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Sling Orange vs. Blue: What’s the difference?

Someone watching ESPN on Sling on a tablet

Sling Orange vs Blue is a question for everyone figuring out which half of the popular live TV streaming service they need. Features differ across both plans, but Sling is the single best cable TV alternative in part because of its $35 per month Blue and Orange packages. 

And depending on the week (it seems) you sign up, you'll either get an offer for $10 off or 50 percent off your first month. The latter is better, and it's going on right now. Keep up to date with the latest deals on our Sling TV promo codes page. 

Even without any sale, Sling is more cost-effective than the $65 per month YouTube TV and $70 Hulu with Live TV. This helps Sling stand out for the cord-cutter looking to manage their way to a better budget. And right now, during the summer, Sling is helping cash-strapped subscribers by offering free access to Showtime and other premium channels during its Freeview experience.

Picking Sling Blue or Orange one is a little complicated, as sports fans can tell you. While the NFL is currently in the off-season, pigskin fans can tell you that NFL live streams require both, as FOX and NBC are on Sling TV Blue and ESPN is on Orange. Or at least it normally is. Sling TV has temporarily lost ESPN in a Disney dispute.

Want NBA live streams? Well, if and when things get settled Orange is best for you, as you can get ESPN and TNT, as well as ESPN3 for the ABC games which will be simulcast.

Available on all of the best streaming devices, Sling TV is one of the best streaming services in the market because each tier has solid options, and the customization you get makes it all the more easier to make the particular package you need. That way, you can make the Sling Orange vs. Blue decision, and then not worry if you have the wrong collection of channels. And we break all the other facets down in our Sling TV review.

We just picked apart the major streaming services by which channels they offer with the Sling vs YouTube TV vs Hulu vs Fubo vs DirecTV saw that Sling Blue offers 17 channels that Sling Orange doesn't, while Sling Orange packs 6 channels you don't get with Blue.

In addition to watching these channels live, Sling TV allows you to record shows and movies on a Cloud DVR, so you can watch your favorite programs anytime and anywhere. Sling TV also offers premium channels and add-on packages, so you can mix and match features. And Sling is widely available on almost every device you can think of.

There's also a Sling deal (opens in new tab) you should know about: you can get a free Chromecast with Google TV with your first month's payment. That's a $50 value! 

If you're trying to watch Premier League live streams, you'll want to go with Sling Blue. It's got NBC Sports Network (NBCSN) and NBC, neither of which Sling Orange has.

Sling Orange vs Blue is a battle of the service's two basic, cheaper plans and they are very similar with one big difference: the channel lineup. Read more about Sling Orange vs. Blue and learn everything else you need to know about Sling TV.

Sling Orange vs Blue: What is the Sling Orange plan?

Sling Orange used to be the cheaper of Sling's packages, but now it costs the same as Sling Blue — $35 per month. Orange gives you access to 32 live channels, including ESPN, Freeform, Disney Channel (though they are missing right now as mentioned above) and CNN. Want more than that? Check out our picks for the best Hulu movies

You can stream only one channel at a time, whether you’re recording or watching live.

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Sling TV

Sling Orange vs Blue: What is the Sling Blue plan?

Sling Blue costs $35 per month and gives you access to 47 live channels. However, Blue does not include every Orange channel by default; there’s no Disney and no ESPN, for starters. On the plus side, Sling Blue is a multi-stream option, which means you can access the service on up to 3 devices at once. Three different people could use the account simultaneously, or you could record three shows while you’re away, or mix and match.

Sling Blue users also have the opportunity to watch NBC stations, including NBC, USA, Bravo and SyFy. Also, Fox News and MSNBC, which never agree on anything, are both only on Sling Blue, with neither on Orange.

If even these packages are too pricey, check out our Philo review to see if the $25 service has the channels you need.

Sling is on a TV while family surround it.

(Image credit: Sling TV)

Sling Orange vs Blue: What is the difference?

Outside of channels, the biggest difference between Sling Orange vs Blue is the single-stream nature of Orange versus the multi-stream nature of Blue. However, the channel selection differs as well, making it somewhat difficult to tell which service carries which programs, and which channels work with multi-stream functionality.

For example, both services can add on the Pac-12 networks for college sports, as well as the Starz and Starz Encore movie channels. The pricing varies somewhat depending on the plan, though. Both Sling Orange and Blue subscribers can add NBA League Pass, which just became available on Sling, for an extra $29 per month.

Sling Orange vs Blue: Is my favorite channel available through Orange or Blue?

Consult our handy chart below to find out Sling Orange vs Blue's channel lineups:

Note that ESPN and other Disney-owned channels are currently not available in Sling TV, but we expect them to come back.

Sling BlueSling OrangeSling Blue + Orange
FOX NewsYesNoYes
Comedy CentralYesYesYes
Cartoon Network / Adult SwimYesYesYes
Food NetworkYesYesYes
BBC AmericaYesYesYes
Travel ChannelYesYesYes
Bloomberg TelevisionYesYesYes
Local NowYesYesYes
Fox SportsYesNoYes
NFL NetworkYesNoYes
NBA League Pass*
FXXYes (with Blue's Hollywood Extra)NoYes
Tribeca Shortlist
Nick Jr.YesNoYes
Tru TVYesNoYes
National GeographicYesNoYes
Nat Geo WildYesNoYes

* for an extra $29 per month

Sling Orange vs Blue: What's changed recently?

In January 2021, Sling increased pricing and its DVR caps. Now, Sling Orange and Blue are $35 a piece for new subscribers, or $50 in the combined Sling Orange + Blue package. You now get 50 hours of recording with Cloud DVR Free, and Cloud DVR Plus gives you 200 hours for $5 per month — formerly it was 10 hours for free and 50 for $5.

Oh, and if Sling's prices seem cheap, that's because of how expensive everyone else is getting. Check out our Hulu Live vs. YouTube TV vs. Sling vs. DirecTV Now face-off for more details.

Sling Orange vs Blue: Can I get both?

Yes, you don't even have to choose Sling Orange vs Blue. In fact, Sling encourages you to, calling its $50 Orange and Blue pack its “best value.” Granted, $50 per month, plus whatever optional packages you get, put it well within the price range of a traditional cable subscription. But if you love Sling TV and want everything it has to offer, this is probably where you want to start. Once you sign up, check out our guide for how to record shows on Sling TV.

Henry T. Casey
Senior Editor

Henry is a senior editor at Tom’s Guide covering streaming media, laptops and all things Apple, reviewing devices and services for the past seven years. Prior to joining Tom's Guide, he reviewed software and hardware for TechRadar Pro, and interviewed artists for Patek Philippe International Magazine. He's also covered the wild world of professional wrestling for Cageside Seats, interviewing athletes and other industry veterans.

  • Mark Spoonauer
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