Sling TV review

Sling TV highlights

Sling TV review

As we move on from old-fashioned ways of watching TV and movies, new video streaming platforms are quickly becoming our favorite places to relax and unwind. These services can provide the same TV viewing comforts of cable while offering a whole new world of features and customization.

If you are looking for an easy transition to the world of video streaming, you might want to consider Sling TV. This service was one of the first in the game, and it is the cheapest of the most popular platforms. With Sling TV, you can watch live online broadcasts of many of your favorite TV channels from the old days of network and cable programming, but in a flexible format that is adapted to digital life.

When Sling TV started up in 2015, it did not intend to replace traditional television, only to offer a supplementary service. But in just a few years, it has grown into a fully-stocked online substitute for cable and satellite. It has 2.7 million subscribers and offers up to 50+ channels, including a wide selection of viewers’ favorites.

Sling TV logo
Sign up for Sling TV
Start a 7-day free trial

Sign up for the Orange or Blue Sling TV packages, or get them both to access 50+ channels. Use the add-ons to customize your streaming experience!

Compare Sling TV packages

Sling TV offers 40 percent off your first month’s subscription for most packages. Currently, you get a free AirTV Mini, HD Antenna or Roku device when you subscribe and pay two months in advance.

Sling Orange Sling Blue Sling Orange & Blue
Monthly price$25/mo.$25/mo.$40/mo.
Free trial length14 days*14 days*14 days*
Number of channels30+40+50+
Number of simultaneous streams134
Cloud DVR storage50 hours50 hours50 hours

How much is Sling TV compared to its rivals?

Sling TV starts at $25/mo., which beats its top competitors hands-down. YouTube TV is $49.99/mo., and fuboTV is priced at $44.99/mo. Sling TV’s low cost is one of its standout features.

Is Sling TV the right video streaming service for you?

If you are looking to upgrade your TV experience to the digital age, but want a streaming platform that replicates your old cable and satellite offering, then Sling TV might be right for you. One of the service’s advantages is that it gives customers a basic package of the most loved cable channels, such as A&E, AMC, Comedy Central, CNN, Disney Channel, Discovery and ESPN plus the option to add themed bundles. This gives you the freedom to customize your service, and it all costs much less than your old cable deal.

One potential drawback is that Sling TV has limited availability of some local network channels such as FOX and NBC. So if you are hooked on network programming that is not available through Sling TV in your area, then this service might not be the best one for you. However, you could always watch local channels like ABC, CBS, FOX or NBC using an HD antenna.

User experience

It takes some patience to get to know the Sling TV interface, as it is not the most intuitive, but it is easy enough to use once you know your way around. You can use Sling TV on your TV, computer, smartphone or tablet, and it works well across all devices. It is not currently possible to download content for offline viewing. Depending on your package, you can stream on up to four different screens at a time. You may run into difficulties with playback if your internet is too slow. Sling TV recommends that you have a minimum speed of 25 Mbps to support its service. The maximum cloud DVR storage available is 50 hours.

Device compatibility

Sling TV is compatible with the following devices:

Sling TV logo
Sign up for Sling TV
Start a 7-day free trial

Sign up for the Orange or Blue Sling TV packages, or get them both to access 50+ channels. Use the add-ons to customize your streaming experience!

Sling TV features

Sling TV does not offer original programming or hundreds of DVR storage hours, as some of the other online streaming platforms, but there are plenty of other things to enjoy about this service.

On-demand content

Sling TV also offers on-demand content. So, while the cloud DVR isn’t live for everyone at this time, there is a good chance if you missed a show you can find it in the on-demand library. Also, if you add on specific channels, like HBO, the on-demand library will have as much of their content as the network provides. For instance, with HBO you’d have access to all of the HBO series episodes both past and current.

Live streaming

All national channels included with Sling TV offer live streaming. In essence, this functions in much the same way as cable does; for example, whatever is airing for cable subscribers on ESPN right now, is also airing for Sling TV subscribers.

