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|Orange||$35/month||Stream live television on 31 channels on one device at a time; 50 hours of DVR storage.|
|Blue||$35/month||Stream live television on 41 channels on three devices at a time; 50 hours of DVR storage.|
|Orange & Blue||$50/month||Stream live television on 47 channels on three devices at a time; 50 hours of DVR storage.|
What Is Sling?
One of the most difficult things about cutting the cord and giving up cable is losing access to live television. Sling aims to solve this conundrum by providing this access via streaming.
Of course, other services do the same thing, but Sling generally costs less, which makes it an excellent choice for those who want live TV but don’t want to pay as much as they were paying for a cable subscription.
Sling also is an interesting alternative because it offers two basic plans for the same price. You’ll be able to view many of the same channels regardless of which you choose, but there are differences too. Go with the Blue package, and your viewing will be geared toward NBC and Fox while the Orange package is more oriented toward Disney and ESPN. Sling recommends the Orange plan for families and fans of NCAA football. Sling considers the Blue plan to be the destination for news and pro football.
So far, Sling sounds like a good deal, but it’s not perfect. Chances are good that you will expect to be able to access your local channels through your subscription. To most viewers, that would mean ABC, NBC, CBS and Fox, but that’s not what you get.
If you do want all of your local channels, then you’ll have to use an over-the-air antenna. Being forced to rely on an antenna rather defeats the idea of using all-digital streaming, which is a bummer. Sling TV will include an HD antenna or a Roku Express for customers who subscribe to at least two months in advance, which takes some of the sting out of the purchase.
However, it’s worth noting that Sling TV does not carry any PBS channels, so you won’t ever get all of your local channels through this service.
Sling TV essentially is a subscription streaming service that provides certain channels over the Internet. The channels are identical to the ones with which you are familiar if you have had a satellite or cable subscription in recent years. The difference here is that you’ll have far fewer channels and pay much less for them.
Back when Sling debuted in 2016, it was a pioneer in the industry. Now, there are several competitors including YouTube TV, DirecTV Stream, Hulu Plus Live, FuboTV and Philo. Even with all of the competition, Sling TV remains a good deal despite its limitations. It is one of the more affordable options that provides live TV to cord cutters.
How Much Does Sling TV Cost?
Sling is unusual in the streaming world because it offers two packages at the same price. Currently, both the Blue and the Orange packages are priced at $35 per month.
The Orange plan brings you 31 channels that include TBS, TNT, CNN, various ESPN channels, AMC, A&E, BBC America, BET, Comedy Central, Vice, Travel Channel, Investigation Discovery, the History Channel, IFC, MotorTrend, Food Network and HGTV among others. For the kids, you’ll have the Disney Channel, Cartoon Network and Nick Jr.
Go with the Blue package, and you’ll be able to view 41 channels. These include the Discovery Channel, E!, HLN, the NFL Network, National Geographic, TruTV, Vice, USA, Travel Channel, TLC, SYFY, MSNBC, FX, Bravo and Food Network. This is the plan that includes local networks NBC and Fox.
A third option is to choose a plan that combines Orange and Blue for $50 per month. This gives you a total of 47 channels, which is just six more than you get with the Blue plan. Basically, the combined Orange and Blue plans give you access to all of Sling’s available channels. This means that you can view channels that are otherwise exclusive to one package or the other. These channels are Bravo, Discovery Channel, Disney Channel, E!, ESPN, Fox, Fox Sports, FX, Fox News, Freeform, HLN, MSNBC, MotorTrend, NBC, NFL Network, National Geographic, SYFY, TLC, USA and TruTV.
All three plans come with 50 hours of DVR storage. If 50 hours doesn’t sound like it would be sufficient for your household, you may opt to pay an additional five dollars each month to bring your storage capacity up to 200 hours. This extra also is notable because it protects what you have recorded so that it cannot be automatically erased.
While the Blue and the combined Orange and Blue plans let you stream simultaneously on up to three devices, the Orange plan comes with the ability to stream on only one device at a time, which is something to consider before you subscribe.
Add to Your Viewing Package
The Blue and Orange packages do a good job of covering all of the basic channels that you might expect with a cable or satellite subscription. However, if you have a particular area of interest, you may want to spring for one or more of Sling TV’s add-on services.
For instance, you can get nine channels of Showtime for ten dollars per month. Another option is the Starz package, which offers 19 channels for $9 per month. Many subscribers choose the economically priced Epix package, which provides four additional channels for five dollars each month.
The Discovery+ package is definitely attractive with its 23 channels for $4.99 per month. This package includes OWN, Animal Planet, Destination America, the Magnolia Network, the Science Channel, Popsugar, American Heroes Channel and more. Sports fans are certain to love the Sports Extras package. This add-on features 20 channels for $15 per month. The channels include the Golf Channel, the NHL Network, ESPN U, the MLB Network, NBA TV, ESPN News, the Olympic Channel and others.
