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Sling TV Review: Live TV That Balances Features with Price

On Shall I Stream It, we’ve reviewed multiple live TV streaming services, including YouTube TV, Philo, and Hulu + Live TV. While each service has its own merits, they seem to bring about an essential choice. Do you pay up for a content-packed service like Hulu + Live TV? Or pay less for a service with fewer content options like Philo?

What’s great about Sling TV is it seems to balance those two elements: features and price. In this Sling TV review, we’ll cover exactly what you need to know before you sign up for Sling TV including their channel lineup, pricing, local channel options, and the Sling TV app.

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Contents

The Basics: Sling TV Review

Sling TV Review
PlansBlue Plan (41 Channels)
Orange Plan (31 Channels)
Blue + Orange Plan (47 Channels)
Pricing$40-$55/mo.
Free Trial?Sometimes
DVR50 hrs cloud DVR

First let’s cover the basics. Sling TV is a live TV streaming service for cord cutters that lets you watch the same channels you’d get with cable television, but over the internet. 

Unlike cable, there’s no long-term commitment. Your membership is month-to-month and you can cancel at any time. Plus there’s no equipment needed since everything streams over the internet, including the shows you record. 

You can watch Sling TV on sling.com or through the Sling app which is available on phones, tablets, smart TVs, streaming players, and game consoles. 

With prices that start at $40 a month, it’s cheaper than services like fuboTV or Hulu + Live TV. The trade-off is a slightly smaller channel lineup and more limited features. 

What sets it apart from the lower-cost services like Philo and Frndly TV is a better focus on live sports and news channels. 

You can also add-on additional streaming services like Discovery+ and STARZ so you can watch their shows directly in the Sling TV app. What’s more you can also get some local channels included with your subscription (depending on your city) or watch them together in the Sling TV app by connecting an antenna to an Air TV device (more on that later!).

The Channel Lineup, Plans, & Add-Ons

Sling FreeOrange PlanBlue PlanOrange + Blue Plan
Price$0/mo$40/mo$40/mo$55/mo
Channels150+ free channels150+ free channels
31 paid channels
including
Disney & ESPN
150+ free channels
41 paid channels
including Bravo, Discovery, FX,
Fox News, NFL Network, & FS1
150+ free channels
All 47 paid channels
from Orange & Blue plans
DVRN/A50 hrs50 hrs50 hrs
# of Streams1131-3
Screenshot from Sling.com

Sling TV’s plans can seem a little confusing at first, as they are branded with names of colors. Each has a slightly different channel lineup and set of features. 

We’ll break it down here to make it easier. Here’s what you can expect on each plan:

Sling Free: Much like Pluto TV and The Roku Channel offer free, ad-supported channels, Sling offers free channels as well. You don’t need to pay money or enter credit card info to access these free channels. 

With Sling Free, you’ll get access to over 150+ live channels and 40,000 on-demand movies and shows. Take note that you can’t record anything with the free plan. If you subscribe to a paid plan, however, not only will you get everything from Sling Free together in the same app, but you’ll be able to record their channels as well.

Here are some of the included channels with Sling Free:

  • ABC News Live
  • Newsy
  • Stories by AMC
  • MTV on Pluto
  • Comedy Central on Pluto
  • the Grio
  • The Elvis Presley Channel
  • Circle
  • Tastemade
  • QVC

Orange Plan: This plan includes everything from Sling Free plus access to 31 live channels and additional on-demand content. 50 hours of cloud DVR storage are included and you can stream from 1 device at a time. This plan costs $40/mo.

Here are the channels included on the Orange Plan (Orange exclusives are in BOLD):

  • A&E
  • AMC
  • AXS TV
  • BBC America
  • BET
  • Bloomberg
  • Charge!
  • CNN
  • Cartoon Network
  • Comedy Central
  • Comet
  • Disney Channel
  • EPIX Drive-In
  • ESPN
  • ESPN2
  • ESPN3
  • Food Network
  • Freeform
  • Fuse
  • HGTV
  • History Channel
  • IFC
  • Investigation Discovery
  • Lifetime
  • Local Now
  • MotorTrend
  • Nick Jr.
  • TBS
  • TNT
  • Travel Channel
  • Vice

Blue Plan: This plan includes everything from Sling Free plus access to 41 live channels and on-demand content. 50 hours of cloud DVR storage are included and you can stream from 3 devices at a time. This plan costs $40/mo.

