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Sling TV Review - A Low-Cost Option for Streamers

Earlier this month, Sling TV's parent company DISH Network announced a net loss of 55,000 subscribers in the second quarter of this year. But that's actually much better than the year's first quarter when it lost 234,000 subscribers. It's also less than last year's Q2 which saw Sling TV lose 65,000 subs. The streaming service now reports a total of 2.197 subscribers, a considerable drop from the 2.5 million subs it entered 2021 with.

The decline in subscriptions is likely due to a combination of factors, including increased competition, channel ommissions, and a nearly 17% price hike in the base plans. However, in its regulatory filing, DISH wrote that the drop was primarily due to "higher subscriber disconnects following seasonal sports activity."

But is Sling TV the right service for you in 2023? Continue reading for our in-depth Sling TV review to find out all you need to make an informed decision.

What is Sling TV?

Sling TV launched in 2015 as "a viable alternative for live television to the millennial audience," according to parent company DISH Network. This was the first time people could subscribe to a cable-like service that the TV networks supported.

Initially, Sling TV’s subscribers couldn’t watch local TV stations or record programs. Yet for the first time, they could watch live broadcasts from a dozen cable channels by streaming video over the internet.

What really got people’s attention, however, was Sling TV’s price — a mere $20 per month when it first launched. And Sling TV has grown since then. It now offers limited local TV, has more features, supports more TV Everywhere apps, and has increased its channel offerings. Furthermore, even as its competitors have left their $30/month subscriptions far back in the rearview mirror, Sling TV still offers one of the lowest prices out there.

Being one of the first to market and remaining one of the cheapest internet TV services available has helped make Sling TV one of the most popular internet TV services in the United States. It's definitely worth a look for streamers still considering which service to go with.

[sc name="Sling TV Code" affiliate="sling-tv-review" ]

Sling TV 60-second review

With its 2 base plans of 31 and 41 channels priced so low, Sling TV offers a high-quality live-TV streaming experience at roughly half the price of most competitors. People new to streaming live television may find Sling TV a good starting point to get familiar with streaming TV without feeling the pressure of a more expensive option.

On the other hand, those who have been streaming for a while might find some relief through Sling TV in light of price increases across the market, particularly with services like Hulu + Live TV and YouTube TV.

Sling TV's biggest shortcomings are the way it presents its features and the somewhat confusing way it delivers its streaming packages. Still, the wide range of bundles and premium channels available as add-ons make Sling TV a versatile and highly customizable service with a low base price.

The pros and cons of Sling TV

Sling TV offers dozens of channels at a low price, all the standard must-have features, and dedicated apps for a wide range of devices. But it's far from a perfect solution for people making the jump from cable or satellite TV.

Pros

  • One of the lowest prices out there. Price hikes seem to be a constant feature of the streaming industry, and most options on the market have had multiple price increases since they launched. Sling TV is no different, but it's still just around half the price of other services.
  • Must-have networks. You can find a lot of the must-have networks through one of Sling TV's channel packages or add-ons, including local affiliates for Fox and NBC, TBS, and TNT. Sports fans can also enjoy ESPN and Fox Sports, as well as the premium specialty networks for the NFL, NHL, MLB and NBA.
  • Plays well with OTA antennas and equipment. Sling TV is the only service of its kind that not only plays well with over-the-air antennas and equipment but sells equipment that integrates with OTA architecture.
  • HD streaming. Sling TV provides HD streaming quality, which many subscribers count as an improvement over their traditional cable TV. However, other people will see this as a limitation due to the lack of 4K.
  • A large app library for multiple devices. Sling TV offers a huge number of apps for streaming devices.

Cons

  • Limited-space DVR. In a world where competitors are offering unlimited DVR, Sling TV still thinks a 50-hour DVR is a selling feature.
  • Confusing package setup. Sling TV's package options can be a bit confusing with a lot of channel cross-over between packages.
  • Only 1 stream for Sling Orange. The Sling Orange package offers only 1 stream per account.
  • Limited local broadcast network support. Sling TV has among the worst support for local broadcast networks, making an OTA antenna almost necessary.
  • Inadequate customer support. Sling TV's customer support leaves a lot to be desired, with very slow response times.
  • No 4K streaming. Just as some people consider HD quality a step up, others will see it as a step back. 4K resolution is well on its way to becoming the global standard, with most on-demand streaming services including 4K content with their standard plans. And live-TV multichannel streaming services already offer 4K quality for live TV.

A look at Sling TV channels, plans and pricing

Source: Sling TV

Sling TV has 3 base plans you can choose from:

Sling TV's packages differ mostly in the primary channel they emphasize. Sling Orange, for example, features ESPN and Disney Channel. Sling Blue focuses on FOX networks, like local Fox broadcast affiliates, FX and Fox Sports. Sling Orange's channels are more expensive to offer, so the package has a smaller number of channels, while Sling Blue offers more networks, making it a good value if you enjoy entertainment TV.

