Sling TV is a game changer where television is concerned. Sling TV removes the need to be saddled with a cable package that has more channels than you want and a higher bill than you need. Services like Sling TV allow you to “cut the cord” without having to sacrifice your favorite cable shows or networks, and there’s no contract, just like with Netflix. Still, many might think the idea of a cable replacement is too good to be true. That’s the entire point of this Sling TV review. I went through the painstaking task of testing out the service and finding out all of the details so you wouldn’t have to. All you need to do is keep reading and decide for yourself.
In this Sling TV review, we will cover all of the important details of this service. We’ll answer the questions, what is Sling TV? Is Sling TV worth it? How much does Sling TV cost? What are the different Sling TV packages? We’ve also included details on the Sling TV lineup and the full Sling TV channels list. And don’t forget, you can try Sling TV free for 7 days to see if the service is right for you.
What is Sling TV?
As amazing as the idea of Sling TV is, it’s still relatively new (it came out in 2015), so it would make perfect sense if you were unfamiliar with the service. More and more people want to cut the cord and one of the biggest questions I get asked about cord cutting is, “What is Sling TV?” The short answer to this question is that Sling TV is a live streaming subscription service that works as a replacement to cable. In short, here’s how it works:
- Sling TV is an internet streaming service
- It lets you watch live TV without a cable or satellite subscription
- Prices start at $20 per month for 25+ channels (including ESPN, CNN, TNT, TBS, AMC, and more)
- Multiple Sling TV packages available
- No contract is required
- You use Sling TV on streaming devices (Roku/Apple TV/etc.) or on computers and smartphones
- You can get a free streaming device when you prepay for a few months in advance
- Watch from anywhere with an internet connection
- There is a free 7-day trial available
Rather than giving you a big package filled with channels you won’t watch and don’t need, Sling TV cuts the fat. You get fewer channels in the basic package, but you also pay a significantly smaller amount. In fact, with the base package (Sling Orange) you receive over 25 Sling TV channels and it costs $20. They have other packages that offer a bigger Sling TV lineup, so when all is said and done if you purchase all of them, you will have over 100 channels, and it will still be cheaper than most cable bills. It’s all about flexibility — pay for what you want to watch.
Best of all, Sling TV is non-contract. That means that there’s no need to commit to anything more than 1 month at a time, and no need to sign a 12+ month contract. Sling also won’t nickel-and-dime you with random fees and charges, as the Sling TV cost is set and simple. The price won’t go up as there’s no “introductory deal”. This greatly simplifies the entire process.
When I was preparing for this Sling TV review, I signed up for the free trial. Sling TV gives you 7-days to test out the service. Signing up is as simple as putting in some basic information. It’s so easy that within 10 minutes I was signed up and browsing the Sling TV features. SlingTV is a month-to-month service, with no contract required. You pick the package and/or channels you want and that’s what you pay each month. Canceling is as easy as clicking a button, so you can watch the NFL online and cancel at the end of the season if you wish.
Sling TV Features
In the most basic sense, Sling TV essentially provides you with live streaming of a wide variety of channels, similar to a basic cable subscription. Sling TV does offer some other special features that may be useful to you, as detailed below.
Full HD Streaming – As long as you have a good internet connection, you’ll enjoy clear, crisp images in full HD. Like all streaming services, the image quality only goes down if there’s a problem with your internet connection. 4K streaming is not yet available from Sling TV, just full HD 1080.
Live Streaming – All national channels included with Sling TV offer live streaming. In essence, this functions in much the same way as cable does; for example, whatever is airing for cable subscribers on ESPN right now, is also airing for Sling TV subscribers. The only exception is with Sling TV local channels, which we’ll discuss more later.
3-Day Replay – This handy feature doesn’t come on every channel, but on the ones it does, you can scroll back and see the full schedule for the previous three days and watch these episodes on-demand. On the plus side, this is an awesome feature, but not all channels offer this, which is a negative.
Cloud DVR – Sling TV recently launched a cloud DVR feature that allows users to record and watch live TV, and store up to 50 hours. The feature is not included by default, but is instead sold as an add-on feature for $5 a month. This feature is brand new and does not work on all devices yet, but coverage is expanding rapidly. Additionally, even without the DVR when you are live viewing you do have the ability to pause, rewind, and fast-forward on most channels. While this isn’t the same thing as recording, if you’re trying to speed through a show or need to pause for a moment, these are handy features to be able to use.
Flexible Channel Lineup – The Sling TV lineup is impressive, and many of our readers have commented that they love the flexibility of it all. Instead of being forced to buy a 100+ channel package, of which you might actually watch 30 channels, you can start with a small and affordable base package from Sling TV and then add on additional expansions, if desired. This allows for a lot more flexibility and customization in your Sling TV channel lineup.
