Updated May 27, 2021

Sling TV Review: Pros and Cons

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Sling TV offers live TV streaming at a low price. But is it good? Read this review to learn the pros and cons.

Sling TV Promo Code
50% Off Your First Month of Sling TV

Overall Score

4.1

Price

4.0

Selection

4.0

Contract

5.0

Ease of Use

4.0

Live News

3.5

Live Sports

4.0
5-point scale (the higher, the better)

Pros and Cons

  • Low entry price
  • Highly customizable plans
  • No contracts
  • Local channels limited
  • No offline playback
  • No DVR on some channels

Bottom Line

Cheap no-contract streaming TV app for casual viewers

If you hate the idea of sending a big payment to the cable or satellite TV company every month, join the crowd.

You may love TV, but hate paying big bucks for it.

Many people say "cord cutting" with a lot of glee. The process of cord-cutting involves canceling your cable or satellite TV service. Then, you can replace it with streaming TV service.

One of the most well-known bundled streaming TV services is Sling TV.

It has multiple tiers of service. This allows you to save money while still receiving a chunk of your favorite channels. And all you need is a reliable connection.

How Sling Works

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Sling TV is a streaming service. It offers a much more streamlined lineup of pay-TV channels versus a typical cable or satellite package. So it can be offered at a lower price.

A skinny bundle doesn't have a bunch of taxes or hardware fees associated with it either, allowing for a lower price point.

The DISH Network satellite service owns and offers the Sling TV service. Much like DIRECTV offers the DIRECTV Stream skinny bundle service. There are other skinny bundles available too, as we'll outline later.

What internet speed do you need for Sling?
To stream on your mobile or tablet, it's best that your internet speed is at least 3 Mbps. For single streams on a TV or laptop, it's recommended that your speed is at least 5 Mbps, and 25 Mbps for families with multiple devices.[1]

You won't have a set-top box with Sling TV. But you may need some hardware to receive the signal. Sling TV will run over an app on an iOS or Android mobile device. You can also run it over a traditional large-screen TV with hardware.

What devices are compatible with Sling TV?
You can stream Sling TV straight on your laptop, tablet, or phone. If you want to watch on your TV, you can connect to the service with a number of devices, including Roku, Apple TV, Amazon fire TV, Chromecast, and XBOX One.

See Sling's page for a complete list of supported devices.

Sling TV Tiers

Sling TV offers tiered TV, where you pick the tiers that contain the channels you want. A few packages are available with Sling:

  • Sling Orange ($35 per month). Has 31 channels, including ESPN, Disney, and Comedy Central. This tier only supports one single stream.

  • Sling Blue ($35 per month). Has 41 channels, including Fox Sports, NBC, and National Geographic. This tier supports 3 streams at once.

  • Sling Orange + Blue ($50 per month). Has 47 channels, including everything from both Sling Orange and Sling Blue packages.

See Current Offer >>

Channels in each tier change from time to time, so visit the Sling TV web site to see the current channel lineups. Beyond that, you can add bundles for $6+ per month in categories like sports, news, comedy, lifestyle, kids, movies, and Spanish. You can also get premium subscription channels.[2]

Some of the tiers have frustrating overlaps of channels. But most of the popular cable and satellite TV channels are available in a tier somewhere on Sling TV.

Can you get local channels with Sling?
Local programming from FOX and NBC are only available in select locations. You must be a Sling Blue subscriber. If they're not available in your area, you can still watch them with an over-the-air (OTA) antenna. Channels such as CBS, the CW, or PBS are also available with an OTA antenna.

Sling App

You can stream Sling TV straight from the app on your mobile phone or tablet (either iOS or Android). The app allows you to watch on the go anytime, anywhere. As long as you have an internet connection. Some features of the app include:

  • Access to your live TV channels
  • Access to more than 70,000 titles in the on-demand library
  • Watch movies on-demand or rent new releases
  • Record up to 50 hours for free with cloud DVR Free
  • Stream international content, with 20 languages to choose from
  • Pause shows and continue from where you left off

Sling TV Promotions

Reasons to Subscribe to Sling TV

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Sling TV comes with many benefits. Check them out to see if it fits your needs. And if it doesn't, you still have a range of other recommended services below.

