4 Things To Know Before You Sign Up for Sling TV


If you’re tired of paying a big cable bill each month, you may find that cutting the cord and subscribing to Sling TV  is a great money-saving solution in 2021.

This live TV streaming service is one of a handful of options for people looking to leave the cable company behind for good. Others include YouTube TV and Hulu + Live TV.

Sling offers two starkly different channel packages that each start at just $35 per month, but the best deal for the service may cost you a bit more than that: $50 for both packages.

In this article, I’ll walk you through everything you need to know about the popular streaming service.

What Is Sling TV? Team Clark Reviews the Live TV Streaming Service

Sling Streaming Service Review

If you are looking for a way to both cut the cord and beat the pricing from YouTube TV or Hulu + Live TV, picking one of Sling TV’s packages may be your best cost-saving move.

Sling touts three major packages, and they’re are all cheaper than many of the top players in this space:

  • Sling Blue
  • Sling Orange
  • Sling Orange + Blue

You can purchase either Blue or Orange as a standalone product for $35 per month. If you’d like the benefits of both, you can buy the combination package (Orange + Blue) for $50 per month.

That pricing has caught the attention of money expert Clark Howard. It’s $15-$30 per month cheaper than its top live TV streaming competitors, which have settled into the $65 per month range.

“Sling TV offers a comparative advantage in pricing over YouTube TV or Hulu + Live TV,” Clark says, “Particularly if you’re good with just the Orange or the Blue package. It would save you quite a bit of money over the course of a year.”

Clark is not currently a Sling TV subscriber, but he says he would seriously consider it as a cost-saving measure if not for the other members of his family: They strongly prefer the functionality of YouTube TV.

I’ll take a closer look at the differences in the channel menu for each of the Sling TV packages later in this article.


Table of Contents: 

1. What Channels Come With a Sling TV Package?

We’re going to need your full attention for a moment, because Sling TV’s packages are pretty confusing.

As mentioned earlier in the story, Sling TV has three basic live TV streaming packages: Sling Orange, Sling Blue and Sling Orange + Blue.

Sling Blue and Sling Orange are both $35 per month packages, but they offer different selections of channels.

The line in the sand appears to be the ESPN family of networks. Sling Orange has them, and Sling Blue does not. Since ESPN channels are expensive for the streaming providers, the Orange package, which includes the ESPN channels, has an otherwise stripped-down menu.

Sling Blue doesn’t offer ESPN channels, but it offers more channel options for the same price. Instead of ESPN, you’re able to get channels such as FOX News, MSNBC, Discovery, Bravo and your local NBC or FOX affiliates.

For an additional $15 per month, you can skip the comparison between Orange and Blue. Sling Orange + Blue is $50 per month and offers all of the channels from both $35 packages.

When looking at the channel menu below, you may notice that only NBC and FOX affiliates are offered with the Blue and Orange + Blue packages. That means you’re completely out of luck if you want to watch your local ABC and CBS channels with Sling (more on this momentarily).

If you’re looking for access to local channels, we have some ideas that won’t break the bank.

Below is a comparison of the Sling channel packages. If you want to compare Sling’s channel lineup to other streaming TV services, see our side-by-side chart or use our live TV streaming channel tool.


Add-on Channel Packages

If you want more channels than the base Sling TV packages offer, you’re going to have to fork over some more cash.


Sling makes it easy, though. There are several different add-on packages that feature channels grouped together by genre. Want more sports? Pay for the Sports Extra package. More funny stuff? Try the Comedy Extra package.

Sling Orange Add-On Packages

Sling Blue Add-On Packages

Premium Channels

In addition to add-on channel packages, Sling TV also offers a la carte options for premium subscription services.

For example, you can subscribe to premium channels like Showtime or STARZ individually for a monthly fee.

Here’s a sampling of the premium channels that are available through Sling TV:

  • Showtime
  • EPIX
  • Hallmark Movies Now
  • IFC Films Unlimited

What About Local Channels?

As I previously mentioned, only select NBC and FOX affiliates are included with your Sling TV subscription.

That means streamers wanting to watch their local ABC or CBS broadcast may have to reach outside the Sling ecosystem to get these channels.

Sling integrated Locast into their interface to help with this, but that service has ceased operations due to legal issues surrounding the way they were acquiring the broadcast of local channels.

I asked for solutions to the situation now that Locast is no longer an option, and Sling representatives pointed me to this page as a guide for users. (Spoiler: You’re likely going to need an antenna.)

