Starting as low as $20, Sling TV offers a lot of value for cord cutters, letting you watch both live and on-demand content. But which channels are best? We evaluated the selection based on the the quality of the programming, as well as streaming quality, and we took into account whether channels are keeping certain shows from streamers. The service is now also available on Samsung smart TVs from 2016 and 2017.
Here are the Sling TV channels you should be watching.
Illustration: Tom's Guide
AMC's live programming has always been solid, and the channel offers several great shows, including the Walking Dead and Better Call Saul, as well as classics like MASH. While it would be nice to see more on-demand content, it's a fine option for live programming.
NBA League Pass (for $29 more per month)
NBA fans who need to see every single game know that League Pass is the hottest ticket around. So no matter if you're watching to see how the latest trades will work out (wait, LeBron's playing with who now?), tracking your most loved and hated teams or wondering if this is the year where the Knicks will finally thrive (probably not this year after Kristaps got injured), you know the $29 per month upgrade cost for League Pass is more than worth it. — Henry T. Casey
A&E has some of the more compelling dramas available, including popular shows like Criminal Minds and Cold Case Files. The stream quality was generally good, and it's nice to see a list of older shows you can still stream.
Any South Park fan should rejoice at Comedy Central being available in Sling. The channel's live stream is generally good with only minor drops, but its selection of on-demand content is downright stellar. From stand-up specials to popular shows like The Daily Show, Comedy Central offers a fine streaming experience.
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If you're a news addict, CNN is for you. The stream is stellar and its live programming features high-quality content. It also comes with some recent programming through its on-demand offerings, so you can quickly catch up on the headlines. One of our faves is Jake Tapper's State of the Union.
The breadth of E! content on Sling is staggering. In addition to its regular live content, you can check out some of the channel's best shows, like The Kardashians, Botched and Total Divas. And although there were some blips along the way, E!'s programming livestream worked well in our testing.
Sports fans will love Sling's ESPN app. The app offers all the live programming you could want and includes some of the channel's most important series like SportsCenter, ESPN Films, 30 For 30, and others. The stream quality was solid across the board, and we were impressed by the amount of content it offers. It's a treat streaming ESPN on Sling.
There are several Disney channels on Sling, including the main channel, Junior, and XD. The flagship comes with a boatload of on-demand content and its livestream never broke down during our testing. It's a solid option for kids and families -- especially if you're a fan of Mickey Mouse Clubhouse.
FX offers a solid Sling experience. The programming is compelling, its stream is impressive, but the on-demand content is just passable. The movie selection is a nice mix of genres, including Life of Pi and Captain America, but you should really check out the awesome originals, including Legion and Taboo.
If you're a foodie or just like to cook at home, Food Network's Sling app is a tasty option. The app streams all the latest programming so you don't miss the latest episode of Guy's Big Bite. If you want to find a special recipe or a show you just missed, Food Network offers a good amount of on-demand programming.
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If you don't mind paying an extra $5 per month, getting access to Epix is a good idea. The channel comes in a bundle with Epix 2, Epix Hits, HDNet Movies, and others. And although it costs $5 more a month, the movies it offers, like The Hunger Games and Iron Man, are outstanding and its stream quality is solid. Plus, Epix has a really great original spy show in Berlin Station.
Although NFL Network is more appealing when the players are on the gridiron, it still comes with some neat shows you could check out. For instance, you can use the NFL Network Sling app to get updates on your favorite team or see which of your favorite players might be on the trading block. And during the season, you can watch more than a dozen live games.
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Whether you're hoping to redecorate your house or you just like all-things home, HGTV will be right up your alley. Its stream is strong when watching popular favorites like Fixer Upper and Property Brothers, and its on-demand content lineup is quite good. And there's something great about watching Caribbean Life and making believe you're really there.
NBC On Demand
Although NBC programming will stream live in certain markets, the network offers a host of on-demand shows through sling. So whether you want to check out the latest on The Blacklist or you're a fan of another popular NBC show, you should be able to find what you want through the app.
Credit: Will Hart/NBC
Like Epix, HBO will cost you an additional fee per month, in this case $15. For that, you'll get the full HBO experience, including access to all of its current and legacy programming, live streams of what's on its flagship network right now, and more. In our time with the app, its stream performed quite well. Bring on the Game of Thrones!
USA Network doesn't necessarily offer the best programming all parts of the day, but to its credit, the network makes available its best series for easy on-demand access. From Mr. Robot to Suits, it comes with all the shows you'd want to keep up on. But be aware that only the last season is available through the network.
Credit: USA Network
If you're a Spike fan, the Sling channels offers solid streams on both live and on-demand programming, like Bar Rescue and MMA fights, and the breadth of content it offers is impressive. But be aware that in order to access Spike, you'll need to pay $5 for a bundle that includes MTV, TruTV, and other networks.
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If you have kids, Nick Jr. could be one of your favorite channel options in Sling. The network streams its programming without trouble and it offers easy access to popular shows like Bubble Guppies and Paw Patrol.
Credit: Nick Jr.
CNBC's live programming can be a bit of a mixed bag depending on the time you're watching it, but its on-demand content is stellar. In fact, we were exceedingly impressed by the number of on-demand shows available through the company's channel, like American Greed and Blue Collar Millionaires. It's a must-see for anyone who likes CNBC content but doesn't have time to watch it all live.
Nat Geo Wild
Nat Geo Wild is one of the more awe-inspiring channels on Sling TV. When you go there, you'll be able to stream everything from the Incredible Dr. Pol to Caesar Milan's Dog Nation, plus nature shows like The United States of Animals.
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If you're a country music fan or simply like the programming you can find on CMT, like Nashville, check out the Sling CMT channels. It comes with several shows, and we were generally pleased with its stream quality.
Who doesn't love a little Sci-Fi? The popular SyFy channel does a fine job of delivering high-quality content to Sling. It includes all the channel's live programming, as well as movies and television shows like Aftermath and Face Off you can stream on-demand from the network. In our time with the app, we found the streams to deliver outstanding quality.
Cheddar has been called CNBC for snake people, and the quality of its programming is top-notch. From interviews with prominent business executives on Cheddar CEOs to insight into what's happening in the business and tech worlds, you won't want to miss Cheddar.
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Travel Channel is another network you won't want to miss on Sling. The channel features outstanding livestreams of current programming, and there's a solid selection of on-demand content. While there were a few points of breakdown in the stream, they weren't generally a problem. Overall, Travel Channel is a must-see if you're interested in exploring the world or watching shows like Bizarre Foods.
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If you're a golf fan, you need to check out the Golf Channel on Sling TV. The channel features all of your favorite live programming, like Golf Academy, as well as a slew of on-demand shows that will give you a quick look at how to improve your grip, work on your short game, and more.
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Of course, National Geographic has shows centered on the environment and animals, but it also has interesting content that goes beyond that. And its on-demand content, which includes shows like Drugs Inc. and African Cats, is quite good if you're in the mood to learn. It's a must-see if you're tired of scripted series.
Credit: National Geographic