On-Demand Content – SlingTV also offers on-demand content. So, while the cloud DVR isn’t live for everyone at this time, there is a good chance if you missed a show you can find it in the on-demand library. Also, if you add on specific channels, like HBO, the on-demand library will have as much of their content as the network provides. For instance, with HBO you’d have access to all of the HBO series episodes both past and current.
Premium Channels – Select premium channels, including HBO, are also available to add-on to your existing Sling TV lineup. These channels are not included in the basic package but can be added on. HBO costs $15 per month extra and gives you access to the entire HBO library. You can also get Showtime, Starz, EPIX and Cinemax through Sling TV.
Mobile Viewing – Sling TV offers mobile viewing. Really, you can watch SlingTV anywhere that has Wi-Fi or cell signal. It is able to be used on a variety of devices, so that really allows you a lot of options about how and where you want to watch your favorite shows. The device list is nearly endless including cell phones and tablets (Apple and Android), computers, smart TVs, and then there are endless amounts of streaming devices. Some of the more popular options include Chromecast, Amazon Fire devices, Xbox One, and Apple TV.
The Sling TV Devices List
Wondering what the Sling TV device selection looks like? The service is now compatible with a wide range of devices, which you can use to stream live TV on Roku, Apple TV, and a huge list of the best streaming devices. See below for the full list of compatible devices:
- Streaming players, including Apple TV, Amazon Fire TV, Roku, Chromecast, Android TV, Xiaomi, LeEco, AirTV, ZTE and Channel Master
- Phones & tablets, including iOS devices, Android devices, and Amazon Fire devices
- Gaming consoles, including Xbox One
- Laptops & computers, including Apple OSX, and Microsoft Windows devices. There is a Sling TV application that you can download, or you can watch in the Chrome web browser
- Google Chrome web browser, which means you can watch on Chromebooks and anything with a Chrome app
Sling TV is continually adding compatible devices, but chances are you already have one on the list above. If not, Sling TV has a great deal to consider:
- A FREE streaming device when you prepay for a few months of Sling TV
The Sling TV Channels List
For me personally, this is really what it all comes down to. I couldn’t honestly give a good Sling TV review if the channels available weren’t some of the best out there. Luckily, there are some channels here that I really missed when I cut the cord, so I really appreciated being able to have them back! There are a couple different Sling TV packages available, as detailed below. Note that the picture above includes all channels from the Sling Orange + Sling Blue package.
Sling Orange (free trial available) – this is the basic package that costs $20 a month. This package provides over 25 channels with highlights including ESPN, AMC, CNN, HGTV, Comedy Central, Cartoon Network/Adult Swim, History, Disney Channel, ESPN2, ESPN3, TNT, Food Network, TBS, BBC America, Freeform, IFC, EPIX Drive-In, Tribeca Shortlist, A&E, Viceland, Lifetime, Travel Channel, AXS.TV, Newsy, Cheddar, Bloomberg Television, Local Now, Flama, and Galavision.
Sling Blue (free trial available) – this is a larger package, containing 40 channels for $25 a month. It’s worth noting that there is a most channels that are in Sling Orange are also in Sling Blue, with the exception of ESPN, ESPN2, ESPN3, Disney Channel, and Freeform. So, there are some trade-offs both ways. For the ultimate selection, you’ll want Sling Orange + Sling Blue. The Sling Blue channel list is:
AMC, CNN, HGTV, Comedy Central, Cartoon Network/Adult Swim, History, TNT, Food Network, TBS, BBC America, IFC, EPIX Drive-In, Tribeca Shortlist, A&E, Viceland, Lifetime, Travel Channel, AXS.TV, Newsy, Cheddar, Bloomberg Television, Local Now, Flama, and Galavision, FOX (select markets), NBC (select markets), FOX Sports Regional networks (select markets), CSN regional networks (select markets), NFL Network, FX, USA, Bravo, FS1, FS2, NBCSN, FXX, SyFy, NickJr, El Rey Network, TruTV, BET, National Geographic, Nat Geo Wild, Univision and UniMas.
Sling Orange + Sling Blue (free trial available) – If you don’t want to sacrifice channels from either package you can combine the Sling Orange and Sling Blue packages. This combo package is $40 and includes all of the channels in both packages. They also allow for add-on channels and niche packages regardless of the plan you choose. These Sling TV packages are all $5-$15 per package/per month depending on the ones you choose.