However, here are the quick takeaways for Sling’s strategy on local channel access:

  1. Again, FOX and NBC are available for Sling subscribers in select markets (no additional cost or no additional hardware needed, they are included in the channel lineup and guide)
  2. Users can purchase an HD Antenna, with or without Sling’s native streaming devices
  3. Users can pair Sling with video streaming services like Paramount+ (CBS) and Peacock (NBC) for local broadcasts

Service Optimizer 

In what we can only assume is an admission of an overly complicated channel selection process, Sling TV recently unveiled a “Service Optimizer” tool that helps potential customers determine projected monthly costs based on the content they’d like to stream.


You can make a list of your “must-have” channels and put them into Sling TV’s service optimizer tool to learn all your options for getting those channels from Sling. The goal, of course, is to gain access to your channels in the most cost-effective way.

If you’re interested in how Sling’s recommendations shake out against services like YouTube TV, Hulu + Live TV or fuboTV, you can use Team Clark’s channel comparison chart for a side-by-side look at the streaming TV services. We recently added a channel lineup tool to help you find the best deal!

If Sling TV recommends that you make multiple add-on selections to see the content you’d like on its service, there’s a chance you may be better off signing up with a competitor that offers a better base channel package.

2. Does Sling TV Include DVR?  

Sling TV does offer cloud DVR functionality with all three of its base packages. Each comes with 50 hours of storage.

You can pay an additional $5 per month to upgrade to 200 hours of storage.

The amount of storage is nowhere near the unlimited allotment given to YouTube TV subscribers, but it still is a marked improvement from the 10 hours that Sling TV provided before its latest upgrade.

The functionality of Sling’s cloud DVR is good. You can record multiple shows, movies or sporting events at the same time. And, unlike Hulu + Live TV, you’re able to fast forward right through the ads in the content you’ve saved on the DVR.

3. What Equipment Do I Need To Get Started? 

One of the biggest perks of cutting the cord and using a service like Sling TV is the variety of ways in which you can enjoy the content.

Not only can you move seamlessly from device to device, but you can also take your recorded content with you thanks to the portability of the cloud DVR.

You can watch Sling TV on your phone, tablet or computer. In fact, Sling is planning to launch a new app in 2021.


But many of us still like to enjoy entertainment on a television from the comfort of our couches. Sling TV has you covered in that area, too. Most of the most popular streaming devices, including Roku and Amazon Fire TV, are compatible.

The streaming service’s list of supported devices for TV includes:

  • AirTV
  • Amazon Fire TV
  • Android TV
  • Apple TV
  • Chromecast with Google TV
  • Facebook Portal
  • LG TV
  • Roku devices
  • Samsung Smart TV
  • TiVo Stream 4K
  • Xbox One and Xbox Series X

This is probably a good time to mention that Sling likes to run promotions for new customers that sometimes can net you a free streaming device for your television.

For example, here’s a limited-time promotion offered recently to new users willing to prepay for two months of service:

Sling TV promotion

One final thing to consider in the equipment arena is how important local channels are to you.

If you need to see all of them as a Sling subscriber, you may also need to invest in an antenna to account for the channels that Sling does not provide. Remember, Sling provides access only to select NBC and FOX affiliates on some of its packages.

This is an area in which Sling TV’s varying packages can be confusing.

The number of screens you can stream on simultaneously depends upon which Sling TV package you have.

Sling Orange customers can stream on just one device at a time. Sling Blue customers can stream on three devices simultaneously.

If you pay up for the Sling Orange + Blue package, you’ll get four concurrent streams. That’s one of the best options for larger households on the market.


Here’s how that stacks up against some of the top live TV streaming competitors.

Sling TV: Pros and Cons

Pros Cons
Pricing significantly cheaper than top competitors Only partial access to local channels
Compatible with all major streaming devicesConfusing channel packages
Frequent promotional deals with free streaming devicesNeed add-on packages for channels that are in basic packages for other services

If you’re looking to cut the cord, Sling TV is one of the best value options on the live TV streaming market.

That’s especially true if you can get what you need from a $35 per month subscription through Sling Orange or Sling Blue.

Even if you need to pay up for Sling Orange + Blue to get your desired channel mix, there’s still some value to saving $15 per month versus a subscription to Sling’s top competitors.

Sling TV isn’t going to be a great fit for everyone, though. Many users may see the expanded channel library, unlimited cloud DVR and superior access to sports, news and local channels as reasons to pay up for YouTube TV instead.

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