As cord-cutting has become a more common phenomenon, more companies than ever are offering internet TV “skinny bundles”. From Sling TV, to DirecTV Now, Hulu With Live TV, and more, it can be hard to know which service is right for you
In this article, we’ll take a look at two of the most popular internet TV providers – Sling TV and PlayStation Vue – and discuss which one may be right for your particular needs. Let’s get started.
Sling TV and PlayStation Vue are what are known as internet TV “skinny bundle” services. As the name implies, skinny bundles allow you to replace your cable subscription cable with a smaller number of hand-picked cable channels.
These channels are then sent to you directly over the internet. You don’t need a cable TV hookup, satellite dish, or an over-the-air antenna. You can watch directly on your home WiFi network.
All skinny bundle services like PlayStation Vue and Sling TV offer a month-by month subscription, with no setup or cancellation fees. You pay a flat fee per month, and that’s it.
The price of internet TV tends to be a fraction of what you pay for cable. Cable usually costs $100/month or more. Sling TV, on the other hand, costs $20/month for the Orange bundle, and PlayStation Vue costs $40/month.
However, the features and channels offered by internet TV companies can vary quite a bit. Let’s discuss both PlayStation Vue and Sling TV now, and explore the facts you should know about each service.
Sling TV is the oldest internet TV service. It launched in 2015, which is a long time ago in the world of cord-cutting. Despite its confusing subscription packages, its low cost has kept it as the top cable alternative for more than 3 years.
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Sling TV is quite inexpensive. You can choose to get the $20/month Orange package, which has 25+ channels, or the $25/month Blue package, which has around 45 channels depending on your geographic location.
If you want, you can also combine both for $40/month, but you will only get around 50 channels. This is because there is a lot of “overlap” between Orange and Blue. For example, both Sling Orange and Sling Blue include Comedy Central and HGTV, so you’re essentially paying for these “overlap” channels twice.
The most attractive and appealing feature of Sling TV is its low cost. The $20/month Orange and $25/month Blue package are two of the cheapest packages out there. For comparison, services like Hulu with Live TV and YouTube TV start at $40/month for a base subscription.
Another great feature of Sling TV is that it can be customized very easily. You can choose from a large variety of extra channels, grouped into categories such as:
This lets you customize your package of channels, and get more channels that are relevant to the things you love.
There are some downsides with Sling TV, despite its great price. First of all, the subscription plans are a bit confusing.
As an example, Sling Orange comes with ESPN, but Sling Blue comes with Fox Sports. You can’t get ESPN on Sling Blue, and you can’t get Fox Sports on Sling Orange – you have to buy the Sling Orange + Blue package to get both.
Customizing your subscription is also kind of confusing. Sling Orange and Sling Blue come with different channels when you buy an “add-on”.
For example, the News Extra add-on comes with TheBlaze, Fusion and Euronews when you buy it with a Sling Orange subscription. If you add it to your Sling Blue subscription, though, you get MSNBC, CNBC, RT, and a number of other channels. You have to look very carefully to make sure you get the right channel package.
You also only get to stream Sling Orange on 1 device at a time, though Sling Blue channels can be streamed on 3 devices simultaneously.
Sling TV had more than 2.2 million total subscribers as of February 2018.
PlayStation Vue has had its fair share of struggles, likely due to its unfortunate name. (No, you don’t need a PlayStation to use the service!) But this internet TV service from Sony is great for families, and has a strong package of channels and features.
PlayStation Vue offers a set of 4 different channel packages, which means you have more options than you do with Sling TV. The number of channels may vary depending on your geographic location.
- Access – 45 channels, $40/month
- Core – 60 channels, $45/month
- Elite – 84 channels, $55/month
- Ultra – All Elite channels plus HBO/Showtime, $75/month
Overall, the channel lineup is pretty good, even for the $40/month “Access” package. If you want more than 40 channels, the Core and Elite packages are also a very good value.
Channel coverage includes local stations in some areas, as well as plenty of sports coverage from channels like Fox Sports and ESPN. There is also plenty of entertainment and lifestyle programming available from networks like FX, Discovery, E!, DIY Network, IFC, and dozens of other channels.
PlayStation Vue has two standout features. First, it has the best simultaneous streaming policy out of any internet TV service. You can stream on up to 5 devices on your home WiFi network at the same time. If you are part of a large family and you’re cutting the cord, this makes PlayStation Vue an ideal choice.
PlayStation Vue also comes with a free, 28-day unlimited DVR. You can save unlimited hours of programming, and they will only be deleted after 4 weeks. Otherwise, you can record as much content as you want.
PlayStation Vue, like all internet TV services, is not perfect. It does have a few flaws.
First, it is a bit expensive compared to budget options like Sling TV. You get a lot for your money, but still have to spend a lot for a PlayStation Vue subscription.
PlayStation Vue also does not have much on-demand content, so you’re out of luck if you fail to record an episode of a show you want to watch.
Sony has not released official numbers, but analysts estimated that PlayStation Vue had about 670,000 users as of December 2017.
Fact 1: PlayStation Vue Has a Better DVR
If you need to record a lot of content, PlayStation Vue is likely a better choice for you. As we mentioned above, PlayStation Vue lets you record unlimited shows for up to 28 days.
