Sling TV is the grandfather of the streaming industry. Its roots lie in the ability to watch your home cable feed from anywhere in the world — you'd literally plug your cable line into a Sling box, which would then spit out the feed online.
Today, however, Sling TV is a more modern streaming television option. It used to be the most popular live TV streaming service in the United States but currently sits at No. 3 with 2.474 million subscribers as of Dec. 31, 2020.
That doesn't change the fact that Sling TV base packages are among the most affordable, with a mix of channels that are as close to a la carte TV as we can get. And that's even after Sling TV increased its prices for new subscribers in January 2021.
That's both good and bad. Sling TV channels are numerous, but you'll have to do a little homework to make sure you're getting the channels you want. And you'll need to keep track of the Sling TV plan you're building, because you quickly can spend as much as any of the other streaming options.
And none of that changes the fact that you can still get a Sling TV free trial — that can't be said of every other streaming service.
Here's everything you need to know about Sling TV in 2021:
Sling TV Channels: The Sling Orange and Sling Blue plans
Here's the gist of Sling TV: There are two main tracks. Yes, you can call them plans, but it's almost easier to think of them the two main trunks of a rather large tree. They split off at first but also intermingle a bit.
Those two Sling TV plans — tracks, whatever — are Sling Orange, and Sling Blue. You'll mostly find different channels in each, though there are a handful of common channels. You'll want to look through the each plan to see if one has more channels that you want than the other.
For instance: If all you care about is ESPN and ESPN2, you can get those in the Sling Orange plan and not have to pay for anything else.
Customers will pick either Sling Orange or Sling Blue — each costs $25 a month the first month, and $35 a month after that. Or you can get both for $40 a month total the first month, and $50 a month for both after that.
From there, each track has seven additional "Extras" that add additional channels ad various pricing. There's where the faux a la carte feeling comes in. You're not locking yourself in to packages as big as AT&T TV Now, but you're also not merely paying for the channels you know you want to watch. There will be some superfluous listings.
The one big strike against Sling TV is that its on-screen guide can be a little confusing.
Sling Orange Channels
Sling Orange channels number fewer than Sling Blue. But it's probably where you'll want to start if you're focused on sports, because it's the plan that comes with ESPN.
Sling Orange includes the ability to stream on a single device at a time, and has a free 10-hour DVR.
Here are all the channels you'll get with Sling Orange:
A&E, AMC, AXS TV, BBC America, BET, Bloomberg Television, Cartoon Network, Cheddar, CNN, Comedy Central, Comes, Disney Channel, Epix Drive-In, ESPN, ESPN2, ESPN3, Food Network, Freeform, Fuse, HGTV, History, IFC, Investigation Discovery, Lifetime, Local Now, Motortrend, Newsy, Nick Jr., Stadium, TBS, TNT, Travel Channel, Vice.
Sling Blue Channels
Sling Blue channels number an extra dozen (give or take) over Sling Orange. It has more news and entertainment options and comes with the ability to stream on as many as three devices at once.
Here are all of the Sling Blue channels in the base plan:
A&E, AMC, AXS TV, BBC America, BET, Bloomberg Television, Bravo, Cartoon Network, Cheddar, CNN, Comedy Central, Comet, Discovery, E!, EPIX Drive-In, Food Network, Fox, Fox News, FS1, Fuse, FX, HGTV, History, HLN, IFC, Investigation Discovery, Lifetime, Local Now, MSNBC, National Geographic, NBC, NBC Sports, NBCSN, Newsy, NFL Network, Nick Jr., Stadium, SYFY, TBS, TLC, TNT, Travel Channel, TRU TV, USA, Vice.
Sling Orange Extras
These are all of the channels available in the Extras on the Sling Orange Track. If you've got the Sling Orange plan, you can add on as many (or as few) of these as you like. All prices are monthly.
