Sling TV Review
Sling TV is a live TV streaming service that helps users save money with the option of two distinct plans. The $40/month “Sling Orange” plan offers about 30 channels, including Disney Channel and ESPN. The $40/month “Sling Blue” plan offers about 40 channels, including Fox and NBC local channels.
Sling Blue users in Chicago, Los Angeles, New York City, Philadelphia, and San Francisco pay a $5 surcharge because they have access to their local ABC affiliate.
If you subscribe to both plans, you’ll receive a $25 discount. Sling also offers various “Extra” packs that you can add to your subscription.
Sling is great for the budget-conscious cord cutter who just wants to watch live TV, but doesn’t need the most comprehensive channel selection.
We tested Sling TV and other live TV streaming services for more than 100 hours. Sling TV is compatible with Amazon Fire TV, Apple TV, Google Chromecast, Roku, Android TV, iPhone/iPad, Android Phone/Tablet, Mac, Windows, Xbox, LG Smart TV, Samsung Smart TV, Sony Smart TV, and VIZIO Smart TV.
50 hours Cloud DVR
Sling TV includes 50 hours of recording space with each subscription. While it is not as much as most other services, it will automatically delete the oldest watched shows, so it can continue to record the latest shows scheduled to be recorded.
For $5/month, you can include a cloud DVR with 200 hours of recording space.
Sling TV has the most full-featured DVR of any of the streaming services. You can record individual episodes, all episodes of a series, or only new episodes of a series. You can also protect recordings to keep them indefinitely. If you cancel your service, Sling will keep your recording for up to 30 days in case you decide to return to the service.
Up to 4 Devices
“Sling Orange” ($40) lets you stream on 1 device at a time. “Sling Blue” ($40) allows for 3 simultaneous streams (among TV devices, smartphones, tablets, and computers).
If you subscribe to both plans, you can stream on up to 4 devices for content that is offered on both plans.
20 TV Everywhere Apps
Sling TV gives you access to 20 different TV Everywhere apps.
A majority of channels offer on demand content, but you can’t skip or fast-forward through the content.
In Sling TV settings, you can restrict content playback based on content ratings.
DIRECTV STREAM and Hulu Live TV also have parental control features.
International Channels Feature
Sling TV offers international content from Mexico, China, India, Brazil, and other countries, starting at $5/month.
NFL RedZone Feature
The Sports Extra ($11) add-on for “Sling Blue” includes NFL RedZone.
Sling TV is compatible with these devices:
- Amazon Fire TV
- Apple TV
- Google Chromecast (Google Cast)
- Android TV (5.0+)
- iPhone/iPad (iOS 11+)
- Android Phone/Tablet (5.0+)
- LG Smart TV (WebOS 3.0+)
- Samsung Smart TV (2016+)
- Sony Smart TV
- VIZIO Smart TV (AirPlay/Google Cast)
Sling TV is not compatible with PlayStation or Nintendo devices.
On television devices, the Sling TV apps have a home screen that shows your favorite channels, saved recordings, and favorited/recent shows.
Fire TV and Roku devices have a standard channel guide, but we expect Sling will add it to other devices like Apple TV soon. When you select a channel, it shows what’s currently on and what’s upcoming.
While you are watching a show, you can swipe up to browse what’s on other channels.
Phone & Tablet Apps
The Sling TV smartphone and tablet apps are almost identical to the TV app.
Android has a standard channel guide, but we expect it to be added to iOS soon.
You can watch Sling TV on Mac or Windows computers with Chrome or by downloading the native Sling app.
“Sling Orange” ($40) doesn’t include any local channels.
“Sling Blue” ($40) includes local ABC, Fox, and NBC channels in most major markets. Currently, Sling does not offer CBS, Telemundo, The CW or Univision for most subscribers.
In March, Sling TV will be adding ABC to their Sling Blue plan in eight markets. In Chicago, Los Angeles, New York City, Philadelphia, and San Francisco, there will be a $5 surcharge for Sling Blue customers.
If you need CBS, consider subscribing to Paramount+ ($5-10 a month). It’s a monthly subscription directly from CBS, which includes live streaming and on demand access for many of its shows.
You can get free access to CW shows with The CW apps with no subscription needed.
To see the live local channels available in your area, check the Sling TV Channel Lookup tool.
Local Channel Restrictions
You can only access local channels and regional sports networks when you are in your home city. For example, if you live in San Francisco and travel to New York, you won’t be able to stream any local channels.
Top Cable Channels
“Sling Orange” includes 16 of the top 35 cable channels and “Sling Blue” includes 24 top cable. The combo package has 27 top cable.
A number of channels can be added with their “Comedy,” “Kids,” “Lifestyle,” and “News” Extra packs ($6 each). Sling also offers a bundle of all four extra packs for only $13.
The top 35 cable channels cable channels are listed below. For a list of channels in each plan and extra packs, look at Sling TV’s full channel lineup.
National Sports Channels
Sling TV offers different national sports channels for in their plans. ESPN and ESPN2 are exclusive to “Sling Orange” and FS1 and USA Network are exclusive to “Sling Blue”. Both plans include TBS and TNT.
If you subscribe to the “Sling Orange + Blue” combo plan, you will receive both sets of channels.