Sling TV's third package, Sling Orange & Blue, combines both plans to give you all the channels at nearly a 30% discount, making the decision much easier — if it's within your budget. Furthermore, Sling Orange & Blue is still priced well below most other live TV streaming services.

It's important to note that Sling Orange only lets you stream on one device, while Sling Blue lets you stream on 3 devices. If you get Sling Orange & Blue, you can watch up to 3 devices at the same time, except those channels that are only available in Sling Orange. That means that even with Sling Orange & Blue, you can still only watch ESPN, Disney Channel and Freeform on one screen at a time.

Which channels are included with Sling Orange?

Sling Orange provides 31 channels for subscribers. Sports fans will find value in having such low-cost access to ESPN, ESPN2, and ESPN3. There's also something for the family with Disney Channel, History Channel, and Investigation Discovery, among others.

Through Sling Orange, you'll get:

  • A&E
  • AMC
  • AXS TV
  • BET
  • BBC America
  • Bloomberg Television
  • Cartoon Network
  • CHARGE!
  • Comedy Central
  • Comet
  • CNN
  • Disney Channel
  • ESPN
  • ESPN2
  • ESPN3
  • EPIX Drive-In
  • Food Network
  • Freeform
  • Fuse
  • HGTV
  • History Channel
  • IFC
  • Investigation Discovery
  • Lifetime
  • Local Now
  • MotorTrend
  • Nick Jr.
  • TBS
  • TNT
  • Travel Channel
  • Vice

Which channels are included with Sling Blue?

Sling Blue offers 41 channels, including local broadcast network affiliates for Fox and NBC in select markets. You also get the Fox News Channel and MSNBC for news, while for sports you get FOX Sports 1 and NFL Network.

The full channel list for Sling Blue includes:

  • A&E
  • AMC
  • AXS TV
  • BBC America
  • BET
  • Bloomberg Television
  • Bravo
  • Cartoon Network
  • Charge!
  • CNN
  • Comedy Central
  • Comet
  • Discovery Channel
  • E!
  • EPIX Drive-In
  • Food Network
  • FOX News
  • FS1
  • Fuse
  • FX
  • HGTV
  • History Channel
  • HLN
  • IFC
  • Investigation Discovery
  • Lifetime
  • Local Now
  • MSNBC
  • National Geographic
  • NBC (select markets)
  • Nick Jr.
  • NFL Network
  • SYFY
  • TBS
  • TLC
  • TNT
  • Travel Channel
  • truTV
  • USA
  • Vice

Channels included with Sling Orange + Blue

If you're having a hard time choosing between Sling Orange and Sling Blue, guess what? You don't have to! You can get all of the channels offered by both plans by opting for the Sling Orange & Blue channel package.

Local channels on Sling TV

Sling TV is not a great option for local TV networks. Sling TV only offers FOX and NBC broadcasts. As with most TV streaming services, your local broadcast network availability also depends on where you live. Sling TV does not have carriage rights in every region, so check out our deep dive into Sling TV local channels for more information.

An alternative for local TV through Sling TV is to use an over-the-air (OTA) antenna. Sling TV is one of the only services to integrate directly with select OTA equipment. You can find dedicated OTA equipment through third-party sources or you can purchase the necessary equipment directly through Sling TV.

For specific city coverage, check Sling TV's local channel lookup tool.

Sling also offers Extras and Add-ons

Extras

Sling TV offers tons of extra packages and channel collections that you can add to your plans to access even more channels and streaming services.

  • DVR Plus - gives you 200 hours of DVR space
  • DVR Free - gives you 50 hours of DVR space for free
  • Sports Extra - gives you access to SEC Network, ACC Network, Longhorn Network, PAC12, ESPNU, SEC Network+, ACC Network Extra, ESPNews, MLB Network, NBA TV, beIN SPORTS, Tennis Channel, NHL Network, and MLB Network Strike Zone
  • Comedy Extra - Paramount Network, MTV, Laff, truTV, FETV, MTV 2, CMT, Logo, Revolt, Game Show Network, and TV Land
  • Kids Extra - Disney Junior, Disney XD, NickToons, TeenNick, Boomerang, and Babytv
  • News Extra - BBC World News, WGN America, Newsmax, HLN, Weather Nation, Science Channel, News18, CGTN, and Law & Crime
  • Lifestyle Extra - Magnolia Network, Hallmark Channel, VH1, Cooking Channel, FYI, WE TV, Lifetime Movies, Hallmark Movies & Mysteries, Hallmark Drama
  • Hollywood Extra - REELZ, Heroes & Icons, Start TV, Grit, HDNet Movies, Sundance TV, Cinemoi, TCM, Bounce
  • Heartland Extra - World Fishing Network, INSP, Sportsman Channel, Pursuit, Outdoor Channel, Great American Family, Great American Living, American Heroes Channel, RFD TV, Destination America, PixL, The Cowboy Channel
  • 4 Extras Deal - bundles the Kids, News, Lifestyle, and Comedy Extras
  • Total TV Deal - bundles the 7 Extras packages and the DVR Plus add-on

Premium Channels

Sling offers premium channel options to add to your packages as well.

