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Sling TV: Everything you need to know about the live TV streaming service

Is this affordable watch to watch live television worth dealing with its limitations?
By
March 1, 2022
Sling TV stock photo
Edgar Cervantes / Android Authority

There are live TV streaming services that offer packages that are affordable but have lots of limitations. Then there are the more expensive services that have almost anything you want but are quite expensive. Then there’s Sling TV. This service tries to bridge the gap between being affordable and also offering more than the budget services.

Read more: Best live TV streaming services

So what is Sling TV, and is it worth your time and money to use it to cut your cable or satellite TV cord. Read on to find out. You can sign up for the service now at the link below:

Sling TV
Sling TV is perhaps the best of the internet-based budget live TV options, with lots of channels and even support for some local channels

What is Sling TV?

Launched in 2015 by Dish Network, Sling TV offers a selection of live television channels and on-demand movies and TV shows for mobile devices, smart TVs, and set-top boxes. In its latest financial numbers in January 2022, Dish announced that the service had 2.486 million subscribers. That makes the service the third most popular live TV streaming service in the US, behind Hulu Plus Live TV and YouTube TV (see our Sling TV vs YouTube TV head-to-head to learn more about how it stacks up.

Platforms and Availablity

sling tv on tv
Sling TV

Sling TV is currently available just in the United States and Puerto Rico. Here’s a list of the platforms and devices that support the service at this time:

  • Android
  • Android TV
  • Chromecast
  • iOS
  • Apple TV
  • Roku
  • Amazon Fire TV
  • Amazon Fire tablets
  • Samsung smart TVs
  • LG Smart TVs
  • Oculus Go and Oculus Quest VR headsets
  • Portal TV from Facebook
  • Microsoft Xbox Series S/C game consoles
  • Windows 10 PCs
  • Mac PCs
  • Chrome browsers

Sling TV Plans and Prices

sling tv screenshot
Sling TV

Sling TV offers two main plans, labeled as Blue and Orange. Both plans normally cost $35 a month. While both share some channels, there are differences between the two plans. Keep in mind that the service has frequent promotions. Currently, the service is offering new customers access to the first month of either plan for just $10 or just $20 for the first month if you get the combined Blue & Orange Plan.

Blue Plan

The Blue Plan currently has 43 channels. It has many entertainment channels but also includes sports and news channels from Fox and NBC. It’s also the plan that supports local Fox and NBC channels in certain markets. It supports up to three concurrent streams at once, along with 50 hours of cloud DVR storage.

  • A&E 
  • AMC
  • AXS TV
  • BBC America
  • BET
  • Bloomberg Television
  • Bravo
  • Cartoon Network
  • Cheddar
  • CNN
  • Comedy Central
  • Comet
  • Discovery Channel
  • E!
  • Epix Drive-In
  • Food Network
  • Fox (select markets)
  • Fox News
  • Fox Sports 1
  • Fuse 
  • FX
  • HGTV
  • HLN
  • History Channel
  • IFC
  • Investigation Discovery
  • Lifetime
  • Local Now
  • MSNBC
  • NBC (select markets)
  • NBC Sports Network
  • NFL Network
  • National Geographic
  • Nick Jr.
  • SYFY
  • Stadium
  • TBS
  • TLC
  • TNT
  • Travel Channel
  • truTV
  • USA
  • Viceland

Orange Plan

The Orange Plan, which costs the same as the Blue Plan, actually has only 32 channels at the moment. However, it is also the plan with Disney’s ESPN channels, which might make it more attractive to some sports fans than the Orange Plan. It also supports 50 hours of DVR cloud storage, but it only supports one concurrent device stream.