People who enjoy creative programming will love Lifestyle Extras. For just six dollars each month, they can get 10 channels that include VH1, the Hallmark Channel, WE, Oxygen and others.
Further add-on packages include News Extras, Comedy Extras, Kids Extras, Hollywood Extras, Heartland Extras and the Total TV Deal. These range in price from six dollars per month up to $27 each month for the Total TV Deal.
Premium add-ons include Acorn, ALLBLK, Cocina On, DogTV, Grokker, Noggin, Monsters & Nightmares, IFC Films Unlimited, Outside TV, Warriors & Gangsters and Sundance Now. Most of these cost between three and ten dollars per month.
There are even add-ons in the Latino and International Categories, providing a world of choices no matter your native language.
How Do You Watch Sling TV?
This streaming service is available on a variety of devices and platforms. Smart TVs, computers, mobile devices and gaming consoles all may be used to view programming. Choices of streaming devices include Roku, Chromecast, Apple TV and Amazon Five TV. Using these devices requires either an Ethernet or Wi-Fi connection in addition to the Sling TV app. No cable box or cable subscription is needed.
The Sling TV interface will be accessible and easy to use for anyone who has a smart TV or who is familiar with streaming services. If you are brand-new to the world of streaming and are accustomed to the interface provided by a cable or satellite company, you may be in for a bit of a shock.
Still, the interface is accessible, and most people will become comfortable with it in a short time. The menu system organizes the viewer’s content horizontally on the left-hand side of the screen. Your choices on the menu are Search, On-Demand, Home and Guide DVR. The tile system interface is much like that used by a variety of streaming services, so it shouldn’t trip up too many new users.
Overall, Sling TV operates smoothly as long as your Internet connection is stable and secure.
How Do You View and Maintain Your Sling TV Account?
By far the easiest way to view and maintain your subscription is at the website. Just navigate to sling.com/my-account to sign in using your email address and password.
The My Account screen has a ton of useful information plus convenient links to make management a snap. Near the top of the screen, you’ll see when your subscription will automatically renew and your next billing date. One of the attractive things about Sling TV is that you can start, modify or cancel your subscription at any time. If you want to change your base subscription, add or cancel extras or do anything else, you always have the power to do so.
The My Account screen has helpful buttons that say “Edit Subscription” and “Watch Now” if those are the options you are seeking. Useful links are next to these buttons. Including View Billing Details, Update Payment Information, Pay with BitPay, Redeem Promo Code and Add Gift Card, these links make dealing with billing issues a breeze. Other links are provided to Refer a Friend, Pause Subscription and Cancel Subscription. Accordingly, ending your subscription to Sling TV is as easy as selecting this link and following the instructions.
The My Account screen also lets you access all of your account information. This is where you go to update your personal information, change your password and explore the list of supported devices. From this screen, you can view your personal device list and sign out of all devices.
How Do You Contact Sling TV Customer Support?
If you ever run into any difficulties with Sling or have questions about the service, it’s wise to visit the online help center at sling.com/help. Simply type your question into the search bar to bring up relevant search results.
Below the search bar are several categories such as Learn About Sling, Channels and Programming, Manage Your Account, Optimize Your Experience, Get Technical Help and Status Center. Each category features several common questions and topics. These will probably answer most ordinary questions.
The Help Center home screen also has a button near the bottom. Selecting this button, which says “Contact Us,” takes you to another section of the Help Center. Chat is available from 8:00 am to 1:00 am ET. Social media options also are available between the same hours. Your options here include Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and WhatsApp. If you prefer to talk to someone, just dial 1-888-363-1777 between the hours of 9:30 am and 12:00 am ET.
Is Sling TV Worth It?
If you are looking for a budget-friendly alternative to a cable or satellite subscription, then Sling TV can be a fantastic deal for you. The basic Blue and Orange packages offer a wide variety of programming at a low cost per month.
Plus, Sling acts like you probably wish your cable subscription had worked all these years. It gives you many of the most popular channels that have broad appeal at an affordable price. Moreover, you can pick and choose add-ons that suit your family’s preferences. Some of these extras are only three to five dollars per month, and most of the others are not a great deal more expensive. This means that you can customize your channels with ease.
Unfortunately, Sling TV doesn’t offer ready access to local networks. The Fox and NBC networks come from certain large cities, and ABC, CBS and PBS are not represented at all. Some packages include an antenna that enables viewing of these channels.
Sling TV is a great choice for people who like some live TV and don’t want to break the bank to get it.