  • Showtime
  • STARZ
  • MGM+
  • Discovery+
  • Acorn
  • ALLBLK
  • AMC+
  • BET+
  • CineFest
  • CineMoi
  • Cocina On
  • Comedy Dynamics
  • CONtv
  • Curiosity Stream
  • Desi Binge Mini
  • Docurama
  • DOGTV
  • Dove Channel
  • DOX
  • FlixLatino
  • Gallery
  • Grokker
  • Hallmark Movies
  • Here TV
  • Hopster
  • IFC Films Unlimited
  • Kartoon Channel!
  • Magnolia Selects
  • Monsters & Nightmares
  • Noggin
  • Outside TV Features
  • Pantaya
  • PlayKids
  • Qello Concerts by Stingray
  • ScreamFlix
  • Shudder
  • Stingray Karaoke
  • Sundance Now
  • Tastemade+
  • True Royalty TV
  • TumbleBooks
  • UP Faith & Family
  • ViX+
  • Warriors & Gangsters

See what's on Sling TV with our channel guide

Sling TV's channel list can be confusing, but you can pull it all together with our free Sling TV channel guide. Even if you're watching Sling TV on your primary service (such as Amazon Fire TV or Roku), you can pull up the Flixed TV Guide for Sling TV on any other device to see current and upcoming streaming content on any Sling TV channel.

Source: Flixed

Our TV guide gives you detailed information about any program listed, including season number, and is color-coded based on the type of program streaming. You can also access individual channel guides for networks available through Sling TV, including IFC, MSNBC, AMC, A&E, History Channel, and more.

What video quality does Sling TV offer?

Source: Sling TV

More streaming services support streaming in 60 frames per second (fps). This is a measure of how many individual images are stitched together per second to create the motion you see on the screen. The more frames, the smoother the movement.

Sling TV does not specify the quality of your video streams beyond low, medium, high and best. In fact, Sling TV only supports 60 fps on ESPN and Fox Sports. Fast-paced action at 30 fps can make other channels look jerky.

That said, all channels offer HD resolution video at 720p or better. On most channels, the quality is excellent, even if you do experience a bit of jerkiness in the broadcasts at times. This is somewhat of a sacrifice that Sling TV makes to offer its services at such a low cost.

Most subscribers have found a good streaming experience through Sling TV with few complaints across consumer reviews related to streaming quality.

You can watch Sling TV on a range of devices

Source: Sling TV

You’ll find Sling TV apps for devices from Apple, Amazon and Roku as well as devices running Android and the official Android TV operating systems. Several smart TVs and Microsoft’s Xbox One have Sling TV apps as well. The only major platforms Sling TV left out are the PlayStation and Nintendo game consoles.

You get less flexibility when using Sling TV on a desktop or laptop since Chrome is the only browser that the streaming service fully supports.

Below is a list of the major devices supported by Sling TV, or you can check out our full list of Sling TV supported devices.

  • Streaming: Apple TV (4th gen and up), Amazon Fire TV (all versions), Chromecast, Roku (LT and up), AirTV, Portal TV, TiVo
  • Smart TV: LG TV (Web OS 3.0, 3.5, and 4.0, as well as select 2016-2018 models), Samsung TV (2016 through 2018 models), Android TV (4.4 and up), Roku TV, Mi TV,
  • Mobile: Android (4.4 and up), iOS (11 and up), Amazon Fire (tablets)
  • Gaming: Oculus, Xbox One
  • Computer: Chrome on Mac and Windows recommended

Watch Sling TV on Roku devices

Roku is one of the premier and most popular devices for Sling TV users. You can install Sling TV on Roku LT devices or newer. You can also install Sling TV on Roku-supported TVs.

Watch Sling TV on the Fire TV Stick

Sling TV supports all Amazon Fire TV devices, including Amazon Fire TV and Fire TV Stick. The Sling TV app has a fair rating on the Amazon app store with a 3.8 out of 5 from over 107,000 reviews. Frequent buffering and stuttering were common complaints.

Watch Sling TV on Apple mobile devices

You'll need an Apple TV 4th generation or better (tvOS 11.0 or higher) to use Sling TV. If you're using an iPhone or iPad, the Sling TV app requires iOS 11 or higher.

