Sling TV review: gets the job done

Hard to beat the bang for your buck with this live TV streaming service.

Sling TV free trial
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What to Watch Verdict

Sling TV isn't perfect, but it's definitely serviceable and provides a lot of content — both live and on-demand — at a reasonable price for those looking to cut cable.


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    Decent, affordable price point

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    Easy to use, straight-forward interface

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    Huge selection of live channels

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    Plenty of on-demand movies to series

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    Easy to use DVR recording capabilities


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    No CBS

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    Limited options for Sling Orange

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    Bugs when attempting to continue watching previously live content

To state the obvious, TV has evolved. How we consume content and how it's distributed have come a long way since the cable/satellite-only days, or even the DVR days. 

The advent of live TV streaming services has made it easier to watch what we want, when we want and on any device. With so many options to choose, you may be wondering which is the best live TV streaming service out there. 

Sling TV is one of the most recognized options on the market, so we're breaking down all its offerings and perks to help you make a decision on if it's the right choice for you.

Sling TV channels

Sling TV offers three subscription packages: Sling Orange, Sling Blue and Sling Orange + Blue. For the purposes of this review, we subscribed to the Orange + Blue package ($55/month normally). 

Sling Orange is specifically geared toward those looking for sports offerings and children's programming. For $40/month you get ESPN, ESPN2 and ESPN3, as well as Disney Channel and Freeform. Sling Blue ($40/month) does not include these channels, but does provide you with Fox Sports and NFL Network. Sling Blue also includes many exclusive channels the Orange package doesn't have, including TLC, USA, TruTV, National Geographic, MSNBC, HLN, FX, E!, Bravo and local stations (ABC, Fox, NBC).

Sling Orange + Blue combines both packages, so you get all sports and entertainment networks. The only two networks missing are MGM+ Drive In and QVC. However, there are a lot of exclusive channels offered as well that are dedicated to classic TV series. For instance, there's a channel that exclusively shows Baywatch, an ALF channel, a 21 Jump Street network, one for Unsolved Mysteries, Portlandia, The Walking Dead Universe, and more. There's also several channels featuring international programming from Asia and EMEA regions as well.

Word has spread that local affiliate networks were not available at all on any Sling TV package. This is true for networks like PBS and CBS. However, the Orange + Blue package, as well as the Blue package,  both feature local affiliates for NBC, Fox and ABC during our test (though what local channels are available may depend on where you live).

In short, there's never a shortage of content given the sheer volume of channels being featured plus a few of the extra perks offered for the service as well. Naturally, there are ads like any live television channel would feature. Even with some of the dedicated channels, there are about 2 minutes worth of ads you cannot skip through. But it's a small price to pay for the amount of content you're getting.

Sling TV perks

Sling TV offers two really big perks outside of the live-streaming space, starting with on-demand. At your disposal, you can peruse a vast library of recent hit movies, as well as full seasons of various TV comedies, drama and reality series, similar to offerings from cable companies like Spectrum. Current offerings from networks like TBS, TNT and FX allow you to view recent films like Nightmare Alley, Joker, Captain America: Civil War and more. From a TV series perspective, sitcoms like The Big Bang Theory, reality series like The First 48, adult animation like Rick and Morty and many more are offered readily for anyone wanting to just switch on their favorite program.

There is also a DVR component to the service that allows you to set up recordings for your favorite programs playing live, so you can watch them later. The Orange + Blue package allows you to record 50 hours of content. It's relatively easy to use. Just navigate to an upcoming program on the guide and hit 'Record," or navigate to a show and choose to record new episodes only or new episodes and reruns. Much like a DVR, you also do record the commercials, but you can fast forward through those as well.

Sling TV ease of use

The learning curve for Sling TV is relatively low. The home dashboard offers up live sports and trending streams happening at the time of startup. The menu items essentially boil down to the live guide, your custom DVR, the on-demand library or a search option to allow you to look for specific content.

The home menu also features recommended on-demand programming for the most popular movies and series featured on the service. You basically just select what you want to see. The guide is similar to any standard television guide. You can scroll through all of the various channels offered by the service to select whichever live show is on at the moment. The DVR menu features only what you've recorded, so it's straightforward to just click on something you recorded to play it. On-demand features several Netflix-style categories with popular titles to choose from, which you just click and hit "Watch Now." 

You can easily navigate and sign into Sling TV on your smart TV, home computer or mobile device. In the case of our test, we tried Sling TV with Chromecast. It was a simple matter of clicking the Chromecast icon and casting to your TV, as you would any other app.

There were a few issues we discovered during our test. For one, if you watch content live, then sign out of the app and return to it, you have the option to continue watching that show, even after it's finished airing live. That's a great feature. Unfortunately, that "Continue Watching" option was plagued with bugs when fast forwarding or rewinding through the content. Scrubbing was difficult, and trying to advance or rewind 10-30 seconds didn't always work. Sometimes the program would just restart from the beginning. So not a seamless experience.

Overall thoughts

For the most part, Sling TV gets the job done. For the price point of $40-$55/month, there's a lot of options for content that will keep any cordcutter reasonably satisfied. If one were to choose a package, our recommendation would be either the Blue or Orange + Blue package to get the most channels for your money. However, if sports are a non-negotiable option for you, you're better off getting the Sling TV Orange + Blue package over the singular Orange package, just to receive the most amount of channels possible. 

Sling TV is relatively easy to use. The on-demand and DVR options make it convenient for anyone to watch whatever they want with relative ease, either through the expansive library of popular movies or TV shows or anything you choose to record. In short, if you cut cable and get Sling TV, you should have everything you need.

Mike Manalo

Mike is a proud, sarcastic nerd with a penchant for comic books, comic book movies, and movies in general, and occasional delusions of grandeur. He's also a UC Berkeley graduate who decided to go into writing over pre-med because he figured he'd ultimately save more lives by not being a doctor. He's a Slytherin and a Pisces, so he's very emotionally sensitive, yet also evil, but can be defeated by exploiting his insecurities. His goal is to live one hell of a unique life, and it's been working so far! His proudest moments are being retweeted by James Gunn and Ryan Reynolds in the same week, and getting 999,999 points on Buzz Lightyear Astro Blasters at Disneyland. 

You can find Mike's writing around the web at publications like The Nerds of Color, What to Watch, Spoiler Free Reviews, and That's It LA.