If you’re ready to lower your $100 a month cable or satellite TV bill, Sling TV is arguably the best option to stream live TV on a budget.
What Is Sling TV and How Does It Work? Team Clark Put It to the Test
Starting at $30 per month, Sling TV offers dozens of popular cable and broadcast channels with no long-term contracts, hidden fees or rental equipment.
I’ve tested Sling TV extensively over the past few years. Here’s my review and what you need to know!
Table of Contents:
1. Sling TV Packages and Channels
Sling TV’s packages are a bit confusing. First, there’s Sling Orange for $30 a month that includes about 30 channels like ESPN, CNN, Disney Channel, TNT, A&E and Lifetime.
Also for $30 per month, Sling Blue offers about 50 channels, but it doesn’t include everything in Sling Orange.
Here’s an example: You get ESPN with Sling Orange, but that network isn’t part of Sling Blue, which does have FS1 and a couple of other sports networks.
The third option is Sling Orange + Blue, a combination of the first two plans, for $45 a month.
If you’re looking for the local broadcast channels, FOX and NBC may be included in the Sling Blue package, but you’re probably better off buying an antenna for a lifetime of free over-the-air TV.
Sling Orange restricts users to a single stream, while Sling Blue allows you to watch on three screens at a time.
Sling TV Channel Lineups
|Sling Blue |
|Sling Orange + Blue
|AXS TV||AXS TV||AXS TV|
|BBC America||BBC America||BBC America|
|Cartoon Network||Cartoon Network||Cartoon Network|
|Comedy Central||Comedy Central||Comedy Central|
|Discovery Channel||Discovery Channel|
|Disney Channel||Disney Channel|
|EPIX Drive-In||EPIX Drive-In||EPIX Drive-In|
|Food Network||Food Network||Food Network|
|Fox News Channel||Fox News Channel|
|FOX (select markets)||FOX (select markets)|
|Fox Sports 1 (FS1)||Fox Sports 1 (FS1)|
|History Channel||History Channel||History Channel|
|Investigation Discovery (ID)||Investigation Discovery (ID)||Investigation Discovery (ID)|
|Local Now||Local Now||Local Now|
|National Geographic||National Geographic|
|NBC (select markets)||NBC (select markets)|
|NFL Network||NFL Network|
|Nick Jr.||Nick Jr.||Nick Jr.|
|Travel Channel||Travel Channel||Travel Channel|
Want even more channels? Sling has them! In addition to its Sling Orange and Sling Blue plans, you can add on extras based on genres — sports, kids, comedy, news, lifestyle, etc.
For example, the “Lifestyle Extra” adds VH1, Hallmark Channel and several other channels for $5 per month.
But if you’re trying to keep your TV bill low, my advice is to go easy on the “extras” that Sling tries to sell you!
If you’re not sure which plan is best for you, make a list of your must-have channels and enter them into Sling TV’s service optimizer tool. This is a new resource that launched in 2020.
After you enter your favorite channels, Sling TV will recommend the most affordable bundle. Get started here.
You can use Team Clark’s channel comparison chart for a side-by-side look at the streaming TV services.
2. Does Sling TV Include DVR?
All Sling TV packages now come with 10 hours of cloud DVR. If that’s not enough, you can pay an extra $5/month for 50 hours of storage.
I found the DVR function easy to use and loved being able to pause, rewind and fast-forward through my shows.
However, Sling TV’s free DVR storage is less generous than its main competitors. YouTube TV features unlimited DVR for all subscribers, while Hulu + Live TV includes 50 hours of storage in its base plan.
3. Sling TV Compatible Streaming Devices
You can stream Sling TV on your smartphone, computer or tablet from anywhere, but what if you just want to watch it on the TV set in your living room? Not a problem!
Sling TV has a long list of supported devices:
- Amazon Fire TV
- Amazon tablet
- Android device
- Android TV
- Apple TV
- iOS device
- LG TV
- Samsung Smart TV
- TiVo Stream 4K
- Xbox One
- Web browsers
If you’re just starting out, consider a Roku Express or Amazon Fire TV Stick. They’re both affordable options.
Like all streaming services, Sling TV requires a high-speed internet connection. You should have a download speed of 5 Mbps for a single stream and 25 Mbps for households with multiple devices using the internet.
4. Sling TV Navigation
Sling TV has various menus to help you find something to watch, but I prefer the grid guide. I found that it’s the easiest way to browse and didn’t require much time to learn — it’s very similar to a traditional cable TV guide.
Just move up, down, left or right to see what’s currently on TV or coming up on each channel, up to a week in advance.
From the home screen, Sling TV has an option to manage your favorite channels. When you launch the service, it displays what’s airing on your favorite channels right at the top of the screen.
And when you’re using the TV guide, there’s a “My Channels” filter to help you find what you want to watch faster.
5. Sling TV Free Trial and Sign-Up Offers
Sling TV usually has a free trial for new subscribers, but the company is known to offer other deals on a regular basis, like $10 off for the first month of service.
There are also frequent device offers. For example, I got a free Roku Express ($29.99 value) when I signed up for Sling TV and paid for one month of service. This offer wasn’t available with the free trial.
Of course, deals like these can expire at any time! Click here for the latest offers from Sling TV.
Sling TV isn’t going to be a great fit for everyone — especially if you’re used to having 100+ channels — but the free trial period will give you some time to see if it works for you.
My suggestion is to make a list of your favorite channels and find out how many of them are included in Sling’s bundles.
Before you make any moves with your cable or satellite TV provider, shop around and consider taking advantage of the free trials that other live TV streaming services offer.
We’ve rounded up your best options in Team Clark’s guide to the best streaming TV plans and deals!