ESPN 2 x
ESPN 3 x
Food Network
Fox x
Fox Regional Sports x
Fox Sports 1 x
Fox Sports 2 x
Freeform x
FX x
FXX x
Fuse
HGTV
History
IFC
Lifetime
Local Now
MotorTrend x
Nat Geo Wild x
National Geographic x
NBC x
NBC Sports Network x
NBC Regional Sports x
Newsy
NFL Network x
Nick Jr. x
Paramount Network x
Stadium
Syfy x
TBS
TLC x
TNT
Travel Channel
truTV x
USA Network x
Vice

 

Aside from the base channels from Sling TV’s basic packages, the service also offers additional packages through Sling Extras. To choose additional channels, you must be a subscriber to either Sling Orange or Sling Blue and pay an extra fee per month. Some of the channels are limited to either Blue or Orange subscribers.

 

List of Extra Packages

Here are the extra packages you can avail through Sling Extras:

Comedy Extra – $5 per month

CMT GSN
Logo MTV
MTV2 Paramount Network
Revolt truTV
TV Land

 

Deportes – $5 per month & EPIX – $5 per month

EPIX Hits
EPIX 2

 

Español – $5 per month & Heartland Extra – $5 per month

American Heroes Channel Destination America
Nat Geo Wild Great American Country
Outdoor Channel PixL
Pursuit RFD-TV
Ride TV Sportsman Channel
The Cowboy Channel World Fishing Network

Español – $5 per month & Heartland Extra – $5 per month

American Heroes Channel Destination America
Great American Country Nat Geo Wild
Outdoor Channel PixL
Pursuit RFD-TV
Ride TV Sportsman Channel
The Cowboy Channel World Fishing Network

 

Hollywood Extra – $5 per month

Cinemoi FXM
FXX HDNet Movies
REELZ Sundance TV
Turner Classic Movies

 

International – $5 per month & Kids Extra – $5 per month

BabyTV Boomerang
Disney Junior Disney XD
duckTV Nick Jr.
Nicktoons TeenNick

 

Lifestyle Extra – $5 per month

BET Cooking Channel
DIY Hallmark Drama
FYI Hallmark Channel
Hallmark Movies & Mysteries Lifetime Movies
Oxygen VH1
WE TV Z Living HD

 

News Extra – $5 per month

BBC World News CGTN
CNBC Euronews
Fox Business HLN
Law & Crime Network NDTV 24×7
News18 NewsMax
RT America Science Channel
Weather Nation

 

Showtime – $10 per month

Showtime Beyond
Showtime 2 Extreme
Family Zone Next
Showcase West
Women

Sports Extra – $10 per month

Sling Orange

Sling Blue

ACC Network beIN Sports
ACC Network Extra Big Ten Network
beIN Sports FS2
ESPNews Golf Channel
ESPNU MLB Network
Longhorn Network MLB Network Strike Zone
MLB Network NBA TV
MLB Network Strike Zone NHL Network
NBA TV Olympic Channel
NHL Network Outside Television
Outside Television Pac-12
Pac-12 Tennis Channel
SEC Network
Tennis Channel

 

Starz Extra – $9 per month

Starz Comedy
Edge Encore
Kids and Family West

 

Video and Audio Quality

In terms of video quality, Sling TV doesn’t have the same quality as that of cable or satellite service. In some independent testing, Sling TV’s video quality is somewhat similar to Verizon’s Fios HD. When transitioning to a new channel, Sling TV has occasional picture drops. However, on higher-quality internet connection and speed, the platform delivers excellent picture stability and high-quality images. For smaller devices, video quality is also equally good.

Despite Sling TV’s initial claim that it’s compatible with 5.1 digital surround sound quality on TV channels, it’s now restricted to video-on-demand content. For live TV streaming, audio is in stereo mode only.

 

Connection Stability

Depending on the device you’re streaming, Sling TV has designated the recommended internet speed. That said, if you’re streaming on a mobile device such as an iPad or iPhone, a minimum of 3 Mbps is recommended for good picture quality. When you’re using Sling TV’s desktop version or on TV, you should have at least 5 Mbps.

To get the best and most stable streaming quality, Sling TV recommends a minimum of 25 Mbps for your internet connection’s speed.

 

Supported Devices

With Sling TV, you can watch your favorite TV shows, movies, and channels on your mobile device, computer, or tablet anywhere anytime. If you’ll just use it for your home entertainment in the living room, Sling TV got you covered.

Sling TV is compatible with almost all kinds of devices
AirTV MacBook
Amazon Fire Stick Roku Premiere
Amazon Fire TV Mi Box
Android Smartphones and Tablets NVIDIA Shield TV
Android TV Roku TV
Apple TV Oculus Go
Channel Master DVR+ Roku Express
Chromecast Roku Stick
Chromecast Ultra Samsung Smart TVs
Facebook Portal Roku Ultra
Google Nest Hub Web Browsers (Firefox, Google Chrome, Microsoft Edge, Safari)
Google Nest Hub Max Windows 10
iOS Phones and Tablets Xbox One
LG Smart TVs Xfinity X1

 

Sling TV Customer Service

In terms of customer service experience, subscribers have a one-stop shop for all their concerns through Sling TV’s website. However, the majority of inquiries are directed through help.sling.com for easier tracking. Some of the most common customer service concerns about the service include starting a new subscription, billing concerns, changing or cancellation of service, troubleshooting, and inquiries about Sling TV’s packages.

As a best practice, customers should ensure they’re calling the right hotline number. Sling TV has a separate contact number for new clients who want to start their subscription plans. For existing Sling TV subscribers, Sling TV instructs you to visit its customer support page. You need to accomplish a few questions before you’ll generate a customer support reference number.

While Sling TV’s customer service is available 24/7, ensure that you’re calling from 8:00 AM to 1:00 AM ET to get the most out of its customer service channels.

For billing concerns about Sling TV, ensure that you have your debit or credit statement come in handy. For tech support, you should be near your mobile device or television so you can work together while troubleshooting.

 

Final Word

Sling TV comes with a set of limitations. That said, it might not be the perfect live streaming alternative for everyone. It’s especially true if a subscriber is having more than 100 channels on TV. But, for Sling TV’s price of $30 per month for a basic subscription, it’s still a worthy investment for many subscribers. With no cancellation fees, commitments, and contract agreements, Sling TV is an ideal live TV subscription-based service, especially if you’re tired of your dangling cables in your entertainment room. Although there are cheaper options such as WatchTV and Philo, costing $15 and $20 per month respectively, they don’t include locals and sports channels. 

Sling TV comes with a free trial. With that, we recommend listing down all the channels you need and frequently watch. Once you’ve listed them down, you can verify how many of those channels are included in Sling TV’s subscription plans.  You can watch or shop around Sling TV’s live streaming service before saying goodbye to your old satellite TV or cable service provider.

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