How Does Sling TV Work?

Those interested in ditching their cable TV service may wish to consider Sling TV, a service that streams live TV from the Internet but without needing a television or clunky cable box. Rather, viewers can use practically any Internet-connected device, including iOS and Android devices, Xbox Ones, Roku boxes, and Windows-based devices.

Unlike other streaming services, such as Netflix or Hulu, Sling TV is strictly live, and users receive each channel as it’s playing in real-time—just as they would with traditional cable or satellite TV hookups. This article will explore Sling TV, how it works, and whether it's worth the plunge.

Key Takeaways

  • Sling TV is a service that livestreams news, live sports, and other TV shows from the Internet, but without the clunky cable box.
  • Viewers can use nearly any Internet-connected device, including iOS and Android devices, and Xbox Ones.
  • Basic service starts at $35 per month and provides access to 30+ channels, and 80K+ shows and movies-on-demand.
  • Extra channel bundles and DVR storage start at $5 extra per month.

How Much Does Sling TV Cost?

The basic service starts at $35 per month, with an option to choose Sling Blue and Sling Orange. Both basic plans have no contracts or set-up fees, 50 hours of free DVR storage, and easy cancelation. While Sling Blue has channels geared towards news and entertainment and allows three device streams, Sling Orange is better for sports and family-friendly networks and only allows one device stream.

However, both plans include favorites like CNN, Food Network, A&E, the History Channel, TNT, and HGTV. If these mainstays aren't enough, you can get both for $50/month or sign up for additional channel bundles based on content type, starting at $5 per month each.

These extra packages center on themes such as sports, news, children’s programming, Hollywood, lifestyle, plus a host of Spanish offerings. Specifically, the sports package adds 10+ channels, the kids' package adds five, and the news package adds 10+. Users may also pay an extra $10 per month for Showtime, or $9 for Starz. All of the packages can be examined online, but they may not be purchased, until subscribers first sign up for the basic 30-channel lineup.

Sling Blue
  • Stream on three devices

  • Good for news and entertainment

  • Includes NFL Network, Bravo, and Fox News

Sling Orange
  • Stream on one device

  • Good for sports and families

  • Includes ESPN, Nick Jr., Disney Channel

Is Sling TV Cost-Effective?

Whether or not Sling TV is cost-effective largely depends on the perspective of each consumer. But by any measure, the $35 base package is affordable, compared to most basic cable packages.

However, the costs of adding extra packages can mount quickly. For example, adding the "Sports Extra" package of 10+ extra channels costs an extra $11, bringing the total monthly bill to $46. Meanwhile, the average cable bill is over $100 per month.

Both cable consumers and Sling TV consumers encounter the same frustration of invariably paying for packages containing channels they’ll never watch. Even Sling’s core line-up contains obscure channels such as Bet, Comet, and IFC, which few consumers have even heard of.

How Sling TV Works FAQs

What Do You Need for Sling TV?

All you need for Sling TV is an Internet-connected device such as an iOS or Android device, or you can connect it to your Samsung, Apple TV, Amazon Fire TV, or another device.

How Much Is Sling TV a Month?

The basic Sling TV packages cost $35 per month for 30+ channels, with upgrades starting at $5 per month.

What Channels Do You Get on Sling TV?

Sling TV includes channels such as CNN, Food Network, A&E, the History Channel, TNT, and HGTV on their basic packages, Sling Blue or Sling Orange. Sling Blue also includes the NFL Network and Fox News, while Sling Orange includes ESPN and Nick Jr.

What Are the Pros and Cons of Sling TV?

Sling TV is an affordable alternative to cable TV, which allows users to watch live channels on any Internet-connected device for just $35 a month. However, some users may find that the channels in the basic package don't fit their needs, hiking up their monthly bills to include the customizations they want.

Is Sling TV Better Than Cable?

Sling TV is hailed by many as better than cable TV, as the common friction points with cable TV—such as the steep price, having to install a physical cable box, and often being locked into a contract—are relieved with a Sling TV subscription.

The Bottom Line

There’s no doubt that Sling TV is a great deal for those who can resist the temptation to add extra packages. Many Sling TV users pair this service with other streaming providers such as Hulu, CBS All Access, and Netflix to round out their viewing options.