- Orange Sports Extra ($11 if you have either Sling Orange or Blue, $15 a month if you have both): beIN sports, ESPN Bases Loaded, ESPN Goal Line, ESPNEWS, ESPNU, MLB Network, MLB Strike Zone, NBA TV, NHL Network, Outside TV, PAC 12 Network, SEC Network, SEC+, Tennis Channel
- Orange Comedy Extra ($6): CMT, Game Show Network, Logo, MTV, MTV2, Paramount Network, Revolt TV, truTV, TV Land
- Orange Kids Extra ($6): BabyTV, Boomerang, Disney Junior, Disney XD, ducktv, Nick Jr., NickToons, TeenNick
- Orange News Extra ($6): BBC World News, CGTN, Euronews, Free Speech TV, Fusion, HLN, News18, Newsmax, RT America, SCI, TheBlaze, Weather Nation,
- Orange Lifestyle Extra ($6): Bet, Cooking Channel, DIY Network, FYI, Hallmark Channel, Hallmark Drama, Hallmark Movies & Mysteries, Lifetime Movie Network, VH1, WE TV, Z Living HD
- Orange Hollywood Extra ($6): Cinemoi, HDNet Movies, REELZ, Sundance, TCM, The Film Detective,
- Orange Heartland Extra ($6): American Heroes, Destination America, Outdoor Channel, PixL, RFD-TV, Ride TV, Sportsman Channel, The Cowboy Channel.
Sling Blue Extras
These are all of the channels available in the Extras on the Sling Blue Track. If you've got the Sling Blue plan, you can add on as many (or as few) of these as you like. All prices are monthly.
- Blue Sports Extra ($11 if you have either Sling Orange or Blue, $15 a month if you have both): beIN Sports, Golf Channel, MLB Network, MLB Strike Zone, NBA TV, NFL RedZone, NHL Network, Olympic Channel, Outside TV, PAC-12 Network, Tennis Channel, World Fishing Network, Big Ten Network
- Blue Comedy Extra ($6): CMT, Game Show Network, Logo, MTV, MTV2, Revolt TV, TV Land
- Blue Kids Extra ($6): BabyTV, Boomerang, ducktv, NickToons, TeenNick
- Blue News Extra ($6): BBC World News, CGTN, CNBC, Euronews, France 24 (English), Free Speech TV, HLN, MSNBC, News18, Newsmax, NDTV 24x7, RT America, SCI, TheBlaze, Weather Nation
- Blue Lifestyle Extra ($6): Cooking Channel, DIY Network, FYI, Hallmark Channel, Hallmark Drama, Hallmark Movies & Mysteries, Lifetime Movie Network, Oxygen, VH1, WE TV, Z Living HD
- Blue Hollywood Extra ($6): Cinemoi, HDNet Movies, REELZ, Sundance, TCM, The Film Detective,
- Blue Heartland Extra ($6): American Heroes, Destination America, Outdoor Channel, PixL, RFD-TV, Ride TV, Sportsman Channel, The Cowboy Channel, World Fishing Network, Nat Geo Wild
|Sling Orange ($35)||Sling Blue ($35)||Premium||Orange Extras||Blue Extras|
|BBC World News||x||x|
|beIN Sports Connect|
|ESPN Bases Loaded||x|
|ESPN Goal Line||x|
|Fox Sports Network|
|France 24 (English)||x|
|Free Speech TV||x||x|
|Game Show Network||x||x|
|Hallmark Movies & Mysteries||x||x|
|Hallmark Movies Now||x|
|Lion Mountain TV||x|
|MLB Strike Zone||x||x|
|Monsters & Nightmares||x|
|Nat Geo Wild||x||x|
|NBC Sports Network||x|
|Outside TV Features|
|PAC 12 Network||x||x|
|Showtime Family Zone||x|
|Starz Kids & Family||x|
|The Country Network Plus||x|
|The Cowboy Channel||x||x|
|The Film Detective||x||x|
|UP Faith & Family||x|
|Warriors & Gangsters||x|
|Willow Cricket HD|
|World Fishing Network||x|
|Z Living HD||X||x|
Premium channels on Sling
Sling also has a couple dozen "premium" channels to which you can subscribe individually. They are:
- CONtv ($5)
- CineFest ($5)
- CineMoi ($3)
- Comedy Dynamics ($5)
- CuriosityStream ($3)
- DOGTV ($5)
- DOX ($3)
- Docurama ($5)
- Dove Channel ($5)
- EPIX ($5)
- Echoboom Sports ($6)
- FlixLatino ($3)
- Genius Brands Network ($4)
- Grokker ($7)
- Hallmark Movies Now ($6)
- Here TV ($8)
- Hopster ($5)
- Lion Mountain TV ($3)
- Magnolia Selects ($5)
- Monsters and Nightmares ($3)
- Outside TV Features ($5)
- Pantaya ($6)
- STARZ ($9)
- Showtime ($10)
- Stingray Karaoke ($7)
- Stingray Qello ($8)
- The Country Network ($3)
- UP Faith & Family ($5)
- VSiN ($4)
- Warriors and Gangsters ($3)
Also, NBA League Pass is available for $28.99 a month, and NBA Team Pass is available for $17.99 a month.
