2020-09-26
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Streaming services like Amazon Prime and Netflix offer movies and original TV shows that they produce on their own but now there are applications that allow users to access all their favorite TV channels digitally. Sling TV is one example.

What is Sling TV?

Sling Television or Sling TV for short is a “virtual multichannel video programming distributor”. In simple terms, it is a program that replaces traditional cable and TV boxes with an application that users can access on their phones, tablets, personal computers or smart TVs. Sling TV provides access to tens of TV channels both live and on-demand so that viewers can watch their favorite programs anytime anywhere. Although it is unavailable outside US, you can still watch Sling TV outside US using a VPN.

What does it offer?

Sling TV was launched in 2015 and provide over-the-top internet television services. At first, the service had several limitations but over time it has expanded to become a full-time substitute for traditional television. Sling TV offers a plethora of mainstream channels all of which can be played in high-definition video formats. Sling TV also offers cloud DVR for recording programs directly off the TV channel. This feature is only available for a select few programs though.

5 Things to know before you sign up

Although Sling TV is an amazing service, it still only shows a glimpse of what the future holds for digital content. Sling TV has three different packages, channels which feature incredible content and affordable prices but at the same time it has a few limitations. There are some channels which aren’t available and for some reason, the way packages are designed is a bit complicated. Here are the 5 things you should know before signing up for Sling TV:

1.      The channels which are available and the ones that aren’t

Sling TV has three distinct packages which feature a different selection of television channels available for viewership. Users can pick the package that they want based on their preferences both in terms of content or prices. We will get into the details of the packages in the next section but it is important to introduce them here due to the way channels are split between them.

Sling TV offers an Orange package, a Blue one and then a third which combines both. The channels available with each subscription include:

Sling Orange channels

ESPN AMC CNN HGTV Comedy Central
Cartoon Network History Channel Disney Channel ESPN2 ESPN3
ACC Network Extra TNT Food Network TBS BBC America
Freeform IFC EPIX Drive-In Tribeca Shortlist A&E
Viceland Lifetime Travel Channel AXS TV Newsy
Cheddar Bloomberg Television Local Now Flama Galavisión

Sling Blue channels

FOX NBC FOX RSNs NBC RSNs NFL Network
AMC FX CNN HGTV Comedy Central
USA Cartoon Network History Channel TNT Bravo
Food Network Fox Sports 1 Fox Sports 2 TBS NBC Sports Network
BBC America FXX SYFY Nick Jr. IFC
EPIX Drive-In Tribeca Shortlist A&E El Rey Viceland
truTV Lifetime Travel Channel AXS TV National Geographic
BET Nat Geo Wild Newsy Cheddar Bloomberg Television
Local Now Univision UniMás Flama Galavisión

Then, there is the third package which doesn’t have a color code but offers all the channels in both the above-mentioned channels combined.

The channels that aren’t available

Sling TV subscriptions are significantly cheaper than other cable TV boxes and packages. The reason behind this is that many local and even some international channels are missing from their lineup. The channels that aren’t available include CBS, ABC, Fox, Fox News, NBC, Animal Planet, Nickelodeon, OWN and CBS Sports.

2.      The packages are a bit confusing

As you’ve probably seen by now, the packages offered by Sling TV are somewhat difficult to understand. The first is the Orange channel which costs about $20 a month and offers a combination of channels. Sling Blue costs $25 a month and features none of the channels which are available as part of Sling Orange. For example, Sling Orange offers ESPN but Sling Blue doesn’t. Lastly, there is an Orange + Blue package that offers all the channels from both packages and costs $40 a month.

3.      Which devices is Sling available for?

One of the great things about Sling is that it is available for almost every device out there today. From mobile platforms like iOS, Android and Chromecast to computer operating systems like Linux, Mac and Windows you can access Sling TV almost anywhere. TV connected devices which Sling is available for include AirTV Player, Amazon Fire TV, Android and Apple TV, Channel Master DVR+, LG Smart TV, Mi Box, Roku and Xbox One.

4.      Cloud DVR is not included in the price

The Sling Cloud DVR allows users to record some of the programs off a few channels available on the service. Moreover, this feature is not included with either of the normal packages. Users have to pay an extra fee of $5 if they want to avail the facility of being able to download the content they want, i.e. if it is available to be viewed offline.

5.      Deals that you may get if you signup now

For a short time, Sling TV is currently offering 40% off for the first month. If you are a fan of the NFL, you can get access to NFL Network and RedZone for $35 with the purchase of Sling Blue. The company also offers a 7-day free trial before you have to commit to the service with a payment. Other offers keep popping up regularly too like some device specific discounts like you could get a Roku Express for free with one month of Sling TV service. You can visit the Sling TV website to learn more about latest deals and discounts that they may be offering.

Conclusion

Sling TV is a great service if you can find the channels on it where your favorite content airs. Although it comes with a few restrictions mainly in terms of the channels available, the amount of supported devices and other features make up for these shortcoming quite effectively.

Michael K. French

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