The App Store now combines reviews for the iPhone, iPad, and Apple TV. Sling TV's app boasts 4.6 out of 5 stars from over 223,000 reviews. The few complaints that exist are in the same vein as most others: some stuttering and buffering when using the service.

Watch Sling TV on Android mobile devices

You can use the Sling TV app on Android devices so long as your device is running Android 4.4 or higher. The app has a 4.0 out of 5 from over 85,7000 reviews on Google Play. There are some complaints about a recent update ruining the app's functionality. Older reviews were more positive, so it's likely Sling is going to work out whatever bugs were introduced in recent app updates.

What's in Sling TV's on-demand library?

Source: Sling TV

As with most services of its kind, Sling TV offers a large selection of on-demand content, which includes recent and past TV episodes and movies. Most of that content comes directly from the channels you get in your streaming package, so the amount of on-demand content you receive will vary depending on which package and add-ons you choose.

Sling TV boasts of having 10,000 hours of on-demand content available through its streaming service.

Sling TV also has a feature called "Catch-Up TV", which lets you watch most content that's aired within the past 3 to 8 days. You can fast-forward and rewind through the content without needing to record it to your cloud DVR.

Source: Sling TV

You can find the on-demand content from Sling TV by going to the "Channels" page, and then clicking on the specific channel you want. From there, you'll have access to both movies and TV shows on those channels. You'll also find past sporting events from networks like Fox Sports and ESPN.

You will find advertisements on many of Sling TV's on-demand shows and movies. These ads are completely unskippable as well but are usually only 30 seconds.

Does Sling TV have a cloud DVR?

Source: Sling TV

As of 2020, Sling TV offers cloud DVR included with every plan and has an add-on called DVR Plus. The base DVR option provides 50 hours of storage while upgrading to DVR Plus for $5/month bumps that up to 200 hours. Read about all the Sling TV DVR details here.

There are some recording limitations that exist when it comes to your DVR options, as well. None of the channels owned by Disney, including ESPN and Freeform, work with the cloud DVR. You can’t record those programs, pause live TV or skip forward through commercials.

Does Sling TV offer good customer support?

Sling TV does not have the best customer support. Like many other services, it provides customer support primarily through its online knowledgebase articles. If you can't find an answer there, you can contact Sling TV directly through either its Facebook or Twitter accounts, or its on-site live chat service.

These options are reliable to a degree, but both are problematic.

The social chat option is significantly limited. You can only use the Facebook or Twitter chat support from 8 AM to 1 PM EST. That's a fairly small window of time, especially if you're working during the day.

The on-site live chat is also not a great option. We struggled to get the chat room to even load, even after waiting for several minutes.

Between the two, we recommend Sling TV's social media chat support. The response times are painfully slow (it took nearly 10 minutes to get a response), but at least the chat windows load.

Is it difficult to cancel Sling TV?

Sling TV doesn't put up any roadblocks to canceling the service. In fact, you can do so right from your account settings in 5 easy steps:

  1. Go to the account management section on Sling TV
  2. Go to "Your Subscription" and click on "Cancel Subscription"
  3. Click on "Cancel Subscription" in the pop-up window that appears
  4. In the next window, select a reason for canceling, then click "Continue to Cancel"
  5. On the next page, click "Confirm my Cancellation"

That's all there is to it! If you're on a free trial (which Sling TV only offers occasionally), you can cancel at any time without getting charged. However, your access is cut off the moment you cancel your trial.

What is Sling TV's refund policy?

You cannot get a refund from Sling TV. If you paid for a month, you'll be able to finish the remainder of the month after you cancel. This is also true if you used one of Sling TV's special discount deals that include multiple months of service.

Final comments on Sling TV in 2023

Sling TV hasn’t changed its approach since its 2015 launch. The service still offers a low-cost selection of channels, but it's still the only service of its kind that charges for cloud DVR.

Nevertheless, Sling TV has kept its prices relatively low compared to competitors, a sign it is dedicated to the idea that cord-cutting should be inexpensive. That low price requires some give and take, especially when it comes to streaming quality and features. But if you really need to cut the traditional cable bill, Sling TV is an alternative worth your consideration.

Sam Cook

Sam Cook Author

Sam Cook is a full-time content strategist by day, a part-time freelance content writer since 2015. In another life, he was a high school English teacher for nearly a decade. Based in sunny New Orleans, he writes long-form educational content on technology, including Insurtech, Fintech, HRtech, and content streaming.

Davan Hamilton

Davan Hamilton Editor

Davan Hamilton is an editor and writer based in Jacksonville, FL. Holding a degree in Interdisciplinary Studies, her writing spans a wide range, from essays on film criticism and analysis to surreal poetry. Now, she works for Flixed as an editor, continuing to ignore the list of passion projects she’s accumulated. When she’s not glued to her computer, you can find her building endless amounts of Lego sets, binge-reading manga, or playing with (fighting) her cat.

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