It's Cheap

Most people make the switch to a service like Sling because they're looking to save money. With the basic tier starting at only $35 per month, you save quite a bit by avoiding a satellite or cable bill that often tops $100 per month.

No Extra Fees

Cable and satellite TV providers do an excellent job of hiding extra fees in the bill. You won't have to worry about these extra fees for Sling TV.

You will have to provide your own hardware and your own internet connection, which may have its own collection of hidden fees. But extra fees on the bill aren't a part of the Sling TV subscription.

No Contract

If you dislike the idea of being locked into your TV service for 12 or 24 months, Sling TV is a great idea. With skinny bundles and streaming TV services, you can start the service or cancel at any time. You don't have to worry about being hit with a huge disconnection fee.

Multiple Screens & Package Options

Beyond running the programming on a large-screen TV, it's easy to watch your Sling TV on mobile or your computer. The service runs directly inside a web browser window now. It also has an app for use with mobile devices.

The Orange service only allows one stream. You can watch on only one device at a time. The Blue service allows up to 3 streams, so multi-person households can watch on 3 different devices at once.

On top of the two basic tiers, Sling offers so many different mini-bundles. So, you're really in control of your TV channel lineup. You have many different options available.

Storage & Replay Features

Sling TV doesn't have the traditional DVR hardware you'd find with satellite or cable service, but it offers a cloud DVR storage option. For now, you can record up to 50 hours for free using the cloud-based DVR Free service.[3] This function is not available on all channels.

A lot of channels have a 3-day replay feature. You can replay content that has aired in the past three days. So if you missed a show, you still have a chance to catch up. But this is not available for all channels.

Try-Before-You-Buy Option

For new and former Sling subscribers, you can test Sling TV for free, but it isn't always available. If you cancel within the free period, you will pay nothing. This is a great way to test the service on your Internet service and hardware to see whether you have a good experience.

How Sling Compares to Other Streaming Services

Sling TV streams live TV channels over the internet, instead of over cable or satellite. So all you need is a good internet connection.

Sling TV offers a much more streamlined channel lineup, so it can be offered at a lower price starting at just $35/month. You can customize your lineup with extra channel packs.

Other Streaming Services to Consider

If you would like to look beyond Sling, there are many different options for streaming services. You can likely find an exact service that can meet your needs.

Amazon Prime
If you need further evidence that Amazon is taking over the world, we present Amazon Prime. This is the same service that gives you free two-day shipping on any of your purchases from Amazon. As an added benefit, you receive Amazon Video downloads.

Amazon has greatly expanded its offerings of original programming for streaming. However, if you're looking for live TV on popular channels like AMC or ESPN, Amazon Prime does not offer this.

DirecTV Stream
DirecTV Stream is one of the most extensive streaming services available, offering a wide range of popular channels in many different categories at a lower price than the full DirecTV service.

DirecTV Stream has added local channels for many locations in the United States. For new subscribers to DirecTV Stream, all plans now included unlimited cloud DVR storage.

FuboTV Premier
FuboTV works best for sports fans, as you will receive numerous regional sports networks that carry the local pro teams. You'll also receive channels like FX and SyFy. Adding channels like NFL Network will cost a bit extra.

Hulu Live
The Hulu Live streaming service builds on the original Hulu service, which carries a lot of older TV shows.

Hulu Live now carries live programming from several popular channels, including A&E, FX, Disney, and ESPN. It has local channels available in a limited number of locations now, but it is steadily increasing this number.

Netflix
Netflix is similar to Amazon Prime, offering a lot of original programming, including extremely popular shows like Orange Is the New Black and Stranger Things. It doesn't have live pay-TV channels, but it has an extensive collection of older TV shows and movies that you can stream.

Philo
This newer streaming service is an anti-sports service, offering channels like A&E, AMC, and HGTV, but no ESPN.

PlayStation Vue
If you already own a PlayStation gaming system, Vue is a perfect streaming system for you. It runs through the gaming hardware.

