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Sling TV Review 2019

Sling TV | 2019’s Best Live TV Streaming Services

Price
$25–$40/mo.

(4 /5)

Pros

  • Most channels of any streaming service
  • Discounts on first 3 months
  • Up to 4 simultaneous streams

Cons

  • Essential channels missing from base packages
  • Confusing add-on packages
  • On-demand content that’s difficult to navigate

Data effective 4/24/19. Offers and availability may vary by location and are subject to change.

The bottom line

Sling TV can get you more channels than any other streaming service, but all its add-on packages add up fast. Plus, you might have a hard time getting the channels you want with all the hoops Sling TV requires you to jump through.

Luckily, we’re here to clear that all up for you. Let’s go.

Sling TV promotions

Today’s Sling TV ads make it look like a total steal. At $15 per month for either of Sling TV’s base plans, it’s even cheaper than the notoriously affordable Philo.

Here’s the catch: this deal is only for new customers, and you get those prices for only three months. After that, the discount goes bye-bye, and Sling TV jacks you up to the regular rates. But take comfort in the fact that you can cancel at any time.

Sling TV’s 3-mo. deal

Normal priceSale priceSavings
Our Pick
Orange & Blue
View Plan
$40/mo.$25/mo.$15/mo
Sling Orange
View Plan
$25/mo.$15/mo.$10/mo.
Sling Blue
View Plan
$25/mo.$15/mo.$10/mo.
Our Pick
Orange & Blue
View Plan
Normal price$40/mo.
Sale price$25/mo.
Savings$15/mo
Sling Orange
View Plan
Normal price$25/mo.
Sale price$15/mo.
Savings$10/mo.
Sling Blue
View Plan
Normal price$25/mo.
Sale price$15/mo.
Savings$10/mo.

Another way to save with Sling TV is the 4 Extras Deal.

With this add-on, you get the Kids Extras, Comedy Extra, News Extras, and Lifestyle Extra add-ons for only $10 per month. That’s another $10 per month in savings for an extra 39 to 43 channels per month.

Sling TV plans

PriceLive channelsCloud DVRStreams
Our Pick
Orange & Blue
View Plan
$40/mo.48Not included4

Sling Orange
View Plan
$25/mo.30Not included1

Sling Blue
View Plan
$25/mo.42Not included3
Our Pick
Orange & Blue
View Plan
Price$40/mo.
Live channels48
Cloud DVRNot included
Streams4

Sling Orange
View Plan
Price$25/mo.
Live channels30
Cloud DVRNot included
Streams1

Sling Blue
View Plan
Price$25/mo.
Live channels42
Cloud DVRNot included
Streams3

Offers and availability may vary by location and are subject to change.

Sling TV starts you off with three package options, which you can then garnish with dozens of add-ons.

You’ll find that each package offers you something a little different. Sling Orange includes Disney (Sling Blue doesn’t), and Sling Blue has NBC and FOX networks (not so with Sling Orange).

However, with any Sling TV plan you can log into any apps for the channels you’re subscribed to. This is a great way to keep up with things like sports events. Sling Blue in particular makes keeping up with the World Cup and the Olympics a breeze.

But the dividing of essential channels is why we recommend getting both packages together. You get all the basic channels, and toppings like Sports Extra will come with more channels when you have Orange & Blue. But this isn’t like the condiments bar at your local taco shop—the extras get pricey fast.

But CableTV.com, why would Sports Extra come with more channels when you have Orange & Blue? The add-on name is the same, so why aren’t the channels?

Great questions! The short answer is that Sling TV is wack.

The long answer is that Sling TV assigns specific channels to Sling Orange and Sling Blue—even when it comes to add-ons and extras. That leaves you with a lot of gaps in your add-on packages unless you get Orange & Blue.

Here’s an example with the rundown of differences between the 4 Extras Deals:

  • Sling Orange is missing MSNBC, CNBC, France 24, NDTV 24×7, and Oxygen.
  • Sling Blue is missing Fusion, HLN, Weather Nation, Disney Junior, Disney XD, and Nick Jr.
  • Orange & Blue has all the combined channels of both packages.

Sling TV channels

On top of Sling TV assigning Disney, NBC, and FOX channels to specific packages, it’s missing out on two big channels: HBO® and CINEMAX®.

Those channels belong to AT&T, which has its own livestreaming service, DIRECTV NOW. It seems AT&T wants to keep its competition down by playing keep-away with these channels.

If you’re an HBO fan, no worries. You can subscribe to HBO NOW, a separate streaming service, for $14.99 per month, which is about how much most providers charge for the channel.

There’s not a similar CINEMAX streaming service yet, but we’ll keep you updated.

