Sling TV - Live TV Streaming Service Review

Sling TV

Sling TV is a live TV streaming service with 2 distinct plans. The $20/month “Sling Orange” plan offers about 30 channels, including ESPN and Disney Channel. The $25/month “Sling Blue” plan offers about 40 channels, including NBC and Fox local channels.

If you subscribe to both plans, you receive a $5 discount and receive ABC local channels. Sling also offers various “Extra” packs that you can add to your subscription.

$20 Sling Orange

  • 30 Channels
  • No Local Channels
    • -
    • -
    • -
    • -
  • 14 of Top 35 Cable Channels
  • Sports Channels
    • Major Channels: 4
    • -
    • College Networks: 1
Free Trial
sling.com

$25 Sling Blue

  • 40 Channels
  • Local Channels
    • -
    • -
    • Fox
    • NBC
  • 19 of Top 35 Cable Channels
  • Sports Channels
    • Major Channels: 5
    • Includes RSNs
    • Pro Networks: 1
Free Trial
sling.com

$40 Sling Orange + Blue

  • 45 Channels
  • Local Channels
    • ABC
    • -
    • Fox
    • NBC
  • 22 of Top 35 Cable Channels
  • Sports Channels
    • Major Channels: 7
    • Includes RSNs
    • Pro Networks: 1
    • College Networks: 1
Free Trial
sling.com

Features

Cloud DVR ($5)

50 hrs

⚫︎ 1-4 Device Streams

Orange: 1 device.
Blue: up to 3 devices.
Combo: up to 4 devices.

⚫︎ On Demand

Most channels have on demand content.

⚫︎ TV Everywhere Apps

App logins provided for up to 18 apps.

⚫︎ Parental Controls

Has Ratings Restrictions

Tech Specs

HD Video

720p
30 fps
Stereo

Streaming Reliability

Below Average

On Demand Reliability

-

Live Delay

55 seconds

Channel Switching

5.5 seconds

Optional Add-Ons

Comedy Extra

$5

Kids Extra

$5

News Extra

$5

Sports Extra

$5

Broadcast Extra

$5

Cinemax

$10

HBO

$15

Showtime

$10

Starz

$9

7-Day Free Trial

Sling TV offers a 7-day free trial. Your subscription is month-to-month and you can cancel at any time.

Free Roku

Get a free Roku Streaming Stick ($30 value) if you prepay for your first two months.
Get a Roku Premiere+ for $50 ($40 savings) if you prepay for your first three months.

Review

We tested Sling TV and five other live TV streaming services for more than 100 hours. Sling TV is compatible with Amazon Fire TV, Apple TV, Chromecast, Roku TV devices, and Xbox consoles; Android, iPad, iPhone, and iPod Touch mobile devices; and computers.

User Experience

  • Great channel guide, but it’s not available on the Apple TV or iOS apps.
  • Search results are poorly sorted.
  • While it’s not free, Sling has the most full-featured DVR.

Home Screen

Sling TV’s home screen includes horizontal lists of live channels, your recent recordings, shows you recently watched, and your favorited shows.

TV Guide

Sling TV has a standard channel guide on Fire TV, Roku, and Android devices. We expect the channel guide to be added on other platforms soon, because the browsing experience is much more cumbersome without it.

Search

Sling TV allows you to search for shows, channels, or people. Although search works fine for exact matches, it does a poor job sorting results.

For example, searching for “Bach…” returns many Diary of a Bachelor results before The Bachelor.

Show Details

The show details page shows all episodes that are available on demand, grouped by season. However, the details page isn’t as visual as some of the other streaming services.

Playback

Most live TV channels don’t allow you pause, rewind, or fast-forward; but some channels let you rewind to the beginning of a show if you start late.

For recorded content, you can skip forward by 30-second increments or you can scrub through the show timeline. While scrubbing, the current frame is shown, so it’s easy to to find the part you want to watch.


Features

50 hrs ($5) Cloud DVR

For $5/month, you can include a cloud DVR with 50 hours of recording space. Although it’s not free, Sling TV had the most full-featured DVR of any of the streaming services.

You can record individual episodes, all episodes of a series, or only new episodes of a series. Unfortunately, you cannot record Disney or ESPN channels.