Here are the channels included on the Blue Plan (Blue exclusives are in BOLD):

  • A&E
  • AMC
  • AXS TV
  • BBC America
  • BET
  • Bloomberg
  • Bravo
  • Charge!
  • CNN
  • Cartoon Network
  • Comedy Central
  • Comet
  • Discovery
  • E!
  • EPIX Drive-In
  • FOX (in some cities)
  • FS1
  • FX
  • Food Network
  • Fox News
  • fuse
  • HGTV
  • HLN
  • History
  • IFC
  • Investigation Discovery
  • Lifetime
  • Local Now
  • MSNBC
  • NBC (in certain cities)
  • NFL Network
  • National Geographic
  • Nick Jr.
  • SYFY
  • TBS
  • TLC
  • TNT
  • Travel Channel
  • USA
  • Vice
  • truTV

Orange & Blue Plan: This plan includes everything from Sling Free plus access to the 47 live channels from both the Orange and Blue plans and on-demand content. 50 hours of cloud DVR storage are included and you can stream from 1-3 devices at a time, depending on the channel. This plan costs $55/mo.

Add-Ons

There are add-on channels, features, and services that you can get with your subscription.

Take note- you must have a paid plan in order to get extras through the Sling app. Also the channels available with the extras will depend on whether you have the Orange Plan, Blue Plan, or Orange & Blue Plan.

Here’s what’s available:

  • DVR Plus: $5/mo. Increases DVR storage from 50 hours to 200 hours.
  • Sports Extra: $11/mo. Adds a cluster of sports networks. This varies by plan but can include SEC Network, NBA TV, NHL Network, MLB Network, Longhorn Network, MLB Strike Zone, NFL RedZone, FS2, beIN Sports, and the Big 10 Network. 
  • Comedy Extra: $6/mo. Includes channels such as MTV, Paramount Network, CMT, and TV Land, depending on your plan.
  • Kids Extra: $6/mo. Includes channels such as Disney Junior, nickToons, and Boomerang, depending on your plan.
  • News Extra: $6/mo. Includes channels such as BBC World News, HLN, Law & Crime, SCI, and CNBC, depending on your plan.
  • Lifestyle Extra: $6/mo. Includes channels such as Hallmark Channel, VH1, LMN, and Oxygen, depending on your plan.
  • Hollywood Extra: $6/mo. Includes channels such as REELZ, TCM, GRIT, Sundance, and FXM, depending on your plan.
  • Heartland Extra: $6/mo. Includes channels such as INSP, Great American Family, AHC, Destination America, Cowboy Channel, and National Geographic Wild, depending on your plan. 
  • Total TV Deal: $21/mo. Includes all seven “extras” packages,” plus DVR Plus.
  • 4 Extras Deal: $13/mo. Includes Kids Extra, News Extra, Lifestyle Extra, and Comedy Extra.

Other premium extras include: Showtime, STARZ, EPIX, Discovery+, AcornTV, ALLBLK, AMC+, BET+, Cinefest, CineMoi, Cocina On, Comedy Dynamics, CONtv, The Country Network, CuriosityStream, Desi Binge Mini, Docurama, DOGTV, Dove Channel, DOX, FlixLatino, Gallery, Grokker, Hallmark Movies Now, Here TV, Hipster, IFC Films Unlimited, Kartoon Channel!, Magnolia Selects, Monsters & Nightmares, Noggin, Outside TV Features, Pantaya, PlayKids, Qello Concerts, ScreamFlix, Shudder, Singray Karaoke, Sundance Now, Tastemade+, True Royalty TV, TumbleBooks, UP Faith & Family, VIX+, and Warriors & Gangers.

What Channels are Missing from Sling TV?

Despite the wide array of add-on options, there are some channels that are not available on any Sling TV plan or “extra.”

Some of them are: Animal Planet, CBS Sports Network, Cinemax, CSPAN, HBO, Nickelodeon, OWN, PBS, Smithsonian Channel, and The Weather Channel.

Sling TV also has a pretty limited lineup of Regional Sports Networks (or RSNs). For those you will need a different streaming service like Bally Sports+, fuboTV, or DIRECTV Stream.

Digital Rentals and Purchases

Another feature Sling TV offers is the ability to rent or purchase shows and movies for an extra fee. This is convenient if you want to watch recent movie releases that haven't hit TV yet.

Local Channels with Sling TV

It is possible to watch local channels through the Sling TV app. There are two ways to do this.

