Sling TV is a cord cutter's dream come true. The live TV streaming service is one of the best cable TV alternatives in the market right now. Sling offers a live viewing experience similar to cable and satellite — at a lower price and without the complicated bills and contracts. You can watch live sports, your favorite TV shows and movies and add on premium extras like Showtime and Starz. Sling TV seals the deal with a low cost, customizable packages and ubiquitous availability on all major devices.
The service is constantly offering deals. Right now, Sling has a three-day free trial to check out all it has to offer. Plus, once they sign up for one of the affordable packages, new and existing customers are guaranteed a locked-in price for a full year — no need to worry about price increases.
Sling TV is an "over-the-top," or OTT, service, meaning it comes in over the internet rather than on dedicated lines from a cable company or broadcasts from a satellite. In that respect, it's like other online streaming services like Netflix and Amazon. But Sling specializes in live TV, meaning it streams programs as they are broadcast. It also offers some ability to rewind a show and watch older programs on demand.
Sling TV isn't the only OTT service for those looking to cut the cord, though, as Hulu with Live TV, YouTube TV, Fubo TV and Philo TV all stream live TV, though their channel lineups, features and prices vary.
After signing up for Sling TV, you'll need only to download the app to any of the many devices supported by the service.
So, why is Sling one of the best streaming services out there? Its packages include some local networks, ESPN and a bundle of favorites, channels such as AMC, A&E, Food Network, HGTV, Lifetime and the Disney Channel, as well as RedZone from the NFL Network.
Is Sling TV's cable TV alternative worth the money? Read on.
Sling TV price: What does Sling TV cost?
Sling TV's cost is the same for both of the flavors it offers, Sling Orange and Sling Blue — both are priced the same.
Sling Orange costs $30 and offers more than 30 channels, while Sling Blue costs $30 offers more than 50 channels. However, the two packages come with different channel lineups, so if you want to make sure you can watch your favorite one, you should consider the the combined Blue/Orange pack costs $40 per month.
Sling TV is one of the most affordable services, with their base level packages starting at $30 per month and streaming dozens of major cable channels, like ESPN, AMC, CNN, TNT and more. And Sling is guaranteeing that new and existing customers pay the same locked-in monthly price for a full year.View Deal
Sling TV also offers add-on packages that range from $5 to $15 per month. There are more than a dozen add-ons, so your monthly subscription cost could exceed $100 per month if you want absolutely everything.
Sling is also supports compatible over-the-air antennae, provided you're in a supported location. After visiting this page to see if your address qualifies, you can get a free indoor antenna (a $59.99 value) when pre-paying for two months of Sling TV.
If you don't have hardware for streaming Sling, you can save $129.98 by pre-paying for three-months of Sling TV. That'll get you a free AirTV Player and adapter with an antenna (a total value of $189.98).
If you want to check out Sling, but don't want to pay up just yet, you can get a free, three-day trial. Or you can watch Sling Free, a new free TV streaming service that has over 5,000 free TV shows and movies. You don't even need to sign up for Sling with your email address or credit card info.
Sling TV packages
Aside from the channel lineups, biggest difference between the two Sling TV packages is that Orange is a single-stream service, whereas Blue supports up to three simultaneous streams.
This is important if you're sharing an account with family and friends. With Sling Orange, only one stream can be going at any time. With Sling Blue, you can have multiple users watching different channels simultaneously.
For more details, check out Tom's Guide's Sling Orange vs. Blue breakdown and look at our chart below.
|Cost||Number of Channels||Notable Channels|
|Sling Orange||$30 per month||32||AMC, CNN, ESPN, Food Network, TBS|
|Sling Blue||$30 per month||47||USA, FX, El Rey, Viceland|
|Sling Orange + Sling Blue||$45 per month||53||Comedy Central, History, IFC, NFL Network |
Sling TV channels
Sling Orange offers more than 30 channels, and Sling Blue offers more than 50 networks. But they come with different channel lineups, so be sure to check which one has your favorite channels. Of course, if you want them all, you can get Sling Orange + Blue.
If you're confused, we're here to help with a handy guide to Sling Orange channels and Sling Blue channels.
The base Sling Orange package (i.e., without any add-ons) comes with channels such as ESPN, AMC, BBC America, Cartoon Network, CNN, Comedy Central, the Disney Channel, Food Network, Freeform, HGTV, Lifetime, TBS and TNT.
Sling Blue channels include NBC and Fox local channels (in select cities) as well as cable networks like AMC, BET, Bravo, CNN, Fox News, FX, National Geographic, Nick Jr., Syfy, TBS, TNT and USA.
Basically: Orange has no NBCUniversal networks, while Blue lacks Disney-owned channels like ESPN and the Disney Channel.
Sling TV add-on packages
Sling TV offers more than a dozen add-on packages, which range from sports channels to premium movie bundles. It would take too long to list the contents of each package, but as an example, the Sports Extra package contains NFL RedZone (which is included in Sling Blue), NBA TV, NHL Network, beIN Sports and ESPN Bases Loaded, and costs an extra $5 per month.
In February 2018, Sling TV became the first service of its kind to integrate NBA League Pass, which costs $29 more per month and provides access to live, out-of-market games. If you just need games from your favorite team, there's also Team Pass (for $18 more per month). The Sling TV website provides a full list of add-ons and extras.