There are multiple programming packages available with live pay-TV channels. But some upper tiers can be pretty pricey. This service has several locations where it is offering local channels.

YouTube TV
The newer YouTube TV has live TV channels and looks to compete with DirecTV Stream, Vue, and Sling. Because this service is so new, its channel lineups are in a bit of flux. You will receive stations like Disney, ESPN, and USA for now, but more channels are on the way.

Reasons to Consider Other Pay-TV Options

You Don't Have a Fast Internet Connection
One of the biggest frustrations for Sling customers is spotty connection quality and service. If you don't have an exceptionally reliable and fast Internet connection, the video skips and intermittent outages will be incredibly frustrating.

Those who live in rural areas almost certainly will not have a reliable enough Internet connection to use Sling. Some high-demand programming, such as the college football championship game, has had reliability issues in the past as well.

You Rely on Search and Guides
There's no interactive, TV guide available through Sling TV like you'll find with cable or satellite TV. And the service's search feature is not overly accurate. This can be a major frustration for a lot of people.

You're Not Handy with Hardware
If you don't feel comfortable setting up your own account and hardware, you may not like skinny bundles. There's no technician you can call to come out to do the setup process for you.

Fortunately, the hardware requirements are extremely simple with Sling. Even those with an aversion to technology can likely handle the process.

You Want Local Channels
Sling TV offers local channels in some locations, but not a lot of them. To receive those channels, you'll need an over-the-air antenna. The service is adding more areas for local channels constantly, though.

Complaints and Common Problems

  • Still getting charged after cancellation. Some users reported problems with canceling. If you canceled your subscription but still got charged, please contact Sling TV so they can look into the issue.

  • Not loading/crashing. Some users complain that Sling crashes in the middle of their show and they can't go back to finish it. Or that they have trouble staying connected. To minimize this, make sure your internet speed is reliable and fast enough to support streaming. Your speed should be at least 5 Mbps to stream.

  • Customer service. There are complaints about the customer service. Some users say that the reps cannot help them solve the problem.

FAQs

Are there local news channels?
Live local broadcast is only available in select markets. Orange customers can get ABC for an additional fee per month. Blue customers can get FOX and NBC in select markets. Outside of those markets, FOX and NBC are on-demand only.

Are there commercials?
Yes. Sling TV is like a streamed-down version of regular live TV. So it has all the commercials that a regular cable or satellite TV service would have. You cannot skip commercials unless you have the cloud DVR.

Is there on-demand content?
Sling does have on-demand videos, available on select channels. If a channel has on-demand videos, it will show up in the channel details. The content is determined by the individual channels.

Are there on-demand movies?
Sling also offers the option to rent movies for an additional fee. Their library has everything from older movies and new releases. The rental price varies based on the movie.

Are there regional sports channels?
Blue customers receive FOX Regional Sports Networks based on their billing zip code.

Note: your Regional Sports Network may blackout certain games, as the blackout rules are determined by the leagues, sports associations, and networks that purchase the rights to the broadcasts.

Bottom Line

If you want to save some money on your cable or satellite TV bill, the Sling TV streaming bundle should make your shortlist. Sling has a multitude of different options, allowing you to set up your channel lineup however you want.

It's also one of the least expensive, at least for the basic tier. Having the option of starting your bundled streaming service for as low as $35 per month is pretty nice. Most people will end up spending more than $35, once they start adding in the extra tiers.

We'd like to see Sling TV have a more reliable signal. Its inability to run adequately at times on even average Internet connection speeds and streaming stick hardware is the biggest complaint. However, because of the low starting price Sling offers, we'd recommend you at least try it.

References

  1. ^ Sling TV. Internet Speed Recommendations, Retrieved 9/11/22
  2. ^ Sling TV. What are Sling Extras?, Retrieved 9/11/22
  3. ^ Sling TV. DVR Free & DVR Plus Features, Retrieved 9/11/22

Write to Kyle Schurman at feedback@creditdonkey.com. Follow us on Twitter and Facebook for our latest posts.

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