International and Spanish-language plans on Sling
Sling TV also has a number of international options available.
Spanish-language options include:
- Best of Spanish TV ($5): UNIVERSO, Zee Familia, Discovery en Espanol, History en Español, Estrella TV, Azteca, beIN SPORTS en Español, beIN Sports Connect La Liga, Discovery Familia, beIN SPORTS CONNECT, Cinelatino, Cine Sony, Ingles Para Todos, Pasiones, INTI Network, Cbeebies, Vme Kids, PX Sports, NTN24, BabyTV Español, El Financiero Bloomberg TV, Zee Mundo, ¡HOLA! TV
- México ($5): Canal Once, CBTV Michoacán, Multimedios Televisión, AZ Clic, TeleFórmula, Milenio Televisión, AZ Cinema, Teleritmo, Video Rola, AZ Corazón
- Caribe ($5): WAPA America, CubaMax, Telemicro, TV Quisqueya, Dominican View, Supercanal Caribe, Teleuniverso, Cinelatino, Pasiones
- Sudamérica ($5): Caracol, Nuestra Tele, NTN24, RCN Novelas, TV Venezuela, EVTV, Ecuavisa Internacional, Telefe Internacional, Todo Noticias, El Trece Internacional, TyC Sports, Bolivia TV, Canal Sur, Estudio 5
- Centroamérica: Centroamerica TV, CB24, Tele El Salvador
- España ($5): TV Española Internacional, Antena 3, A3Cine
- Sling Deportes ($5): beIN SPORTS, TyC Sports, Nuestra Tele
Other international options on Sling TV include:
- Willow Cricket Mini ($5): Willow Cricket, Willow Extra
- Hindi Mini ($5): Aaj Tak, Zee Cinema, SAB TV, zoOm, Food Food, Times Now, News18, B4U Movies, B4U Music, Sony Mix, Sahara Samay
- Telugu Mini ($5): TV5 News, Zee Cinemalu, News18, zoOm, News18 North East, Desi Bonus, Zee Bihar Jharkhand
- Tamil Mini ($5): Jaya Max, Jaya Plus, JMovies, Raj Digital Plus, Raj News, Zee Tamil, News18, zoOm, News18 North East, Desi Bonus, Zee Bihar Jharkhand
- Chinese Mini ($5): CCTV-4, CGTN, China Movie Channel, CCTV-
- Entertainment, Hunan Satellite TV, Zhejiang TV, Dragon TV, ShenZhen Television, Jiangsu International Channel, Phoenix North America Chinese Channel, Phoenix InfoNews, Beijing TV
- Français Mini ($5): France 24, TV5 Monde Cinema, TiVi5Monde
- Deutsch Mini ($5): ProSieben
- Arabic Mini ($10): Arabica, BBC Arabic, Al Jazeera Mubasher, MBC Drama, Melody Classic, ART Cima, Melody Hits, MBC 3, MBC Wanasah, IQRAA TV, Noursat TV, Aghapy TV
- Italiano Mini ($5): TV2000 Italia, La7
- Polish Mini ($15): iTVN, PolSat1, Nature Vision HD
- Brazilian Mini ($15): TV Globo Internacional
- Sun TV Mini ($10): SUN TV
About Sling TV DVR
As of Jan. 27, 2021, Sling now offers 500 hours of DVR for free.
If you need more, you can pay $5 a month for the enhanced "DVR Plus." That'll get you 200 hours of recording capability. If you go over that, however, you'll be able to "protect" your recordings so that they won't completely disappear. (Anyone who previously got 10 hours free now has 50, and anyone who previously paid for 50 hours now has 200.)
The majority of channels on Sling TV can now be recorded, with the exception of some digital offerings like ESPN3 or ACC Network Extra.
Does Sling TV stream in 4K?
Nope. Not yet.
How to subscribe to Sling TV
- In your favorite web browser, head on over to sling.com/signup
- Enter your email address
- Enter a unique, strong password.
- Choose whether you want Sling Orange, Sling Blue, or Both. 5. Scroll through the rest of the page for the Extras options, premiums, and international options.
- Click "Continue."
- Enter your billing information.
- Check out.
Does Sling have free movies and shows?
Sling TV doesn't have free movies in the same sense as services like Tubi TV or even The Roku Channel. What you get is what you're paying for — lots of channels that also have movies and shows.
But if you're looking for a really good way to augment your Sling TV experience with more free movies and shows, there definitely are some great legitimate services that allow for that.
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