On-demand shows and movies

Sling TV has plenty of on-demand shows and movies, but you’ll have to hunt them down.

Because Sling TV doesn’t have an on-demand section with shows separated into genre, you’ll either have to enter shows into the search bar until you hit gold or find particular channels’ shows like this:

  • Head over to the Guide tab.
  • At the top of the page, switch from Grid to Channel.
  • Scroll past Schedule.
  • Choose from the channel’s genres, like Documentary, or sections labeled On Demand or Available Now.

Good luck with your search. It’s absolutely ridiculous you have to jump through all these hoops just to find an on-demand show to watch.

Sling TV live sports

Unlike the on-demand content, sports are super easy to sort through on Sling TV. Under the Sports tab, you’ll find live games organized by sport. There’s even a Talks & Analysis section with shows like SportsCenter and Highly Questionable.

Unfortunately, you can’t get ESPN with FOX and NBC channels unless you get the Orange & Blue package. You might also want to add on Sports Extra for specialty channels like Pac-12 Network.

Included sports channels

Sports channelsSling OrangeSling BlueOrange & Blue
ACC Network Extra
ESPN
ESPN2
ESPN3
FOX
FOX Sports 1
FOX Sports 2
NBC
NBC Sports
NBCSN
NFL Network
Stadium
TNT
Sports channelsACC Network Extra
Sling Orange
Sling Blue
Orange & Blue
Sports channelsESPN
Sling Orange
Sling Blue
Orange & Blue
Sports channelsESPN2
Sling Orange
Sling Blue
Orange & Blue
Sports channelsESPN3
Sling Orange
Sling Blue
Orange & Blue
Sports channelsFOX
Sling Orange
Sling Blue
Orange & Blue
Sports channelsFOX Sports 1
Sling Orange
Sling Blue
Orange & Blue
Sports channelsFOX Sports 2
Sling Orange
Sling Blue
Orange & Blue
Sports channelsNBC
Sling Orange
Sling Blue
Orange & Blue
Sports channelsNBC Sports
Sling Orange
Sling Blue
Orange & Blue
Sports channelsNBCSN
Sling Orange
Sling Blue
Orange & Blue
Sports channelsNFL Network
Sling Orange
Sling Blue
Orange & Blue
Sports channelsStadium
Sling Orange
Sling Blue
Orange & Blue
Sports channelsTNT
Sling Orange
Sling Blue
Orange & Blue

Add-on channels with Sports Extra


Sports channels
Sling OrangeSling BlueOrange & Blue
beIN SPORTS
ESPN Bases Loaded
ESPN Goal Line
ESPNEWS
ESPNU
Golf Channel
MLB Network
MLB Network Strike Zone
NBA TV
NFL RedZone
NHL Network
Olympic Channel
Outside Television
Pac-12
SEC Network
SEC Network+
Tennis Channel

Sports channels
beIN SPORTS
Sling Orange
Sling Blue
Orange & Blue

Sports channels
ESPN Bases Loaded
Sling Orange
Sling Blue
Orange & Blue

Sports channels
ESPN Goal Line
Sling Orange
Sling Blue
Orange & Blue

Sports channels
ESPNEWS
Sling Orange
Sling Blue
Orange & Blue

Sports channels
ESPNU
Sling Orange
Sling Blue
Orange & Blue

Sports channels
Golf Channel
Sling Orange
Sling Blue
Orange & Blue

Sports channels
MLB Network
Sling Orange
Sling Blue
Orange & Blue

Sports channels
MLB Network Strike Zone
Sling Orange
Sling Blue
Orange & Blue

Sports channels
NBA TV
Sling Orange
Sling Blue
Orange & Blue

Sports channels
NFL RedZone
Sling Orange
Sling Blue
Orange & Blue

Sports channels
NHL Network
Sling Orange
Sling Blue
Orange & Blue

Sports channels
Olympic Channel
Sling Orange
Sling Blue
Orange & Blue

Sports channels
Outside Television
Sling Orange
Sling Blue
Orange & Blue

Sports channels
Pac-12
Sling Orange
Sling Blue
Orange & Blue

Sports channels
SEC Network
Sling Orange
Sling Blue
Orange & Blue

Sports channels
SEC Network+
Sling Orange
Sling Blue
Orange & Blue

Sports channels
Tennis Channel
Sling Orange
Sling Blue
Orange & Blue

Sling TV local channels

Sling Blue and Orange & Blue can hook you up with FOX and NBC—as long as you’re in one of the areas Sling TV airs those local channels.

If you’re not around one of the lucky cities or you want more local channel options, you’ll need to go the over-the-air (OTA) TV route. Fortunately, Sling TV offers an OTA antenna when you subscribe and prepay for three months.

You can also check out our recommendations for OTA antennas and DVRs.