  • A&E 
  • AMC
  • AXS TV
  • BBC America
  • BET
  • Bloomberg Television
  • CNN
  • Cartoon Network
  • Cheddar
  • Comedy Central
  • Comet 
  • Disney Channel
  • EPIX Drive-In
  • ESPN
  • ESPN2
  • ESPN3
  • Food Network
  • Freeform
  • Fuse 
  • HGTV
  • History Channel
  • IFC
  • Investigation Discovery
  • Lifetime
  • Local Now
  • MotorTrend
  • Nick Jr.
  • Stadium
  • TBS
  • TNT
  • Travel Channel
  • Viceland

Blue & Orange Plan

You can also get both plans at once for the cost of $50 a month. That gives you 51 channels total, plus up to three concurrent streams at once and 50 hours of cloud DVR storage.

Add-on Plans

Sling TV has many add-on plans you can purchase to fill out your Blue, Orange, or Blue & Orange Plan. That includes add-on channel packages focused on kids, news, sports, comedy, and more. They cost between $6 to $11 extra.  You can also purchase access to premier movie channels like Starz, Epix, and Showtime, along with single channels a la carte for as little as $3 a month. Finally, you can buy DVR Plus, which increases your cloud DVR storage to 200 hours for $5 a month. You can check out a list of all of Sling TV’s add-on plans on its website.

Spanish and International Plans

Outside the main Blue and Orange Plans, Sling TV also offers separate Spanish and International programming plans. The Spanish plans start at $10 a month with over 20 channels in the main packages, with other plans also available. The International plans offer tons of channels from 23 different markets in Europe, Asia, the Middle East, and South America.

Sling TV for free and movie rentals

sling tv free
Sling TV

If you want to try out Sling TV, the service does offer an on-demand selection of its movies and TV shows, plus live news channels, that you can access for free. That content does include ads, however. You can also rent recent movies from the service’s online store without having to sign up for one of Sling TV’s plans.

Read more: How to watch or stream local TV channels

Sling TV – Other features and hardware

Cloud DVR

As we mentioned, Sling TV plans include at least 50 hours of video storage for its cloud DVR. The service works with most of its channels, although it won’t work with the Local Now, ESPN3, ACC Network Extra, and SEC Network Plus channels at the moment. You can also pause live TV on most channels as well. For $5 a month more, you can not only increase the storage amount to 200 hours, but you can set up your recordings so they won’t disappear over time.

AirTV 2 and AirTV Mini

airtv 2
Sling TV

Sling TV also sells hardware products that can complement your service. The AirTV 2 is a $99.99 set-top box that connects to an over-the-air antenna. You can then use it to stream all the local over-the-air channels to your Sling TV screen. Unfortunately, this will not work if you use Sling TV on your Xbox Series S/X console, your PC, your Apple TV box, or your Samsung or LG smart TVs. You can also buy it on Amazon.

airtv mini
Sling tV

The AirTV Mini is basically an Android TV-based dongle for $79.99. However, when connecting it to your TV, its interface includes full integration with the Sling TV service. It’s also available at Amazon.

Sling TV Watch Party

sling tv watch party
Sling TV

If you use the service on a Windows or Mac PC, you can host or join a Sling TV Watch Party. This allows you to watch content on the service, including live shows, with family and friends remotely. A host can invite up to three family or friends for a watch party, and all four people can see each other and chat via voice. Family and friends can join up to three watch parties for free.

Alternatives

There are plenty of live TV streaming services, some of which offer more channels and features than Sling TV. Here’s a look at some of them:

Frndly TV

frndlytv share
Frndly

This service offers over 30 family-friendly live TV channels, including the Hallmark Channel lineup, starting at just $6.99 a month. It’s definitely cheaper, but the much smaller channel lineup compared to Sling TV, plus no local channels, may be a deal-breaker.

Philo TV

Philo TV stock photo 1
Edgar Cervantes / Android Authority

Philo TV overs a lot more channels than either one of Sling TV’s main plans. You can watch over 60 channels for just $25 a month. However, there are no options to add local channels, and the service’s add-on options are also well behind Sling TV.

