Sling TV has been very popular since its arrival in early 2015 because it was itself the first-ever live TV streaming service for the world. These were designed to replace Cable TV by allowing you stream channels over the internet. In it’s the very affordable price range of $25 a month, It offers a wide variety of TV channels and other services like renting movies and shows, add-on channels etc and you are free to choose, unlike cable TV where end up paying extra charges for unwanted content. Since then, it has come a long way competing for other such services which originated later such as Fubo TV, Hulu TV, Netflix, Amazon Prime TV, YouTube TV and various others which are offering similar or higher grade services.
All the big names in the live TV streaming service industry remains in a constant state of flux. However, amid all the differences, Sling TV remains a potential service for budget-conscious cord-cutter.
Sling TV Review – Brief Introduction
It is a US-only service offered from DISH network that allows you to watch channels as same as that of a cable TV for $25 a month and that too without a contract. You can subscribe to it any anytime and leave. It is designed to watch TV anytime and anywhere.
Apart from the channels that are offered in the base package, Sling TV offers various add-on, and on-demand content for and extra $4.99. for more premium experience, it offers HBO, STARZ & EPIX as a pay per view event and pricing structure.
1. Compatibility & Availability of Devices:
It has been a veteran in this market and hence is available on a large number of devices already. You can use it with, Mac OS, Windows, Amazon Fire TV, Chromecast, Apple TV, Roku, Android TV, Xbox One, and a large range of smart TVs like Samsung and LG smart TVs as well as with small TV streaming Boxes.
It can be live-streamed on a mobile app for IOS and Android. It also has an app for desktop and laptop for windows users. Another user can view it on the Chrome browser app. Sling TV is available on a wide range of platforms and is likely to extend only in the future.
Verdict- Sling TV is available on almost all of the available streaming devices in the market. Its presence is very common and that’s why it is very affordable. There have been some issues reported where the user cannot change his account on Roku TV. Also, the internet speed of up to 1.5mbps is required for premium viewing experience as in all other such services.
2. Sling TV Offers – Packages
Sling TV offers two basic packages of channels categorized as Sling Blue and Sling Orange. Sling Orange is a Single stream Service which can be used by one user offering about 30 channels for $20 only. The Sling Blue takes it a step further adding regional contents and offers about 45 channels for $25. Also, Sling Blue is a multi-streaming service for up to 3 users. Sling also lets you purchase both the services together as Orange plus Blue offering 50+ channels at $40 only.
You can get A&E, AMC, BBC AMERICA, CNN Comedy Central, ESPN, IFC, Nick jr., The food Network, SyFy, TBS, TNT, Univision and more between the orange and blue packages. On the blue, Fox and NBC are added depending on the regional contents.
Apart from these base packages, Sling is best known for the add-ons it provides. These are small bundles in genres such as Sports, Kids, Lifestyle, etc. This opens up the content selection for yourself avoiding hefty charges as in the case of a cable TV. Also, Sling TV offers a pricing system for pay per view event called ‘a la carte’ method making it cheaper for accessing the channel. On-demand services and rentals for movies and shows etc. You can add channels in other languages as well as HBO, STARZ, Cinemax and their premium content in your watch list. However, Sling TV lacks in search feature for exclusive content. You can find complete channels, details, packages, and charges on Sling TV website.
Verdict – All the basic TV channels of a cable TV are available in the basic orange and blue packages. Orange lacks sports content and blue includes it. However, Sling TV offers local channels like ABC Network on add-ons, unlike other services where they are included in basic packages.
3. Streaming Quality in Sling TV:
Sling TV has been very fair in its streaming quality so far but this also depends on the internet speed. While most of the TV shows are streamed at 720p and movies at 1080p, a pretty decent speed of internet is required. You can put a bar on quality in the settings menu.
Some shows start right away, some requires buffering and hence display unstable resolution. Also if you are streaming on-demand content and fast forward it for more than 30 seconds, it can blur or buffer for a while.
Verdict- Good streaming requires good connectivity. Sling TV claims that it can be watched very effectively at a connection of 3mbps. Users reported little or no disturbance in streaming quality at good connectivity.
4. User Experience:
Sling TV is very quick and super easy to operate. Once you have your account made on Sling Website, you can log it into your device right away and start streaming premium content of your choice. However, Roku TV devices have allowed only one user account in its device which cannot be changed as well which is frustrating if you want to log into someone’s account on your device or your account on someone else’s device.
Sling TV offers channel surfing also which eases you to find out shows. A sliding menu of channels shoes you programs that are airing on them. They have Big on-demand library and functional cloud DVR as well. It cost an additional $5 for DVR and is very widely available as that of a PlayStation Vue DVR but PlayStation’s DVR is free of cost.
The base packages Sling orange and sling blue has plenty of much to offer. However, there are differences in how Blue+Orange is presented to a user. Channels from individual package feature individually and don’t overlap even if same. This is because orange can be streamed once only while blue can be streamed in three users, you have the same perk here as well. Channels from orange will only be streamed on one device before it can be viewed in other. Channels from blue will stream for 3 users. You can stream this package for 4 provided one of them remains watching orange package channel at a time. This is pretty weird and complicated.
The search feature in the Sling TV interface appears mixed bag and is not very useful to search for specific content you are looking for. For an example is you search for Game of Thrones in it, it will bring back results of shows where GOT reviews or a character featured, and interview or review and anything but the show itself. This can be frustrating.
Sling TV service offers two bases packages and add-ons. The pricing is as follows-
- Orange package – $20 of 30 channels
- Blue package – $25 for 40 channels
- You can signup for 7 days Free Trial.
These are very affordable and cheaper than most of the available entry-level bundles in live TV streaming service.
Getting both of them at a price of $40 is pretty much a decent deal. Sling TV remains affordable as long as you limit yourself into these entry-level by bundles. But then comes additional add-ons known as extra in Sling World. You can select an add-on for as low as $4.99 and hence can control the pricing of your TV service. Pay for only what you select. Where other providers want you to spend $70 and above for premium viewing experience, Sling offers the same in around $55 only. It has been awarded numerous times for the best budget live TV streaming service in the USA.
6. User Reviews
By speaking to few Sling.tv users, they said its best & worth for price. They recommeneded Blue+Orange package which gives maximum channels. And recently Sling also added NFL Streaming & Cricket streaming channels which made sports lovers, Sling as their favourite.
Bottom Line – Conclusion of Review!
Sling TV has been around the market for about 5 years now with up to 2.8 million subscribers in the USA. Its affordable and hassle-free service takes users into a comfort zone which isn’t easy to leave. However, it can be frustrating at times. The search engine as mentioned above doesn’t work well up to expectations. Also, the weird relationship between the Orange-Blue Bundle makes sling TV less beginner-friendly.
Sling TV has improved it’s streaming quality lately. It has also improved the range of devices it works on. The ‘a la carte’ pricing which appears complex but makes sure you pay only for what you need. Missing channels from a basic package like ABC network, CBC, and Discovery is truly a downfall for Sling TV. Users reported similar concerns over missing channels in online platforms. Also, you end up paying $5 for DVR for about 100hours of recording which is offered free of cost in other services like PlayStation Vue.
Of Course, Sling TV isn’t the best deal but not the worst deal as well. They have successfully managed a base of users who enjoy affordable TV viewing and is available on almost all of the devices. If you too are a fan of cord-cutters at an unbelievable cheaper rate, dealing with few of the downside of Sling TV may not be a concern.