Sling TV’s approach to build-your-own TV service gives you many options, but how do you make sense of its hundreds of available channels? This guide will help you understand the Sling TV channel list – and which plans get you the channels you want. Read on to learn:
- How Sling TV structures its service plans
- What channels come with each plan
- Why you might want to get both plans
- How to expand your channel lineup
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Satellite TV company DISH Network launched Sling TV in 2015 to compete with the cable industry. Sling TV promotes itself as an a la carte service that’s “TV on your terms, not your TV company’s”. The benefits it claims to offer over a typical cable plan include:
- Fewer useless channels
- No one-size-fits-all models
- No long-term contracts
- No hidden fees
Here’s the catch: Sling TV doesn’t let you pick and pay for just the channels you want. Instead, you must pick between two bundled packages, called Services, and then pay for add-on plans called Extras. Sling TV makes things complicated. We’ll start with a simple comparison of the Orange Service and Blue Service before diving into the deep end.
Sling Orange Service overview
Sling TV’s $25-per-month Orange Service has 30+ channels and limits you to a single stream. That streaming limitation makes it less attractive to multi-device households. The channel count is also deceptive as only 6 of those are unique to the Orange Service. The other 23 channels are available with the Blue Service as well.
Sling Blue Service overview
Sling TV’s $25-per-month Blue Service includes 40+ channels and lets you stream to three devices at the same time. Of those 44 channels, many are also available as part of the Orange Service. Roughly half of the channels are unique to the Blue Service.
Sling Orange + Blue Service pricing and features
If you subscribe to both plans, you get a $5 monthly discount that lowers your subscription cost to $40-per-month. That isn’t exactly a great deal when you consider that many of the channels in the Orange Service are already part of the Blue Service. On the other hand, Sling TV includes the Broadcast Extra bundle at no charge. This gives you all of the local broadcast channels and is a $5 monthly value.
Keep in mind you don’t get 40+ Blue Service channels and 30+ Orange Service channels with Orange + Blue. Instead, you get:
- Over 20 channels both plans offer
- 20+ channels unique to the Blue Service
- A small handful of channels unique to the Orange Service
- Only 3 channels in the Broadcast Extra
That brings the actual count to slightly over 50 channels for $40-per-month.
Premiums, Extras, Minis and Sling International
In addition to the usual lineup of premium channels, you can expand your Sling TV by subscribing to add-on plans. Still not a true a la carte offering, the Extra bundles group channels by themes like Sports, Kids, and Comedy. The Mini bundles group channels by languages such as French, Hindi, and Chinese. We’ll go into more detail later on, but the cost of these bundles range from $5-per-month to about $15-per-month.
A few words about live TV
Like many other streaming TV service, Sling TV offers local TV channels where it can. Whether you can get a particular local channel or not depends on a complicated system of licensing agreements. People living in Houston, for example, can watch live feeds from their local Fox, ABC, Univision and UniMás stations but can’t watch their local NBC station. None of Sling TV’s customers in any location can watch CBS stations because the network hasn’t cut a deal with Sling yet. You can check your local channels on Sling TV with its zip code look-up.
Sling TV Channel List for Orange and Blue Services
Now that we’ve sketched out the big picture we can dive into the details of Sling TV’s core services.
Channels in the Orange Service
These 6 channels are only available when you subscribe to the Orange Service plan.
- Variety (2): BBC America, Freeform
- Kids (1): Disney Channel
- Sports (3): ESPN, ESPN2, ESPN3
Channels in the Blue Service
The 21 channels unique to the Blue Service cover a much wider range of interests. Any of the channels with an asterisk is subject to local availability. You may or may not get them.