This is a much better DVR than Sling TV. With Sling TV, you have to pay an extra $5/month for cloud DVR service, and you only get 50 total hours of storage. In addition, DVR recording is blocked on ESPN and all Disney-owned channels, which limits your recording options somewhat.
If you prefer to record TV and watch it later, rather than watch it live, PlayStation Vue is the way to go.
Fact 2: PlayStation Vue Has a Larger Selection of Channels
If you need a truly comprehensive set of channels, PlayStation Vue is a great choice. You can get 80+ channels for $55/month, with almost no coverage gaps.
Sling TV, on the other hand, only gives you about 50 channels, even with the Sling Blue + Orange package. While you can add more channels “a la carte” with the Extras add-ons, this will end up costing you quite a bit of money, and you still won’t get as many good channels as you would with PlayStation Vue.
Fact 3: Sling TV and PlayStation Vue Both Have Good Sports Coverage
If you’re a sports fan, Sling TV and PlayStation Vue are both legitimate choices.
The $40/month Sling Blue + Orange package comes with sports channels like ESPN, ESPN2 and ESPN3, as well as Fox Sports 1 and 2, NBC Sports, ACC Network, NFL Network, and more.
The $40/month “Access” package with PlayStation Vue gives you a similar lineup of channels. ESPN and ESPN2 are provided, as are Fox Sports 1 and 2, and NBCSN. If you upgrade to the $45/month “Core” package, you can get ESPNU, BTN, CBS Sports Network, the NFL Network, MLB Network, NBA TV and more.
You can even add a “Sports Extra” package to PlayStation Vue if you have a Core subscription or higher. This $10/month package adds NBC Sports, ESPN Goal Line, ESPN Classic, ESPN Bases Loaded, and a number of other sports channels.
Fact 4: PlayStation Vue Is a Better Choice For Families
If you are planning on sharing your account with your family, or with your housemates, PlayStation Vue is probably a better choice for you. Because you get unlimited DVR space, as well as up to 5 simultaneous streams, it’s easy for everyone to watch their favorite channels at the same time.
Sling TV only gives you a maximum of 4 simultaneous streams – 3 for Sling Blue channels, and 1 for Sling Orange channels. That makes it a poor overall choice for large families.
Fact 5: Sling TV Has More Channel Customization Options Than PlayStation Vue
PlayStation Vue only has three customization options – the Sports Pack, Epix add-on, and the Espanol pack, which includes a number of Spanish-language channels.
Sling TV, on the other hand, lets you customize your cable subscription with extra channels in over a dozen categories from comedy, news, lifestyle, sports, and international coverage.
Fact 6: Sling TV Has More On-Demand Programming Than PlayStation Vue
Sling TV has a lot of on-demand programming. Usually, you’ll be able to catch an episode or two of a show that you missed on-demand, though availability can be somewhat inconsistent.
PlayStation Vue doesn’t support on-demand programming, except for shows that you have recorded using your DVR. If you missed out on an episode of your show and didn’t record it, you may be out of luck.
Fact 7: Sling TV and PlayStation Vue Both Have Good Device Support
If you want to stream on a variety of different devices, both Sling TV and PlayStation Vue are good options. You can use both services to stream on:
- Apple TV
- Amazon Fire TV
- iOS and Android
- Web browsers
- Android TV
Sling TV also supports the Xbox One, as well as some Samsung and LG Smart TVs. See the full lineup of supported devices here.
PlayStation Vue supports PlayStation 3 and 4 consoles, but not the Xbox One, which is not a surprise.
Fact 8: Sling TV and PlayStation Vue Both Offer Free Trials
If you’re interested in Sling TV or PlayStation Vue, you can try both for free. PlayStation Vue offers a short, 5-day free trial. You can get started on their website here.
Sling TV offers a week-long trial, so you can see if you like the service. Give it a try today, and see if it’s right for you.
Sling TV Vs. PlayStation Vue: Which Is Better?
So, is Sling TV or PlayStation Vue a better choice for you? Well, it depends on what your specific needs are. Here are a few questions you can ask yourself while you make a decision.
Are you on a tight budget?
If you can’t afford to spend $40 or more per month on an internet TV service, Sling TV is probably better for you. This is especially true if you only need a few channels, such as ESPN for live sports and Comedy Central for entertainment. If you are on a tight budget, it’s hard to beat Sling TV.
Will you be sharing your subscription with your family?
Even if you get Sling Blue + Orange, you won’t be able to stream on as many devices as you can with PlayStation Vue. In addition, your DVR space will be much more limited.
If you plan on replacing cable for your entire family, a service like PlayStation Vue is a better choice for you. It costs more than Sling TV, but the features are well worth it.
Do you want to customize your subscription, or watch international channels?
While PlayStation Vue has some customization options, Sling TV gives you many more choices if you want to hand-pick your favorite cable channels.
In addition, if you need to subscribe to hard-to-find international channels, Sling TV is a better choice for you. With the “International Extra” add-on, you can watch programming from France, Germany, China, Brazil, The Middle East, and more.