You can customize the way you stream live TV at a reasonable price, but the commercials aren’t going anywhere.
Sling is a streaming service that allows you to stream live TV, movies, pay-per-view (PPV) — even à la carte viewing — in a way that fits your viewing habits. But while it offers thousands of channels, each of its three plans include the same ads you’d experience with a cable provider.
Sling is offering a $10 discount on its services for the first month to new customers, so you’ll only pay $20 — with included access to Showtime, Starz and Epix. After the first month, Sling charges your account for the standard price of whichever subscription you choose.
Plus, you get a free Air TV streaming device if you subscribe and prepay for two months of Sling.
Local channels like ABC, CBS, Fox and NBC are limited or nonexistent on Sling TV
So many add-ons can mean paying more than typical cable costs
You can only watch on one device at a time if you pick Sling Orange
What features does Sling offer?
Unlike other streaming services, all plans start at $30 a month with customizable add-ons for offline and local viewing.
À la carte channels
Starting at $3 a month, Sling offers multiple individual channels or channels packs to further customize your TV-watching experience. Once you’ve settled on a base plan, you can further hand-pick what you pay for.
Base plans come with 10 hours of free DVR space. For $5 a month more, you can record up to 50 hours of your favorite shows for later viewing, with the option to record multiple programs at once. Sling keeps your recordings for as long as you’re a customer and up to 30 days after you quit your service.
Opt for an HD antenna (sold separately) sent to your home to watch ABC, Fox, CBS and other local channels. You need a base subscription to enjoy this add-on feature, but it can help you cut your cable cord. Local channels depend on your city.
Which devices is Sling compatible with?
Sling TV is compatible with most devices and is working on including more. The app makes for an easy streaming transition from your phone to your computer to your TV.
Fourth-generation Apple TV
LG smart TVs
Samsung TV — models 2016 to 2019
Amazon Fire TV
Desktops and laptops
Amazon fire tablets
Xfinity X1, Xfinity Flex
TiVo Stream 4K
How much does Sling cost?
Each of Sling’s two base plans cost $30 a month with the option to combine base plans to save $15 a month.
$30 a month
30+ channels that include ESPN, A&E and AMC
$30 a month
40+ channels, plus NBC Regional Sports in select areas
Orange + Blue
$45 a month
50+ channels, including IFC, CNN, Viceland and Fuse
Further customize your lineup with Orange and Blue extras that focus on sports, comedy, kids and news at $5 to $10 more a month. Choose from 30 premium add-ons that include Showtime at $10 a month, Hallmark Movies at $6 a month and the Country Network at $3 a month.
Sling offers a free 3-day trial on each of its plans. During this time, you have the ability to either cancel the service or continue with the everyday cost of an applicable service included in the next billing cycle. You agree to receive programming after you sign in to your account for the first time.
To watch for the full 3 days, you’ll need to hold off on canceling until the very end. Otherwise, you risk immediate cancellation of your viewing.
What can I watch with Sling?
Live TV streaming is the basis of Sling, but the programs you get to experience depend on the plan you choose. They include:
The Walking Dead
A base subscription is no longer necessary for return Sling members to enjoy on-demand options like PPV and movies as of 2017. You can make one-time purchases without having to lock into a subscription. Unless you already have one — in which case, you can tack these purchases on to your next bill.
How much data does Sling use?
Like any streaming service, Sling can use a good chunk of data, depending on how heavily you’re streaming.
A rule of thumb with Sling is that you need at least 3Mb per second to begin streaming video to smaller devices like smartphones and tablets. The bigger the device you’re using, the stronger your Internet speed must be.
For laptops and TVs, you should have at least 5Mb/s. If your subscription allows you to stream from multiple devices at the same time, you need a minimum of 25Mb/s for the best picture quality.
You can cancel your subscription or trial through your Sling account or by contacting customer service.
You can switch between base services at any time through your account. Plans are the same price, so there’s no additional cost for you to switch.
Sling TV is owned by Dish — which means that you aren’t entirely cutting ties with big cable by subscribing.
Yes, but only with Sling Blue. Sling Blue allows you to stream from up to 3 devices at once. With Sling Orange, you can only watch on one device at a time. However, if you combine Sling Orange and Sling Blue, you can stream from 4 devices at once.
Kelly Waggoner is the US editor-in-chief at Finder. She's worked with publishers, magazines and nonprofits throughout New York City, including ghostwriting a how-to on copyediting for the Dummies series. Between projects, she toys with words, flips through style guides and fantasizes about the serial comma's world domination.
Sling TV offers a way for you to watch live TV without the strings, costs and long-term contracts of a traditional cable provider. Customize your entertainment through base subscriptions that start at $30 monthly and add-ons that cost from $3 extra. Local TV watchers might want to pause, however: You’ll need a cable to pick up local channels like NBC and CBS.
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