Sling TV channel add-ons

Sling TV has a lot of add-ons, but your potential add-ons change depending on which base package you get. For example, Sports Extra with Sling Orange gets ESPN extras and SEC Network. Sling Blue doesn’t get those, but it does get NFL RedZone.

On top of that confusion, Sling TV drops the ball on premium channels. As we mentioned earlier, you can’t get HBO® or CINEMAX® through Sling TV, but you can get the following à la carte channels:

  • SHOWTIME® for $10/mo.
  • STARZ® for $9/mo.
  • EPIX® for $5/mo.

Sling TV also has more total channels than any other streaming provider, even without HBO and CINEMAX. In addition to the add-on packs below, there are a bunch of foreign language packs to diversify your viewing:

Add-on packagePriceExample channels
Sports Extra (Sling Orange)$5/mo.ESPNEWS, ESPNU, NHL Network, Pac-12 Network, SEC Network, etc.
Sports Extra (Sling Blue)$10/mo.Golf Channel, NFL Red Zone, NHL Network, Pac-12 Network, etc.
Kids Extra$5/mo.Disney Junior, Disney XD, Nick Jr., Nicktoons, etc.
Comedy Extra (Sling Orange)$5/mo.CMT, GSM, MTV, truTV, TV Land, etc.
Comedy Extra (Sling Blue)$5/mo.CMT, Logo, GSN, MTV, MTV2, etc.
News Extra$5/mo.BBC World News, TheBlaze, HLN, etc.
Lifestyle Extra$5/mo.DIY Network, FYI, Hallmark Channel, VH1, etc.
4 Extras Deal$10/mo.Includes Kids Extras, Comedy Extra, News Extras, and Lifestyle Extra
Hollywood Extra$5/mo.HDNet, REELZ, SundanceTV, TCM, etc.
Heartland Extra$5/mo.Sportsman Channel, Outdoor Channel, etc.
Best of Spanish TV (Sling Orange)$5/mo.ESPN Deportes, EstrellaTV, Pasiones, Vme Kids, etc.
Best of Spanish TV (Sling Blue)$5/mo.Azteca, EstrellaTV, ¡HOLA! TV, Universo, etc.
Nba League Pass$29/mo.Out-of-market regular season games
Nba Team Pass$18/mo.Out-of-market regular season games for one team of your choice
Add-on packageSports Extra (Sling Orange)
Price$5/mo.
Example channelsESPNEWS, ESPNU, NHL Network, Pac-12 Network, SEC Network, etc.
Add-on packageSports Extra (Sling Blue)
Price$10/mo.
Example channelsGolf Channel, NFL Red Zone, NHL Network, Pac-12 Network, etc.
Add-on packageKids Extra
Price$5/mo.
Example channelsDisney Junior, Disney XD, Nick Jr., Nicktoons, etc.
Add-on packageComedy Extra (Sling Orange)
Price$5/mo.
Example channelsCMT, GSM, MTV, truTV, TV Land, etc.
Add-on packageComedy Extra (Sling Blue)
Price$5/mo.
Example channelsCMT, Logo, GSN, MTV, MTV2, etc.
Add-on packageNews Extra
Price$5/mo.
Example channelsBBC World News, TheBlaze, HLN, etc.
Add-on packageLifestyle Extra
Price$5/mo.
Example channelsDIY Network, FYI, Hallmark Channel, VH1, etc.
Add-on package4 Extras Deal
Price$10/mo.
Example channelsIncludes Kids Extras, Comedy Extra, News Extras, and Lifestyle Extra
Add-on packageHollywood Extra
Price$5/mo.
Example channelsHDNet, REELZ, SundanceTV, TCM, etc.
Add-on packageHeartland Extra
Price$5/mo.
Example channelsSportsman Channel, Outdoor Channel, etc.
Add-on packageBest of Spanish TV (Sling Orange)
Price$5/mo.
Example channelsESPN Deportes, EstrellaTV, Pasiones, Vme Kids, etc.
Add-on packageBest of Spanish TV (Sling Blue)
Price$5/mo.
Example channelsAzteca, EstrellaTV, ¡HOLA! TV, Universo, etc.
Add-on packageNba League Pass
Price$29/mo.
Example channelsOut-of-market regular season games
Add-on packageNba Team Pass
Price$18/mo.
Example channelsOut-of-market regular season games for one team of your choice

Sling TV specs and features

While Sling TV’s cloud DVR lacks oomph, its number of compatible devices means your current streaming device will probably work just fine.

No streaming device? Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered with a run-down of the best ones.

Sling TV cloud DVR

PlansStoragePrice
Cloud DVR50 hrs.$5/mo.
PlansCloud DVR
Storage50 hrs.
Price$5/mo.