- Variety (12): BET, Bravo, El Rey Network, Fox*, FX, FXX, NBC*, Syfy, TruTV, UniMás*, Univision*, USA
- Education and Kids (3): Nat Geo Wild, National Geographic, Nick Jr
- Sports (6): Fox Regional Sports Networks*, Fox Sports 1, Fox Sports 2, CSN* (NBC Regional Sports Networks), NBC Sports Network, NFL Network
Channels common to Orange and Blue
No matter which service you subscribe to, you get a selection of the following 23 channels:
- Variety (7): A&E, AMC, AXS TV, Lifetime, TBS, TNT, Viceland
- News (5): Bloomberg TV, Cheddar, CNN, Local Now, Newsy
- Education and Kids (2): Cartoon Network, History Channel
- Comedy (1): Comedy Central
- Movies (3): EPIX Drive-In, IFC, Tribeca Shortlist
- Latino (2): Flama, Galavisión
- Lifestyle (3): Food Network, HGTV, Travel Channel
Orange vs Blue
Clearly, Sling TV hasn’t made a clean break with the usual TV industry shenanigans. There’s no clear distinction between the two services’ exclusive channels. One isn’t better for families or for sports fans than the other.
When you look at the structure of the plans a little more closely, however, it becomes obvious that the Orange and Blue structure doesn’t exist to serve the customer. It exists to serve Disney. Setting aside the BBC, the other five channels in the Orange Service are owned by Disney. You can only add the Broadcast Extra upgrade to the Orange Service and its main feature is Disney-owned ABC.
Neither plan stands well on its own. Anyone interested in sports, anyone who wants to get their local TV channels and anyone with kids won’t be willing to sacrifice the channels in one service to get the other. If Sling used a similar system to sell cars, they might offer this deal: I’ll sell you this car for cheap, but you have to buy the engine separately.
When it comes to customizing the Sling TV experience, the only option for most cord-cutters is to get the combined 53-channel Orange + Blue Service. Hardly a la carte is it?
Additional Channels on Sling TV
You can add premium movie channels as well as two types of bundles to expand your Sling TV service. Extras are category-based bundles of channels that you would expect to see on a cable or satellite service. Minis are language-based bundles of channels from other countries.
All of the premium cable networks offer subscriptions through Sling TV. The HBO $15-per-month subscriptions and the Cinemax $10-per-month subscriptions get you just those channels. The Starz $9-per-month, Showtime $10-per-month and Epix $5-per-month plans, on the other hand, come bundled with multiple channels.
- Starz Premium Plan: Starz, Starz Comedy, Starz Edge, Starz Encore, Starz Kids & Family, Starz West
- Showtime Premium Plan: Showtime, Showtime 2, Showtime Beyond, Showtime Extreme, Showtime Family Zone, Showtime Next, Showtime Showcase, Showtime West, Showtime Women
- EPIX Premium Plan: EPIX, EPIX2, Epix Hits (note that Epix Drive-in is part of the Blue Service)
Sling TV Extras
Sling TV has a bundle offering called the 4 Extras Deal that combines the Kids, Comedy, News and Lifestyle Extras for a single $10-per-month subscription, a 50% savings.
Here’s the complicated part: the specific channels in each Extra bundle will vary depending on whether you subscribe to the Orange Service or the Blue Service.
Let’s take a look at each Sling Extra and find out exactly what you get with each service plan.
Only subscribers to the Orange Service can get this $5-per-month package. In addition to getting your local Latino channels UniMás and Univision, the Broadcast Extra rounds out the Disney-owned lineup by adding your local ABC channel. (Of course, you may not get any of them in your local market so check your zip code first.)
If you’re a sports fan, then you’ll be interested in this bundle but which one? The Orange Service’s 15-channel Sports Extra at $5-per-month is not exactly the same as the Blue Service’s 10-channel Sports Extra at $10-per-month.
- Sports Extra standard channels: beIN Sports, Motorsport TV, NBA TV, NHL Network, Outside Television, Pac12 Network, Stadium, Univision Deportes
- Orange gets you these additional bonus channels: ACC Network Extra, ESPN Bases Loaded, ESPN Goal Line, ESPNews, ESPNU, SEC Network, SEC Network+
- Blue gets you these additional bonus channels: Golf Channel, NFL RedZone
Both versions of the Comedy Extra package cost $5-per-month. All 7 of the channels in the Blue version are part of the Orange version which gets another 2 channels at the same price.
- Comedy Extra standard channels: CMT, GSN, Logo, MTV, MTV2, Spike, TV Land
- Orange gets you these additional bonus channels: El Rey, TruTV
- You don’t get any bonus Comedy Extra channels if you have Blue.