1 + 3 streams Simultaneous Viewing

“Sling Orange” lets you stream on one device at a time. “Sling Blue” allows for three simultaneous streams (among TV devices, smartphones, tablets, and computers).

If you subscribe to both plans, you can stream on up to four devices for content that is offered on both plans.

Good Selection On Demand

A majority of channels offer on demand content, but you can’t skip or fast-forward through the content.

18 apps TV Everywhere

Similar to traditional cable and satellite subscriptions, Sling TV includes “TV Everywhere” logins for 18 channels’ apps.

All TV Everywhere Apps

Rating Restrictions Parental Controls

In Sling TV settings, you can restrict content playback based on content ratings.

Only Sling and Hulu offer some form of parental controls.


Sling TV offers 2 unique features: international content and the “NFL RedZone” channel.

International Channels

Sling TV offers international content from Mexico, China, India, Brazil, and other countries, starting at $5/month.

NFL RedZone

The “Sports Extra” ($10/month) add-on for “Sling Blue” includes NFL RedZone.


Tech Specs

  • High definition video is similar to other streaming services, but does not offer 60 fps on most channels.
  • Live streaming works well, with occasional issues switching channels.
  • Live content is about 55 seconds behind cable TV, which is longest delay of any of the streaming services.
  • Long lag when switching channels, so don’t expect to channel surf.

720p / 60 FPS HD Video

Streams are at least 720p and most are at 30 fps.

Sling TV reportedly offers 60 fps on some sports channels, but we didn’t see that in our testing.

To reduce playback interruptions, Sling TV will adapt the stream quality to match your network connection.

Average Connection Reliability

Sling recommends at least 3 Mbps for mobile devices and 5 Mbps for television devices.

We rarely had issues once a stream was started, but we often had errors starting a live stream—requiring us to reboot the app. This issue would happen often when switching between channels.

Many users have complained have Sling TV’s performance on the Roku 2 and Roku Streaming Stick.

Do not expect Sling TV to work as consistently as your cable or satellite service.

Stereo Audio

All live TV content has standard stereo audio. Some on demand content has Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround.

55 SECS Live Delay

Live content is about 55 seconds behind cable TV, which is the longest delay of all the streaming services.

5.5 SECS Channel Switching

It takes about 5.5 seconds to switch between channels, which is the slowest of any of the providers.


Devices and Apps

TV App

On television devices, the Sling TV apps have a home screen that shows your favorite channels, saved recordings, and favorited/recent shows.

Fire TV and Roku devices have a standard channel guide, but we expect Sling will add it to other devices like Apple TV soon. When you select a channel, it shows what’s currently on and what’s upcoming.

While you are watching a show, you can swipe up to browse what’s on other channels.

Phone & Tablet Apps

The Sling TV smartphone and tablet apps are almost identical to the TV app.

Android has a standard channel guide, but we expect it to be added to iOS soon.

Computer

You can watch Sling TV on Mac or Windows computers with Chrome or by downloading the native Sling app.

Device Compatibility

Sling TV is compatible with many smartphones, tablets, TV streaming devices, Xbox consoles, connected TVs, and computers.
All Compatible Devices

TV Devices

  • Amazon Fire TV
    • Fire TV media player
    • Fire TV Stick
  • Apple TV
    • 4th generation
  • Chromecast
  • Roku
    • Roku Streaming Stick
    • Roku LT
    • Roku 1, 2, 3, 4
    • Roku Premiere
    • Roku Premiere+
    • Roku Ultra
  • Xbox
    • Xbox One
  • Other Devices
    • AirTV
    • Channel Master
    • LeEco
    • LG
    • Mi TV
    • ZTE

Phones & Tablets

  • Android 4.4 or newer
  • iOS 9 or newer
    • iPad 2 or newer
    • iPhone 4s or newer
    • iPod Touch (5th gen) or newer

Computers

  • Mac
    • macOS 10.7 (Lion) or newer
  • Windows
    • Windows 7 or newer

Channels

Local Channels

Sling Orange

Sling Orange ($20) doesn’t include any local channels, but you can add the “Broadcast Extra” ($5) pack, which includes ABC and Univision.

Sling Blue

Sling Blue ($25) includes local Fox, NBC, and Univision channels in most major markets, but you cannot add ABC.

