This article has been just updated: December 13, 2019
If you’re trying to cut down your monthly expenses, cord-cutting— canceling your cable or satellite TV subscription in favor of an alternative internet-based service—is among the first things you should consider.
It’s no secret that cable and satellite TV providers are charging their customer way too much for what they offer. According to Data provider S&P Global Market Intelligence, customers’ cable and satellite TV bills have soared 53 percent since 2007, to $100.98 in 2017. As if that wasn’t enough, the customers of most cable and satellite TV providers, including Comcast and AT&T, are expected to pay even more the next year.
The good news is that you’re not at the mercy of cable and satellite TV providers and their greedy pricing strategies. With Sling TV, you cat ditch cable or satellite TV for online video and save a lot of money each month in the process.
What Is Sling TV?
Sling TV is an American over-the-top internet television service that allows subscribers to watch many live and on-demand TV channels on a wide range of compatible devices. It was first introduced in 2015 at the Consumer Electronics Show. Whereas as cable and satellite TV services come on dedicated lines, Sling TV and other over-the-top internet television services come in over the internet. Sling TV states that you should have a broadband home internet connection of at least 5 Mbps (25 Mbps or higher is recommended) to enjoy the service.
Sling TV is owned by Dish Network, a US television provider that provided services to 13.7 million television and 580 thousand broadband subscribers. According to Dish, Sling TV is meant as a complement to subscription-based online services, including Netflix and Amazon Video, instead of being a full substitute for traditional cable and satellite TV.
Because Sling TV comes in over the internet, its picture quality is highly dependent on your internet connection. With a broadband home internet connection of at least 25 Mbps, you shouldn’t see much difference compared with most cable and satellite TV services. With a slower connection, you might encounter occasional picture quality drops and stutter. Audio is commonly available in stereo, but some video-on-demand (VOD) content is available in 5.1 surround sound.
As of now, Sling TV is only available in the US, and the company said that it had no plans to extend the availability to other countries for the foreseeable future.
Sling TV Pricing
With Sling TV, you don’t get to select which channels you want to pay for. Instead, your choice is limited to three packages:
- Sling Orange: Costs $25 per month and offers 22 channels, including ESPN and Disney. Sling Orange is limited to one simultaneous stream at a time.
- Sling Blue: Costs $25 per month and offers 35 channels, including Fox and NBC. Sling Blue is limited to three simultaneous streams.
- Sling Orange + Blue: Costs $40 per month and includes all channels from Sling Orange and Sling Blue. This package is limited to four simultaneous streams, but only one at a time of Orange channels.
In addition to these three packages, you can also purchase bundles of extra channels for $5 per bundle per month:
- Broadcast Extra: Unimas, Univision, ABC
- Sports Extra: Campus Insiders, NBA TV, NHL Network, Outside Television, Pac-12, Univision Deportes, beIN Sports, ESPN Bases Loaded, ESPN Buzzer Beater, ESPN Goal Line, ESPN-SEC Network, ESPN-SEC Network+, ESPNEWS, ESPNU, Motorsport TV, NFL Redzone, Golf Channel
- Comedy Extra: TruTV, CMT, GSN, Logo, MTV, MTV2, Spike, TV Land, El Rey
- Heartland Extra: FamilyNet, Outdoor Channel, PixL, RFD-TV, Sportsman Channel, World Fishing Network
- Hollywood Extra: Epix, Epix 2, Epix Drive-In, Epix Hits, Fandor Festival, HDNet Movies, Turner Classic Movies, Sundance TV
- Kids Extra: Nick Jr., BabyTV, Boomerang, DuckTV, NickTunes, Sling Kids, TeenNick, Disney Junior, Disney XD
- News Extra: BBC World News, CGTN, Euronews, France24, HLN, NDTV 24×7, News18, RT Network, TheBlaze, Fusion, CNBC, MSNBC
- Lifestyle Extra: BET, Cooking Channel, DIY Network, Hallmark Channel, Hallmark Movies & Mysteries, Lifetime Movie Network, VH1, Vibrant, We TV, Z Living HD, FYI, E!, Oxygen Network
There are also four premium channels:
- Cinemax: costs $10 a month with Sling Orange and $10 with Sling Blue
- Showtime: costs $10 a month with Sling Orange and $10 with Sling Blue
- HBO: costs $15 a month with Sling Orange and $15 with Sling Blue
- Starz: costs $9 a month with Sling Orange and $9 with Sling Blue
Sling TV Compatibility
Sling TV is compatible with a wide range of services:
- TV boxes: Roku (TVs, boxes and streaming sticks), Apple TV (2015 and newer only), Chromecast, Amazon Fire TV and Fire TV Stick, Xbox One, Android TV, Channel Master, Samsung Smart TV
- Mobile devices: all Android and iOS mobile devices
- Computers: all Windows and Mac computers
It’s not compatible with PlayStation (3 or 4), Xbox 360, and Apple TV (pre-2015 versions).
Benefits of Sling TV
The main benefit of Sling TV, when compared with cable and satellite TV services, is its low price. The service starts at just $25 a month, which is a bargain considering how many channels you get. Instead of depending on a cable box, you can watch Sling TV on many different connected devices, including your Smart TV, streaming box, game console, smartphone, tablet, or computer.
Because the user interface of Sling TV is similar to that of Netflix, finding interesting content is much easier. Instead of reading confusing titles and vague descriptions, you can simply scan your eyes over thumbnail images and instantly see what’s interesting and what’s not. The On Now section displays all shows that are currently airing, and an easy-to-use search function lets you find specific content in a matter of seconds.
There are no contracts to worry about, and you can cancel your subscription at any time with no penalties—no questions asked.
Downsides of Sling TV
The most important downside of Sling TV compared with cable and satellite TV services is the fact that you’re allowed to watch it from only one or three devices, depending on whether you go with the Sling Orange or the Sling Blue package respectively.
Let’s say you’re watching Sling TV in the living room and your spouse decides to connect from the bedroom. When Sling TV detects that someone else wants to connect to it, it lets you choose which device to continue streaming.
There’s also the fact that Sling TV comes with fewer channels than most cable and satellite TV services. Local channels are especially few and far between, which is why Sling TV encourages its customers to use an over-the-air antenna and control it with the Sling TV app.
Apart from local channels, you might also miss Animal Planet, Discovery channels, Fox News, MLB Network, Nickelodeon, OWN, TLC, and your favorite regional sports networks (RSNs).
If you feel that you’re paying way too much money for your cable or satellite TV subscription, Sling TV might be the ideal cord-cutting solution for you. Even though Sling TV recently increase the price of one of its packages, it still remains very affordable, offering a wide selection of popular channels and plenty of extras to boot. When combined with a subscription-based online service, such as Netflix and Amazon Video, Sling TV guarantees that your rainy Sunday afternoons and cozy winter evening will be anything but boring.