Once again the Orange version gets more channels for the $5 monthly price than the Blue version. And once again, the Disney-owned properties are limited to the single-stream Orange plan.
- Kids Extra standard channels: BabyTV, Boomerang, duckTV, NickToons, Sling Kids, TeenNick
- Orange gets you these additional bonus channels: Disney Junior, Disney XD, Nick Jr.
- You don’t get any bonus Kids Extra channels if you have Blue.
The News Extra makes a little more sense with the premium Blue Service getting 12 channels to the basic Orange Service’s 11 channels. Both cost $5-per-month.
- News Extra standard channels: BBC World News, CGTN, Euronews, France24, HLN, NDTV, News18, RT Network, TheBlaze, Weather Nation
- Orange gets you these additional bonus channels: Fusion
- Blue gets you these additional bonus channels: CNBC, MSNBC
In the Lifestyle category, all of the channels in the Orange version are available in the Blue version which also gets Oxygen for the $5 monthly subscription.
- Lifestyle Extra standard channels: Afro, BET, Cooking Channel, DIY, FYI, Hallmark Channel, Hallmark Movies & Mysteries, Lifetime Movie Network, VH1, Vibrant, Z Living HD
- You don’t get any bonus Lifestyle Extra channels with Orange.
- Blue gets you one additional bonus channel: Oxygen
Movie fans don’t need to make a choice in the $5 Hollywood Extra – the lineup is the same for both Orange and Blue Services.
- Movie Channels: Fandor Festival, HDNet Movies, REELZ, SundanceTV, TCM
Sling TV doesn’t discriminate against fans of the great outdoors who want to watch the great outdoors on TV. The lineup of this $5-per-month Extra is the same no matter which plan you get.
- Outdoor Channels: Outdoor Channel, PixL, RFD-TV, Sportsman Channel, The Cowboy Channel, World Fishing Network
Best of Spanish TV Extra
The Best of Spanish TV Extra is probably the best deal Sling TV offers. If you or loved ones are Spanish Speakers, you can add this 27-channel lineup for only $5-per-month.
- Variety: Azteca, Estrella TV, Galavisión, UniMás, Univision
- Sports: beIN Sports, beIN Sports en Español, ESPN Deportes, Univision Deportes
- News: El Financiero Bloomberg, FOROtv, NTN24
- Education and Kids: BabyTV Español, Cbeebies, History en Español, Vme Kids
- Movies: CineSony, Cinelatino, De Película, De Película Clásico, Zee Mundo
- Lifestyle: HOLA! TV, Bandamax, INTI Network, Telehit
- Telenovelas: Pasiones, Univision tlnoveles
Sling TV Minis
Sling TV’s Minis packages let you stream TV stations from different regions around the world. These expansion options are great if someone in your home is a native-speaker of, or is trying to learn, another language. The Sling TV service page maps out the channels available in each Mini, but can be hard to read. The Sling TV channel page is easier to read but requires more work to track the information down.
- Deutch Mini: 1 channel for $5
- España Mini: 5 channels for $5
- Français Mini: 4 channels for $5
- Italiano Mini: 5 channels for $10
- Polish Mini: 10 channels for $15
Middle East and Asia Minis
- Arabic Mini: 12 channels for $10
- Chinese Mini: 12 channels for $5
- Hindi Mini: 12 channels for $5
- Telugu Mini: 8 channels for $5
- Tamil Mini: 11 channels for $5
- Brazilian Mini: 1 channel for $15
- Caribe Mini: 7 channels for $5
- México Mini: 10 channels for $5
- Sudamérica Mini: 10 channels for $5-per-month
Another Mini that is not truly a language-specific plan is the World Cricket Mini which adds Willow and Willow Xtra for $5-per-month.
Making Sense of the Sling TV Story
Sling TV’s overlapping Services, Extras and Minis can be confusing. Hopefully this guide has helped you get a clearer picture of what each option actually delivers. Are you considering Sling TV? Has the way the bundles work confused you about which channels are on Sling TV? Let us know in the comments.