Sling TV is a “cord cutting” service that promises to give you the best of live TV including channels like AMC, HGTV, IFC, and CNN for just $20 a month. Sling TV promises you can upgrade to HBO for another $15 and offers a whole slew of a la cart programming normally reserved for cable or satellite but now available via broadband.
What Exactly Do You Mean by Cord Cutting?
Cord cutting is a slang term for people who disconnect their satellite, cable bill, or even home phone yet still manage to get many of the same services from Internet-based companies. The “cord” attaches to behemoths like Time Warner, Comcast, or Dish Networks, which often charge exorbitant fees for channels you never watch and/or have a Kafka-esque cancellation process:
Cord Cutting has become a pioneering movement that has their own Reddit forum and the term has become synonymous with alleged liberation from these corporations.
First, the Good News About Sling TV
Sling TV offers “The Best of Live TV” package for $20 a month. There are no setup fees, no cancellation fees, and no long-term contracts. There are no sudden upgrade fees either and while it can be used with devices like Roku or Amazon Fire TV, you may already have a device that can use it, like an iPhone or an XBox (it also works with Android devices).
Sling TV also bills itself as being the only Internet-based cable alternative to offer live streaming of certain sports events. This includes ESPN, ESPN 2, and TNT. There’s also live-breaking news from CNN as well as kid-friendly family programming.
Setup is almost instant, and works very similarly and at the same broadband quality as Netflix, Hulu, Amazon, etc. For another $15, you can add HBO’s new app. Sling TV appears to be constantly adding channels and supported devices.
Sling TV Complete Live TV Channel Listing aka their basic package (as of July 2015):
- Food Network
- Travel Channel
- Adult Swim
- Cartoon Network
- Disney Channel
- ABC Family
- El Rey
- Bloomberg TV
What’s the Bad About Sling TV?
Here’s some stuff that may bum you out:
- Sling TV has very limited fast-forward, rewind or even recording capabilities for most channels, especially the sports ones.
- Sling TV does not include any of the major networks (ABC, NBC, CBS, CW, FOX). If you are watching Sling TV on a digital television, this may not matter as much as you can still watch them over the built-in antenna.
- 20 channels is not a heckuva lot.
- If you have slow speeds and Netflix is already always buffering, you will likely have the same problems with Sling TV. On the other hand, if you have a great connection you will likely have a good quality picture and sound.
What’s the UGLY About Sling TV
- While you can register your account on as many devices as you like, you can only watch on one at a time. This means no sharing with family members.
- The technology can still be buggy, so you could experience difficulties getting it to work.
- You can add more channels, but by the time you’re done you’d probably be paying close to what you would with a regular cable subscription and still not have as many options as cable/satellite.
- Technically you’re not really cutting the cord as Sling TV is owned by Dish Network.
- Monday Night Football is not available.
Sling TV Package Upgrades
Each upgrade package is $5 more except where noted:
- Sports Extra - SEC Network, ESPNU, ESPNEWS, ESPN Buzzer Beater, ESPN Goal Line, ESPN Bases Loaded, Univision Deportes, Universal Sports, beIN Sports.
- Deportes Extra - Univision Deportes, Univision, UniMás, beIN Sports, beIN Sports en Español, beIN Sports HD, Azteca.
- Kids Extra - Disney Junior, Disney XD, Boomerang, Baby TV, Duck TV.
- Hollywood Extra - EPIX, EPIX 2, EPIX 3, EPIX Drive-in, TCM, Sundance.
- Películas & Novelas Extra - Univision TL Novelas, Cinelatino, De Película, De Película Clásico, Pasiones, Az Corazón, Univision, UniMás.
- World News Extra - HLN, News 18, Euro News, NDTV 24/7, France 24, Russia Today.
- Lifestyle Extra - Cooking Channel, DIY, we TV, truTV, FYI, LMN.
- España Extra: TVE, Antenna 3 ($7/mo.)
- Colombia Extra: Nuestra Tell, NTN 24 ($7/mo.)
If you were to order everything your total would be: $84/mo.
Total number of channels: 50
Compare this to Dish’s traditional offerings:
Ok, So What’s the Fine Print with Sling TV?
There is a whole lot of Terms and Conditions you must agree to with Sling TV, which you can read all about here, but we’ll give you the nitty-gritty:
- They can change the channels they have on Sling TV at any time.
- They can change the minimum type of subscription at any time.
- You can cancel at any time but may be responsible for “certain charges and fees” set forth in any promotions and any money you have prepaid.
- No credits or refunds are given.
- You are signing an arbitration agreement prevent you from suing them or joining any class action lawsuit.
Bottom Line: Is Sling TV a Good Way to Watch My Favorite TV Shows?
We hope we have shown you the good, the bad, and the ugly of Sling TV so you can make a decision if this is the right option for you. Depending on whether you are a TV-junkie, sports fanatic, tech nerd, or someone who just watches Jeopardy and The Simpsons, Sling TV is either a great idea or a complete waste of money.
Reviews of Sling TV
Customer reviews of Sling TV are basically split down the middle – the service averages 3 stars from over 1,500 reviews on Amazon.com.
We also found a Sling TV review from someone who used it for 2 months back in April of 2015. He noted that the app, channels, and features greatly improved over the time he started watching and he enjoyed it for keeping track of NBA March Madness. That is, until the Final Four, when Sling TV overloaded with users, would not work. Overall, he gives it a 4-star rating expecting it will continue to improve and be a viable alternative for people who have specialty tastes and don’t need a lot of extra programming.
What’s your thoughts? Have you signed up for Sling TV and found it was just what you needed or do you feel ripped off? Let us know below!
You may also want to read: Bye Bye Cable? The Who, What, Where, Why and HOW Guide to Cutting the Cord!