Sling Orange + Blue

If you subscribe to both packages ($40/month), you’ll get ABC, Fox, NBC, and Univision. Sling does not offer CBS, The CW, or Telemundo in any package.

“Sling Orange” “Sling Blue” “Sling Orange + Blue”
$20 $25 $40
ABC $5 ⚪︎ ⚫︎
CBS ⚪︎ ⚪︎ ⚪︎
The CW ⚪︎ ⚪︎ ⚪︎
Fox ⚪︎ ⚫︎ ⚫︎
NBC ⚪︎ ⚫︎ ⚫︎
Telemundo ⚪︎ ⚪︎ ⚪︎
Univision $5 ⚫︎ ⚫︎

To see the live local channels available in your area, check the Sling TV Channel Lookup tool.

Local Channel Restrictions

You can only access local channels and regional sports networks when you are in your home city. For example, if you live in San Francisco and travel to New York, you won’t be able to stream any local channels.

Missing Channels

If you need CBS, consider subscribing to CBS All Access ($5.99). It’s a monthly subscription directly from CBS, which includes live streaming and on demand access for many of its shows.

You can get free access to CW shows with The CW apps with no subscription needed.

Popular Local Markets

These popular markets have live local channels on Sling TV.

  • Atlanta, GA
    • Fox
  • Austin, TX
    • Fox
  • Boston-Manchester, MA
    • NBC
  • Charlotte, NC
    • Fox
  • Chicago, IL
    • ABC
    • Fox
    • NBC
  • Dallas-Ft. Worth, TX
    • Fox
    • NBC
  • Detroit, MI
    • Fox
  • Gainsville-FL
    • Fox
  • Hartford-New Haven, CT
    • NBC
  • Houston, TX
    • ABC
    • Fox
  • Los Angeles, CA
    • ABC
    • Fox
    • NBC
  • Miami-Ft. Lauderdale, FL
    • NBC
  • Minneapolis-St. Paul, MN
    • Fox
  • New York City, NY
    • ABC
    • Fox
    • NBC
  • Orlando-Daytona Beach-Melbourne, FL
    • Fox
  • Philadelphia, PA
    • ABC
    • Fox
    • NBC
  • Phoenix-Prescott, AZ
    • Fox
  • Raleigh-Durham, NC
    • ABC
  • San Diego, CA
    • NBC
  • San Francisco-Oakland-San Jose, CA
    • ABC
    • Fox
    • NBC
  • Tampa-St Petersburg-Sarasota, FL
    • Fox
  • Washington DC
    • Fox
    • NBC

For complete local availability, check the Sling TV Channel Lookup tool.

Top Cable Channels

“Sling Orange” includes 14 of the top 35 cable channels and “Sling Blue” includes 18 of top channels. The “Sling Orange + Blue” combo package has 21 top channels.

A number of channels can be added with their “Comedy,” “Kids,” “Lifestyle,” and “News” Extra packs ($5 each). Sling also offers a bundle of all four extra packs for only $10.

The top 35 cable channels are listed below. For a list of channels in each plan and extra packs, look at Sling TV’s full channel lineup.

