Sling TV is a video streaming service that provides viewers with cable-like live TV experiences. Sling TV is owned by Dish Network and, as of the first quarter of 2020, had 2.59 million subscribers. The service provides three paid-for packages that range between $30/mo. and $45/mo. and provide between 30 and 50 live TV channels. It also has a free service that’s home to 5,000 movies and TV shows.
This article will provide more information about Sling TV and whether the service provides 4K content. It will advise users about how they can watch 4K content and the equipment and technology they need to stream in the highest possible video resolution. For more information about the service, read our Sling TV review.
What is 4K programming?
The highest standard of video quality now available to watch movies and TV shows online is 4K programming. This offers pixel resolution that’s four times greater than standard high-definition (HD) video. Video that’s considered 4K quality has a pixel resolution of 2,160 x 3,840 compared to the 1,080 x 1,920-pixel resolution of HD.
In practice, this means that 4K programming offers picture quality that’s four times crisper and more precise than HD video. It, therefore, looks sharper and smoother and appears more realistic to the viewer. It also offers a more vivid viewing experience and a wider color spectrum, whereby black and dark shades appear darker and brighter colors are more pronounced.
Does Sling TV support 4K resolution?
At the time of writing, Sling TV 4K content isn’t available to its customers. This shouldn’t be a huge surprise as major TV networks don’t yet broadcast live content in 4K. Instead, live broadcasts are limited to high-definition (HD) quality. The highest possible video resolution is reserved for on-demand streaming services, which have movies and TV shows available in 4K.
Obtaining content to stream in 4K would likely be expensive and go against Sling TV’s mission of providing value to customers. It’s therefore unlikely to see Sling TV 4K content before it becomes standard broadcast quality.
Which devices support 4K streaming on Sling TV?
Sling TV doesn’t currently provide any content in 4K resolution, so it isn’t possible to stream to any devices in this highest video quality.
However, streaming in 4K is becoming increasingly easy as the technology required continues to reduce in price. First of all, 4K streaming is only possible with a 4K high-dynamic-range imaging (HDR) TV set. Streamers that have a 4K TV should have all they need to immediately start watching the highest possible video resolution as most of these sets are now also smart TVs. In that case, they simply need to download the app of their preferred streaming service and start watching.
People who have a regular 4K TV that isn’t internet-connected need to also purchase a streaming device that supports the video resolution. This includes streaming sticks and boxes that connect directly into the 4K TV. Devices compatible with 4K streaming include:
- Amazon Fire TV Cube and Amazon Fire TV Stick 4K
- Android phones and tablets with 4K resolution
- AOC, Changhong, Grundig, Haier, Hisense, Panasonic, Philips, Samsung, Sharp, Skyworth, TCL, Vestel and Vizio smart TV models from 2015 or later
- Apple phones and tablets with 4K resolution
- Apple TV 4K
- Google Chromecast Ultra
- Nvidia Shield TV
- Roku Streaming Stick+ and Roku Ultra
- Sony Playstation 4 Pro
- Xbox One S and Xbox One X
What content on Sling TV supports 4K streaming?
Unfortunately, there isn’t currently any content on Sling TV that supports 4K streaming. This highest video resolution is reserved for streaming on-demand content, whereas Sling TV provides three plans for customers to stream live channels.
The Sling Blue plan includes popular channels like Bravo, CNN, FOX News and FOX Sports 1, MSNBC and National Geographic. The package provides users with three simultaneous streams and comes with 10 hours of cloud DVR storage space for $30/mo. Sling TV Orange includes three ESPN channels and Disney Channel. Subscribers can only watch on one device at the same time and get 10 hours of cloud DVR for $30/mo. Combining the two in Sling TV Blue & Orange unlocks four simultaneous streams and 10 hours of cloud DVR for $45/mo.
In addition to live TV packages, Sling TV customers can purchase premium channels that include live and on-demand movies and TV shows, such as Epix, SHOWTIME and STARZ. These add-on channels are charged for on top of users’ regular monthly subscription.
What’s the recommended internet speed for 4K streaming on Sling TV?
Sling TV doesn’t enable customers to stream content in 4K video resolution. However, users’ internet speed is crucial to being able to stream 4K content. That’s because the higher quality of video resolution demands higher bandwidth. However, the minimum bandwidth differs slightly for each online streaming service as they compress data in different ways.
Amazon Prime Video recommends that its viewers have an internet speed of at least 15 Mbps to stream content in 4K video quality. However, 4K streaming typically requires internet speeds of at least 20 Mbps if not 25 Mbps, so it’s always best to aim for speeds a little higher than streaming services recommend. This high internet speed requirement means it’s important for people with data caps to keep an eye on their usage to ensure they don’t get charged extra by their internet provider.
Our hot take
The highest quality of video resolution currently available to online streamers is 4K. The video quality offers a substantial improvement on standard HD programming, with four times the resolution and, as a result, four times crisper and sharper viewing experiences.
However, this level of video resolution is restricted to on-demand content, such as movies and TV shows, rather than live channels. As a result, Sling TV doesn’t provide any 4K content to customers.
Sling TV may not offer 4K content, but it does provide a competitive live TV streaming service that includes entertainment, lifestyle, news and sports channels. It also provides a three-day free trial for new customers to test it out without paying a cent.