Flexible channel lineup

The Sling TV lineup is impressive, and many of our readers have commented that they love the flexibility of it all. Instead of being forced to buy a 100+ channel package, of which you might actually watch 30 channels, you can start with a small and affordable base package from Sling TV and then add on additional expansions, if desired. This allows for a lot more flexibility and customization in your Sling TV channel lineup.

For the full list of channels offered, visit our Sling TV channel list.

Premium channels and extras

Select premium channels, including HBO, are also available to add-on to your existing Sling TV lineup. These channels are not included in the basic package but can be added on. HBO costs $15 per month extra and gives you access to the entire HBO library. You can also get Showtime, Starz, EPIX and Cinemax through Sling TV.

A la carte channels

Several channels from Sling TV can be added A La Carte, meaning you don’t need to have an existing Sling TV subscription to get them. So, you can subscribe to Showtime, for instance, for just $10 a month – and get only Showtime. Or, choose to add that to a Sling TV plan for more selection! There are currently 15+ different A La Carte channels available, and this is one area that Sling is continually expanding.

My TV

This feature allows you to customize your interface by adding your Top Channels to a ribbon bar. You can also pause watching and return to a show later using the Continue Watching ribbon. Add your favorite TV shows, series or movies to your Favorites ribbon to quickly find new episodes of your can’t-miss shows. 

DVR storage

Sling TV has been rolling out a new cloud DVR feature, and fans are quite excited. Here is the info you need:

  • Not included in standard plan; must add-on for additional $5 a month
  • Includes 50 hours of storage
  • It’s a “cloud” DVR, meaning you don’t need a physical DVR device. Recordings are stored digitally in the cloud
  • When storage capacity is reached, your oldest recordings will automatically be deleted to make way for new ones
  • DVR functionality may not be available on all channels
  • DVR works on AirTV players, Amazon Fire TVs and Fire tablets, Android TVs, Android mobile devices, Apple TVs, Roku streaming players, Roku TVs, XBOX consoles and Windows 10 devices.

The Sling TV DVR is super easy to use. All you need to do is find a show or movie using the guide, select it, and press “record”. You can choose to record just that show, all future shows, or all future new shows (excluding reruns). The Sling TV DVR is quite new, so you won’t necessarily see this discussed much in other Sling TV reviews. You can check the FAQ for more info.

Easy to cancel

One of the major differences between Sling TV and traditional cable contracts is that you can cancel your subscription at any time. Your access to content will keep going until the end of any pre-paid billing cycle (for example, the remainder of the month you are in), and then your payments and access will stop.

Subscription pause feature

If you do not want to fully cancel your subscription but want to take a few months off, you have the option to pause your subscription.

Parental controls

Parents have the option to set controls on what content can be accessed via the platform.

What to watch on Sling TV

Sling TV essentially offers an online replica of your old cable and satellite service, so you can continue to watch all your favorite channels live, such as AMC, CNN, Comedy Central, the Disney Channel and ESPN, as well as premiums including Showtime, with the bonus of on-demand content, pay-per-view events and films. Sling TV does not currently offer HBO or Cinemax. If you want to customize your package with themed bundles, you can add sports, news, movies, international, foreign language, lifestyle and more.

The takeaway

Sling TV is a good low-cost option for people who would like to upgrade to an online live TV streaming service while still being able to access their favorite cable channels. It doesn’t have some of the flashier features of other platforms, like hundreds of hours of DVR storage or original content, but it offers a wide variety of entertainment in a flexible, ideally priced and user-friendly format.

Sling TV logo
Sign up for Sling TV
Start a 7-day free trial

Sign up for the Orange or Blue Sling TV packages, or get them both to access 50+ channels. Use the add-ons to customize your streaming experience!

*Pricing and features current as of 03/27/2019

Joy Martin

Joy Martin writes articles about culture and entertainment, and her work has been published in American Theatre Magazine (New York), Exeunt Magazine (London) and various online platforms. She won a grant for artistic development in Creative Writing from Arts Council England in 2014. She has a BSc in English and Music from Central Michigan University, a BA (Hons) in English from the University of Cambridge and a Master of Research degree in the Humanities and Cultural Studies from The London Consortium at the University of London.