“Sling Orange” “Sling Blue” “Sling Orange + Blue”
$20 $25 $40
A&E ⚫︎ ⚫︎ ⚫︎
AMC ⚫︎ ⚫︎ ⚫︎
Animal Planet ⚪︎ ⚪︎ ⚪︎
BET $5 ⚫︎ ⚫︎
Bravo ⚪︎ ⚫︎ ⚫︎
Cartoon Network ⚫︎ ⚫︎ ⚫︎
CNN ⚫︎ ⚫︎ ⚫︎
Comedy Central ⚫︎ ⚫︎ ⚫︎
Discovery ⚪︎ ⚪︎ ⚪︎
Disney Channel ⚫︎ ⚪︎ ⚫︎
E! ⚪︎ $5 $5
ESPN ⚫︎ ⚪︎ ⚫︎
Food Network ⚫︎ ⚫︎ ⚫︎
Fox News ⚪︎ ⚪︎ ⚪︎
Fox Sports 1 ⚪︎ ⚫︎ ⚫︎
Freeform ⚫︎ ⚪︎ ⚫︎
FX ⚪︎ ⚫︎ ⚫︎
FXX ⚪︎ ⚫︎ ⚫︎
Hallmark $5 $5 $5
HGTV ⚫︎ ⚫︎ ⚫︎
History ⚫︎ ⚫︎ ⚫︎
Investigation Discovery ⚪︎ ⚪︎ ⚪︎
Lifetime ⚫︎ ⚫︎ ⚫︎
MSNBC ⚪︎ $5 $5
MTV $5 $5 $5
Nickelodeon ⚪︎ ⚪︎ ⚪︎
OWN ⚪︎ ⚪︎ ⚪︎
Spike $5 $5 $5
Syfy ⚪︎ ⚫︎ ⚫︎
TBS ⚫︎ ⚫︎ ⚫︎
TLC ⚪︎ ⚪︎ ⚪︎
TNT ⚫︎ ⚫︎ ⚫︎
truTV $5 ⚫︎ ⚫︎
USA Network ⚪︎ ⚫︎ ⚫︎
VH1 $5 $5 $5

View the Sling TV full channel lineup for a list of all channels in each plan and extra packs.

Sports Channels

National Sports Channels

Sling TV offers different national sports channels for in their plans. ESPN is exclusive to “Sling Orange” and FS1 and NBCSN are exclusive to “Sling Blue.”

If you subscribe to the “Sling Orange + Blue” combo plan, you will receive all channels.

“Sling Orange” “Sling Blue” “Sling Orange + Blue”
$20 $25 $40
ESPN ⚫︎ ⚪︎ ⚫︎
ESPN2 ⚫︎ ⚪︎ ⚫︎
Fox Sports 1 ⚪︎ ⚫︎ ⚫︎
Fox Sports 2 ⚪︎ ⚫︎ ⚫︎
NBC Sports Network ⚪︎ ⚫︎ ⚫︎
TBS ⚫︎ ⚫︎ ⚫︎
TNT ⚫︎ ⚫︎ ⚫︎

Regional Sports Networks (RSNs)

You will need to subscribe to “Sling Blue” to get access to regional sports networks (RSNs), which are generally from Fox and NBC/Comcast.

“Sling Orange” “Sling Blue” “Sling Orange + Blue”
$20 $25 $40
Altitude ⚪︎ ⚪︎ ⚪︎
AT&T SportsNet Northwest ⚪︎ ⚪︎ ⚪︎
AT&T SportsNet Pittsburgh ⚪︎ ⚪︎ ⚪︎
AT&T SportsNet Rocky Mountain ⚪︎ ⚪︎ ⚪︎
AT&T SportsNet Southwest ⚪︎ ⚪︎ ⚪︎
AT&T SportsNet Utah ⚪︎ ⚪︎ ⚪︎
Fox Sports Arizona ⚪︎ ⚫︎ ⚫︎
Fox Sports Carolinas ⚪︎ ⚪︎ ⚪︎
Fox Sports Detroit ⚪︎ ⚫︎ ⚫︎
Fox Sports Florida ⚪︎ ⚫︎ ⚫︎
Fox Sports Indiana ⚪︎ ⚪︎ ⚪︎
Fox Sports Kansas City ⚪︎ ⚪︎ ⚪︎
Fox Sports Midwest ⚪︎ ⚫︎ ⚫︎
Fox Sports New Orleans ⚪︎ ⚪︎ ⚪︎
Fox Sports North ⚪︎ ⚫︎ ⚫︎
Fox Sports Ohio ⚪︎ ⚫︎ ⚫︎
Fox Sports Oklahoma ⚪︎ ⚪︎ ⚪︎
Fox Sports Prime Ticket ⚪︎ ⚫︎ ⚫︎
Fox Sports San Diego ⚪︎ ⚫︎ ⚫︎
Fox Sports South ⚪︎ ⚫︎ ⚫︎
Fox Sports Southeast ⚪︎ ⚫︎ ⚫︎
Fox Sports Southwest ⚪︎ ⚫︎ ⚫︎
Fox Sports Sun ⚪︎ ⚫︎ ⚫︎
Fox Sports Tennessee ⚪︎ ⚪︎ ⚪︎
Fox Sports West ⚪︎ ⚫︎ ⚫︎
Fox Sports Wisconsin ⚪︎ ⚪︎ ⚪︎
MASN ⚪︎ ⚪︎ ⚪︎
MSG ⚪︎ ⚪︎ ⚪︎
MSG+ ⚪︎ ⚪︎ ⚪︎
NBC Sports Bay Area ⚪︎ ⚫︎ ⚫︎
NBC Sports Boston ⚪︎ ⚪︎ ⚪︎
NBC Sports California ⚪︎ ⚫︎ ⚫︎
NBC Sports Chicago ⚪︎ ⚫︎ ⚫︎
NBC Sports Northwest ⚪︎ ⚪︎ ⚪︎
NBC Sports Philadelphia ⚪︎ ⚪︎ ⚪︎
NBC Sports Philadelphia+ ⚪︎ ⚪︎ ⚪︎
NBC Sports Washington ⚪︎ ⚫︎ ⚫︎
NBC Sports Washington+ ⚪︎ ⚪︎ ⚪︎
NESN ⚪︎ ⚪︎ ⚪︎
Spectrum SportsNet LA ⚪︎ ⚪︎ ⚪︎
SportsNet NY ⚪︎ ⚪︎ ⚪︎
SportsTime Ohio ⚪︎ ⚫︎ ⚫︎
YES Network ⚪︎ ⚫︎ ⚫︎