Unlike most streaming live TV services out there, Sling TV doesn’t come with a cloud DVR. Instead, you have to pay $5 per month for the feature, and it allows you to store only 50 hours.

That’s not even enough space for three seasons of Gilmore Girls. And some of us need more Lorelai than that.

Sling TV multiple streams

PlansStreamsPrice
Sling Orange1$25/mo.
Sling Blue3$25/mo.
Orange & Blue4$40/mo.
PlansSling Orange
Streams1
Price$25/mo.
PlansSling Blue
Streams3
Price$25/mo.
PlansOrange & Blue
Streams4
Price$40/mo.

We’ll just say it—it’s annoying that Sling TV made such a vast difference between its packages.

If you’ve got kids, you’re probably going to want Sling Orange for Disney Channel. But that means you don’t get to watch Sling TV while the kiddos are. Sling Orange’s one-stream limit strong-arms families into the Orange & Blue package.

But if you wanted Orange & Blue anyway, four streams beat out most competitors, except for Hulu + Live TV and PlayStation Vue—which have their own problems with on-the-go restrictions.

Keep in mind that even with Orange & Blue, you’ll be able to stream only one Sling Orange channel at a time and up to three Sling Blue channels.

Wait—what?

Yes, Sling TV still treats Sling Orange and Sling Blue as separate services, even if they’re in a bundle package. This is a monstrous limitation, and we hate it.

Sling TV compatible streaming devices

You can download the Sling TV app on just about any streaming and mobile device you can think of.

As for gaming consoles, Sling TV is only available on Xbox One, but being available on just one console is par for the course with streaming apps.

All things considered, Sling TV is great if you have a lot of different devices you want to stream from.

  • AirTV Player
  • Amazon Fire mobile
  • Amazon Fire TV
  • Android mobile
  • Android TV
  • Apple TV
  • Azulle
  • Chromecast
  • iOS mobile
  • iPod Touch
  • Roku
  • Windows phones
  • Xbox One
  • LG TVs
  • Samsung TVs
  • Vizio Smartcast TVs
  • Xiaomi Mi TVs

Sling TV video quality

Most of Sling TV’s channels come in the DVD-quality 720p. It’s not terrible, but if you’ve been spoiled with 1080 HD (more or less standard these days) or 4K Ultra HD, you’ll notice the difference.

Like many streaming services, Sling TV changes its video quality to match your internet download speeds. It has a few recommended minimums:

  • 3 Mbps for on-the-go watching
  • 5 Mbps for a single stream on TV, PC, or Mac
  • 25 Mbps for households with multiple internet-using devices

Even if you have a 25 Mbps internet plan, keep in mind that your internet speeds might still slow during peak usage times—like in the evenings, when your neighbors are all streaming too.

Also, download speeds usually drop when you’re using Wi-Fi. This writer had to break out a good old-fashioned Ethernet cord to stream without buffering pauses.

Sling TV interface

The front page of Sling TV makes it easy to find what’s playing on your favorite channels, see the new recordings on your DVR, and pick up with your last show. If you scroll down, you’ll get a bunch of recommendations too, which is nice when you’re in the mood for something fresh.

The On Now tab seems unnecessary since there’s already a Guide tab that shows all the live-playing shows. However, On Now helpfully breaks down these shows by genre.

Can you imagine how incredible it would be to have that for on-demand shows? (This is the part where we look pointedly into the camera like we’re on The Office.)

On to the next tab, the Guide’s Grid and Channel breakdowns are each a little different from each other.

Grid is the usual TV-guide style with what’s playing now and what’s next. You can even filter it by genre to scan your current interests.

And the Channel breakdown is where you can find both live and on-demand shows by channel. Genre filtering is alive and well here, too.

From the Sports tab, you can see current games broken down by sport, as well as currently playing commentary shows.

Finally, Rentals offers a bunch of the latest movies and some great classics as well.

Overall, the interface takes some getting used to. It’s easy to navigate on a computer but a little over-involved for our remote-using tastes.

Our final take

With all its offered channels, Sling TV almost certainly has what you want to watch (as long as that’s not HBO or CINEMAX). The packages are a bit of a headache, though, especially when they affect what you can get in add-on packages.

Trying to give users everything they want is an admirable goal, but Sling TV needs to work on streamlining that process so it doesn’t leave you on the ground with your head spinning.

Sling TV FAQ

Does Sling TV have commercials?

Sling TV’s live shows air just the same as they would on cable TV, commercials included.

But if you record shows to your DVR, you can fast-forward through commercials. It even offers a 30-second skip-ahead button to make the process easier.

Also, the on-demand library comes commercial-free. That’s common among TV services, but still a nice break from the parade of products and services.

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