FuboTV

FuboTV stock photo 1
Edgar Cervantes / Android Authority

FuboTV offers at least over 100 live channels. It also offers all of the local broadcast channels in many markets, and supports 4K streaming. It’s especially good if you love live sports. However, the cost of the service starts at $65, which makes it much more expensive than Sling TV.

YouTube TV

YouTube TV stock image 2
Edgar Cervantes / Android Authority

Google’s YouTube TV starts at $64.99 a month, which is much higher than either of Sling TV’s main plans. It does have over 85 live TV channels for that price, including local, sports, and major news channels. It also offers unlimited cloud DVR services and support for playing up to three devices at once. There’s also support for adding movie channels and 4K viewing and recording for additional fees. While it is much more expensive than Sling TV, you could make an argument that you are getting quite a bit for the money.

Check out: YouTube TV vs. Sling

Hulu Plus Live TV

Hulu stock photo green background 2
Edgar Cervantes / Android Authority

Hulu Plus Live TV  starts at $69.99 a month, which is much more expensive than Sling TV. You can watch over 80 live TV channels, including local channels. As a bonus, you can also watch all of the on-demand  TV shows and movies on the Hulu streaming service as well. You also get 50 hours of Cloud DVR storage for that price. You can add features like movie channels, up to 200 hours of DVR storage, and unlimited device streams at home for additional fees. That price also gets you the Disney Plus-Hulu-ESPN Plus bundle which throws in two more streaming services.

Is Sling TV worth it? Pros and Cons

Pros – It’s affordable

There’s no doubt that Sling TV costs a lot less overall than its biggest rivals in Hulu Plus Live TV and YouTube TV. If you don’t have a lot of money to spend, it’s perhaps the best service to get, since it not only offers a good selection of live TV channels, but even offers some local TV stations in some markets.

Pros – Has completely free content

Sling TV has a lot of on-demand content, like movies and TV shows, that are available for anyone to watch for free. It also has a small selection of live TV shows, mostly in news.

Pros – Large selection of international channels

If you want to check out content from beyond the US, Sling TV offers that as well, with a lot of international channel bundles to choose from.

Cons – Not all local channels are available

Not all NBC or Fox local channels are available in all markets for Sling TV, and there is no access at all for NBC and CBS local channels. If you sign up for Sling TV you will need to get Peacock and Paramount Plus for your local channels.

Cons – No HBO Channels 

Hulu Plus Live TV and YouTube TV both have options to add HBO to their channels as add-ons. If you sign up for Sling TV and want HBO, you will need to sign up for HBO Max separately.

Cons – No 4K streaming

Hulu Plus Live TV and YouTube TV have support for at least some live 4K content, and much more for 1080p live streaming. Sling TV caps its live streams at 720p, with just some on-demand content at 1080p. If you want higher resolution movies and TV shows on your big screen TV, Sling TV is not the best choice.

Read more: How to cancel Sling TV

The Bottom Line: Is Sling TV a Good Option?

sling tv big screen tv
Sling TV

Overall, Sling TV is an excellent way to cut the cord from the more expensive cable or satellite TV service. It’s definitely worth it if you want live TV channels on your phone, tablet, or smart TV. In particular, the Sling Blue $35 a month plan, with its over 40 channels, three concurrent device streams, and limited access to local Fox and NBC stations, is an excellent package. The service does have some limitations, but for the vast majority of folks who want to cut the cord from their cable or satellite TV service, Sling TV offers nearly everything they would want.

Sling TV – Other FAQs

Q: Does Sling TV have parental control features?
A: No, the service does not have parental features at this time.

Q: Is Sling TV available in 4K?
A: No, there is no content available in 4K resolution. Live TV shows are limited to 720p resolution, and the on-demand video content goes up to 1080p resolution.

Q: Does the service have ads?
A: Live TV channels have the same commercials on their cable, satellite, and internet services.

Q: What are the service’s internet download speed requirements?
A: The speed requirements are as follows:

  • 3Mbps – SD quality video
  • 7Mbps – One HD quality video
  • 13Mbps – Multiple HD quality videos