You should check the Sling TV RSN lookup tool before subscribing, to make sure it has the regional networks you need.

Pro Sports

“Sling Blue” includes NFL Network.

Sling TV also offers a “Sports Extra” pack that includes NBA TV and NHL Network. If you’re a “Sling Blue” subscriber, the “Sports Extra” package is an additional $5 because it also includes NFL RedZone.

Sling does not offer MLB Network.

“Sling Orange” “Sling Blue” “Sling Orange + Blue”
$20 $25 $40
MLB Network ⚪︎ ⚪︎ ⚪︎
NBA TV $5 $10 $10
NFL Network ⚪︎ ⚫︎ ⚫︎
NFL RedZone ⚪︎ $10 $10
NHL Network $5 $10 $10

College Sports

Sling TV does not include any college sports networks as part of their standard plans.

However, the “Sports Extra” add-on includes Pac-12 Network. “Sling Orange” subscribers with “Sports Extra” will also have access to ESPNU and SEC Network.

Sling does not offer Big 10 Network.

“Sling Orange” “Sling Blue” “Sling Orange + Blue”
$20 $25 $40
ACC Network Extra ⚫︎ ⚪︎ ⚫︎
Big Ten Network ⚪︎ ⚪︎ ⚪︎
CBS Sports Network ⚪︎ ⚪︎ ⚪︎
ESPNU $5 ⚪︎ $10
Fox College Sports ⚪︎ ⚪︎ ⚪︎
Longhorn Network ⚪︎ ⚪︎ ⚪︎
Pac-12 Network $5 $10 $10
SEC Network $5 ⚪︎ $10

Other Sports Channels

The Sling TV “Sports Extra” pack offers channels like beIn, ESPNEWS, ESPN Goal Line, ESPN Bases Loaded, Golf Channel, and Univision Deportes. The channels you receive in this add-on depends on whether you subscribe to “Sling Orange” or “Sling Blue.”

“Sling Orange” “Sling Blue” “Sling Orange + Blue”
$20 $25 $40
beIN Sports $5 $10 $10
Eleven Sports ⚪︎ ⚪︎ ⚪︎
ESPNEWS $5 ⚪︎ $10
Fox Soccer Plus ⚪︎ ⚪︎ ⚪︎
Golf Channel ⚪︎ $10 $10
Olympic Channel ⚪︎ ⚪︎ ⚪︎
Tennis Channel ⚪︎ ⚪︎ ⚪︎

Premium Channels

You can add Cinemax $10, EPIX $5, HBO $15, Showtime $10, and Starz $9 to any Sling TV plan.

“Sling Orange” “Sling Blue” “Sling Orange + Blue”
$20 $25 $40
Cinemax $10 $10 $10
EPIX $5 $5 $5
HBO $15 $15 $15
Showtime $10 $10 $10
Starz $9 $9 $9