Sling TV premium channels
Sling also allows you to subscribe to premium channels, like Showtime (which costs $10 per month, and $5 for the first month), which includes 8 total Showtime channels. The 6 Starz channels cost $9 per month, and $5 for the first month. EPIX's 4 channels cost $5 per month.
But right now, Sling is offering a deal called Premium Pass, which gives new and existing customers 30 days of free Showtime, Starz and Epix. The Premium Pass is available on every Sling package.
Other premium extras cost as low as $3 per month, including Lion Mountain TV (an outdoors content network) and Watch It Scream! (for horror). You can even add karaoke, with the $7 per month Stingray Karaoke, which claims to have approximately 10,000 songs, in both English and Spanish.
Sling TV local channels
Yes, Sling offers live local channels, although the selection varies depending on where you live. Sling offers NBC and Fox in certain cities and markets. You'll also need either the Sling Blue package or Sling Orange + Blue.
It's not ideal, of course, but if you really want access to more broadcast network programming, consider getting one of the best HDTV antennas so you can watch all the local channels.
You can also subscribe to Showtime, NBA League and other channels through Sling, without paying for one of the Orange or Blue subscriptions.
Sling offers an easy way for football fans to find out what channels are showing which games. Just visit sling.com/gamefinder and search by your team's city, state or name. This page will also show you what games are streaming in your area if you type in your ZIP code.
Sling TV cancellation: How do I cancel Sling?
Sling TV is a month-to-month service and does not require a contract. You can start or stop at any time, and there are no startup fees, cancellation penalties or equipment-rental costs.
If you find that Sling TV isn't what you had hoped for, you can follow the company's simple process for canceling your membership. On your account page, you'll see a Cancel Subscription link. Click on the Cancel Subscription option again, and tell Sling why you're leaving.
After Sling confirms your cancellation, billing will stop immediately. Because there are no contracts, you can cancel at any time for any reason, and you won't be penalized.
Sling TV devices: How can I watch it?
Sling TV devices include most major smart TVs, smartphones and streaming boxes and sticks.
- web browsers on PC and Mac
- iOS mobile devices
- Android mobile devices
- Apple TV (4th gen and later)
- Amazon Fire TV devices
- Fire tablets (OS 4.4.2 and later)
- Google Nest
- Oculus Go
- Roku LT and higher
- Roku TVs from Hisense and TCL
- Select LG, Samsung and Vizio smart TVs
Sling TV DVR: Can I record shows?
Yes, Sling's Cloud DVR comes with 10 hours of recording time for free. You can upgrade to the Cloud DVR Plus package, which costs $5 per month and increases the cap to 50 hours of recording.
Sling TV internet speed: How fast does it need to be?
Sling TV has internet speed recommendations based on the device you're using to watch programming.
So, if you're watching Sling TV on a mobile device such as an iPhone or iPad, you'll need at least 3 Mbps for good-quality video. When you move to a TV, PC or Mac, expect to need 5 Mbps to get the video quality you desire.
Sling recommends getting internet speeds of at least 25 Mbps through your internet service provider in order to get the best-quality streaming.
Sling TV commercials: Are there ads during shows?
Yes, Sling airs commercials during shows. In general, you see exactly what you would see if you were watching these channels on cable TV, with the full load of commercials. The ability to fast forward, rewind or pause varies by channel.
Sling TV movies: Can I watch films?
Yes, many Sling channels like AMC, FX, TBS and USA show movies. And in addition to the movies that air on included channels, Sling provides on-demand movies for additional rental fees. The movies are both new releases and older favorites, and generally range from $2.99 to $4.99.
Sling TV on-demand content: What's available?
Video on-demand (VOD) content is available through Sling TV via its Available Now feature, which has a decent selection of movies, television shows and documentaries. However, it's difficult to pin down exactly what's available at any given time.
Sling TV's on-demand content is not determined by Sling; rather, each channel chooses which content it makes available and for how long. Some movies and shows may be available for a long time, while others come and go. To see what on-demand content is available, use your Sling TV guide, which shows on-demand programming beneath the Schedule ribbon.
Sling TV error 9-XXX: What is that?
Whether it's Error 9-300, Error 9-400 or something else, some Sling TV users have complained of sporadic trouble with the service. According to Sling, errors that cause a disruption in service and start with a 9 "can occur for a variety of reasons."
However, the most likely cause happens in "account personalization services" that prevent a video from traveling to your device. Sling has a support page dedicated to this issue that prompts you to change the channel, as that might help, and gives you the option to open a case with tech support if that doesn't work.
Is Sling TV worth it?
If you like having a lot of channels and enjoy channel surfing, you're probably better off with cable or satellite TV. But if Sling TV's basic package or add-on packs have most of the kind of programming you like, it could be a better deal.
You can also supplement Sling's programming with other online services, such as Amazon Prime ($119 per year), Crackle (free), Hulu ($7.99/month) and Netflix ($10.99/month).
So think about what you like to watch, and add up how much it will cost with Sling TV and other streaming services compared with cable or satellite TV. Sling TV offers a free seven-day trial, so you can find out firsthand how you like it.