Sling Multi-Extra Discount Add-on (free trial available) – This is an add-on package that can be added on to any of the above channel packages. It adds 40+ channels for $10 per month, and essentially just adds the Comedy Extra, Kids Extra, Lifestyle Extra, and World News Extra packages that are discussed below. This is a great bargain for the price, as these channel packs individually would cost $20 a month.
Sling TV Individual Add-on packages include:
- Cloud DVR: For $5 a month, you can get the cloud DVR feature to record and store up to 50 hours of shows.
- Best of Spanish TV: $5 for more than 20 channels including Cbeebies, Cine Sony, and Galavision
- Broadcast Extra: If you live in select markets you can get ABC, Univision, and UniMas for $5.
- Comedy Extra: You get seven channels for $5. Among them are TVLand, CMT, MTV, and Logo
- Hollywood Extra: If you want some movie channels you can get TCM, SundanceTV, and others for $5.
- Kids Extra: You get nine channels for $5 including Disney Junior, Boomerang, DisneyXD, & Nick Toons
- Lifestyle Extra: Here you get 13 channels for $5. You’ll get E!, Cooking Channel, FYI, WE tv and many more.
- Sports Extra: For $10 you get access to SEC Network, ESPNU, Golf Channel, ESPNEWS, NHL Network, NBA TV, and several other sports channels
- News Extra: BBC World News, HLN, MSNBC, and several other news channels for $5
- Heartland Extra: Adds World Fishing Network, Sportsman Channel, Outdoor Channel, RFD-TV, and others for $5 a month
- HBO: HBO costs $15 but is essentially like having HBO NOW. The complete HBO catalog is included and always available.
- Showtime: Showtime costs $10 per month, and adds 8 great Showtime channels for live streaming, as well as a huge on-demand library.
- Starz: Starz costs $9 per month, and adds 6 Starz channels to watch live; plus on-demand content.
- Cinemax: Cinemax is $10 and gives you access to everything you’d get with the cable’s MaxGo service. This includes full access to all of Cinemax’s original content.
- EPIX: EPIX will run you $5 a month for EPIX, EPIX 2 and EPIX HITS.
A variety of international channels are also available. For more information, see the full Sling TV channels list.
Remember, you can try it free for 7 days and test out any of the Sling TV packages they offer. Also, keep in mind that the Sling TV channel lineup is continually evolving and expanding. If you read older Sling TV reviews it’s quite likely that the information will be out of date.
Is There a Sling TV Free Trial?
Yes, indeed there is! Sling TV offers a free 7-day trial for any of their packages. Beyond that, there are also a few special deals that you may want to consider before signing up, such as A FREE streaming device when you prepay for a few months of Sling TV
And remember, Sling TV is non-contract. The free/discounted device deals require you to prepay for a few months in advance, but other than that, you will never have to commit to more than 1 month at a time, and it’s very easy to cancel Sling TV if you need to.
How Does the Sling TV DVR Work?
Sling TV has been rolling out a new cloud DVR feature, and fans are quite excited. Here is the info you need:
- Not included in standard plan; must add-on for additional $5 a month
- Includes 50 hours of storage
- When storage capacity is reached, your oldest recordings will automatically be deleted to make way for new ones
- AirTV players, Amazon Fire TVs and Fire tablets, Android TVs, Android mobile devices, Apple TVs, Roku™ streaming players, Roku TVs™, XBOX consoles and Windows 10 devices.
- DVR functionality may not be available on all channels
- DVR works on AirTV players, Amazon Fire TVs and Fire tablets, Android TVs, Android mobile devices, Apple TVs, Roku streaming players, Roku TVs, XBOX consoles and Windows 10 devices.
The Sling TV DVR is super easy to use. All you need to do is find a show or movie using the guide, select it, and press “record”. You can choose to record just that show, all future shows, or all future new shows (excluding reruns). The Sling TV DVR is quite new, so you won’t necessarily see this discussed much in other Sling TV reviews. You can check the FAQ for more info.
Is There a Sling TV Gift Card?
For those looking to give the gift of Sling TV, you’ll be happy to learn that there is now a Sling TV gift card available. It can be purchased in-store at select retailers, including Best Buy, GameStop, and Walmart. Denominations range from $25-$100 per card. That said, using a gift card might bypass the ability to get a Sling TV trial period.
Sling TV Review: Bottom Line
In this Sling TV review, we talked a lot about the features and benefits of Sling TV. On the whole, as far as streaming services go, Sling TV offers you something that very few subscription services do. You receive a true cable-like experience, being able to watch live streams of some of the most popular cable channels.
Bottom line, is Sling TV worth it? Absolutely! Sling TV is the most affordable alternative to cable, offers a great channel selection, and is one of the best – if not the best – ways to watch live TV without cable. It comes highly recommended by us and thousands of happy customers.