Regional Sports Networks (RSNs)
Sling TV no longer carries Regional Sports Networks. Previously, the service included those from Fox Sports and NBC Sports in Sling Blue.
RSNs in Other Markets
“Sling Blue” includes NFL Network.
Sling TV also offers a “Sports Extra” pack that includes MLB Network, NBA TV, and NHL Network.
Sling TV does not include any college sports networks as part of their standard plans.
However, the “Sports Extra” add-on includes Pac-12 Network. “Sling Orange” subscribers with “Sports Extra” will also have access to ACC Network, ACC Network Extra, ESPNU, Longhorn Network, and SEC Network.
Sling does not offer CBS Sports Network.
Other Sports Channels
The Sling TV “Sports Extra” pack offers channels like beIN Sports, ESPNEWS, Golf Channel, and Tennis Channel. The channels you receive in this add-on depends on whether you subscribe to “Sling Orange” or “Sling Blue.”
You can add Showtime ($10) and Starz ($9) to any Sling TV plan.
- High definition video is similar to other streaming services, but only offers 60 FPS on select channels
- Live streaming works well, with occasional issues switching channels.
- Live content is about 55 seconds behind cable TV, which is longest delay of any of the streaming services.
- Long lag when switching channels, so don’t expect to channel surf.
Streams are at least 720p and most are at 30 fps.
To reduce playback interruptions, Sling TV will adapt the stream quality to match your network connection.
Sling TV recently added 60 fps on most national sports channels, Showtime, and EPIX.
All live TV content has standard stereo audio. Some on demand content has Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround.
Sling recommends at least 3 Mbps for mobile devices and 5 Mbps for television devices.
We rarely had issues once a stream was started, but we often had errors starting a live stream—requiring us to reboot the app. This issue would happen often when switching between channels.
Many users have complained have Sling TV’s performance on the Roku 2 and Roku Streaming Stick.
Do not expect Sling TV to work as consistently as your cable or satellite service.
Live content is about 55 seconds behind cable TV, which is the longest delay of all the streaming services.
It takes about 5.5 seconds to switch between channels, which is the slowest of any of the providers.
- Great channel guide, but it’s not available on the Apple TV or iOS apps.
- Search results are poorly sorted.
- While it’s not free, Sling has the most full-featured DVR.
Sling TV’s home screen includes horizontal lists of live channels, your recent recordings, shows you recently watched, and your favorited shows.
Sling TV has a standard channel guide on Fire TV, Roku, and Android devices. We expect the channel guide to be added on other platforms soon, because the browsing experience is much more cumbersome without it.
Sling TV allows you to search for shows, channels, or people. Although search works fine for exact matches, it does a poor job sorting results.
For example, searching for “Bach…” returns many Diary of a Bachelor results before The Bachelor.
The show details page shows all episodes that are available on demand, grouped by season. However, the details page isn’t as visual as some of the other streaming services.
Most live TV channels don’t allow you pause, rewind, or fast-forward; but some channels let you rewind to the beginning of a show if you start late.
For recorded content, you can skip forward by 30-second increments or you can scrub through the show timeline. While scrubbing, the current frame is shown, so it’s easy to to find the part you want to watch.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
How much does Sling TV cost?
Sling TV is available starting at $40 / month. See the full list: Sling TV Pricing & Plans
Does Sling TV have a free trial?
Sling TV does not have a free trial.
Does Sling TV have a DVR?
Sling TV includes 50 hours of Cloud DVR storage.
You can upgrade to 200 hours of Cloud DVR storage for $5 / month.
What channels are on Sling TV?
Sling TV includes 30 channels including 16 top cable channels. See the full list: Sling TV Channels.
How many streams are allowed at once on Sling TV?
Sling TV allows up to 4 devices at the same time. See more details: Sling TV Simultaneous Streams
Does Sling TV have local channels?
Sling TV includes ABC, Fox, and NBC in most, but not all markets. See the full list: Sling TV Local Channels.
Does Sling TV have live sports?
Sling TV includes live sports from ESPN, ESPN2, FS1, NFL Network, TBS, TNT, and USA Network. See the full list: Sling TV Sports Channels.
Does Sling TV offer premium channels?
Sling TV offers premium channels like EPIX, Showtime, and Starz for an additional fee. See the full list: Sling TV Premium Channels.
Does Sling TV offer on demand content?
Sling TV includes on demand content from most of the channels they offer. Unlike content on your DVR, you won’t be able to skip ads.
Does Sling TV support TV Everywhere apps?
Sling TV includes access to many TV Eveywhere Apps with your Sling TV credentials. See the full list: Sling TV TV Everywhere Apps.
Does Sling TV have a TV Guide?
Sling TV includes a TV Guide similar to what you would get with your cable or satellite set-top box.
Does Sling TV have ads?
Sling TV includes ads during live viewing of shows, as well on all on-demand content. You can skip ads when you watch shows recorded to your DVR.
Does Sling TV offer 4K streaming?
Sling TV does not include 4K content as part of the service.
Does Sling TV offer Dolby Digital 5.1 surround sound?
Sling TV does not include Dolby Digital 5.1 surround sound as part of the service.