First, local FOX and NBC affiliates are included with the Sling Blue or Sling Orange & Blue plans, but only in certain cities

Here are the cities that include FOX: Atlanta, Austin, Chicago, Dallas/Forth Worth, Detroit, Gainesville, Houston, Los Angeles, Milwaukee, Minneapolis/St. Paul, New York, Orlando/Daytona/Melbourne, Philadelphia, Phoenix, San Francisco/Oakland/San Jose, Seattle, Tampa/St. Petersburg, Washington, D.C.

Here are the cities that include NBC: Boston, Chicago, Dallas/Fort Worth, Hartford/New Haven, Los Angeles, Miami/Fort Lauderdale, New York, Philadelphia, San Diego, San Francisco/Oakland/San Jose, Washington, D.C.

The second method is by using an antenna that’s connected to an AirTV device. AirTV allows you to stream the broadcast signal from your antenna over the internet to any device with the Sling TV app.

It’s a pretty cool feature that’s designed from the ground up to integrate together with your Sling account. This way you can watch your local broadcast channels together with your streaming channels all in one place!

For this to work, you will need either the AirTV 2 or the AirTV Anywhere

Image of the AirTV 2

The Sling TV App & Features

Video QualityUp to 1080p, depending on channel
No support for 4K
SoundStereo
5.1 support on some on-demand content
Simultaneous Streams1-3, depending on Orange/Blue Plan
Profiles per Account1
Offline DownloadsNo
DVR50 hrs included, 200 hrs upgrade
Keep recordings indefinitely
Image: Canva Pro

I found the Sling TV app to be slightly less intuitive than those from other live TV streaming services. There is no option to add multiple profiles to your account. The interface is good, but certain features, like the ability to continue watching a channel in the background while you browse, are more limited than YouTube TV or fuboTV.

For those looking for premium video resolution and audio, Sling TV does not offer 4K or surround sound support. 

Still, when it comes to delivering live channels at a lower-than-average cost, Sling TV does it well. In trying Sling out on various devices: my smartphone, laptop, Roku player, and Apple TV, I had a quality video stream without any technical errors.  

Cloud DVR and Recording

Recording shows and movies is a pretty simple process on Sling. Just select the show you want to record from the Guide, and hit the record button.

You can choose to record a single episodes of a show or set the series to record. Sling allows for unlimited simultaneous recordings. 

You can keep your recordings indefinitely, but once your DVR space is full, the oldest recordings will delete automatically. The DVR Plus upgrade gives you the option to “lock” recordings so they aren’t automatically deleted if the space if full, though.

There are a small handful of channels that don’t allow you to record. They are: ESPN3, ACC Network Extra, SEC Network+, and Local Now.

Sling Watch Party

A fun feature of Sling is the ability to create a “Watch Party.” This allows you to watch a show over video chat with up to three friends or family, whether they are a Sling subscriber or not. Your friends and family can join three Watch Parties for free.

Sling TV Review Final Verdict: Is Sling TV Worth It?

ProsCons
-Lower price than some competitors
-Ability to integrate antenna channels, add-on
subscriptions, & paid content in a single app
-Keep recordings indefinitely
-Lots of options for add-ons
-Slightly confusing plan choices
-No unlimited DVR
-No individual profiles

One of the biggest drawbacks to live TV streaming services like Hulu + Live TV or YouTube TV is the cost. For $65-$70 a month, these services are too pricey for a lot of people. 

Sling TV creates a lower-priced option that still gives you access to sports channels, news, and many of the big “cable” networks. But with that lower price, comes some compromises. You won’t get an unlimited DVR like Hulu + Live TV or YouTube TV offer, the interface and plan options can seem slightly confusing at times, and you don’t get features like 4K resolution or individual profiles.

Still, for the price you’re paying, Sling TV offers a tremendous value. Personally, I’ve used the Blue Plan together with an antenna and an AirTV 2 and find it to be great alternative to cable- especially for just $40 a month.

While some may like the convenience and breadth of features of the higher-priced competitors, I think Sling TV is a great option for cord cutters. Also worth noting… they do often feature some kind of sign-up discount or trial offer. 

You can check out Sling TV’s current pricing for new customers by clicking the button below!

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Matt Davis
Matt Davishttp://shallistreamit.com
Matt Davis is a freelance writer, blogger, and YouTuber from the Kansas City area. As the creator and editor-in-chief of Shall I Stream It, he subscribes to more streaming services than his budget can technically handle. He is a fan of Star Wars, musical theater, and the Oxford comma.
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