Sling TV provides Internet TV—live TV delivered via the Internet instead of via cables or satellite. Sling, a subsidiary of DISH Network Corp., launched in early 2015. Sling TV currently offers a basic package of 20+ popular cable channels for $20/month.
The wTVPC Cord Cutters Club™ performed a meta review of Sling TV. We looked at Sling TV reviews from TEN SEPARATE SOURCES—all of them respected names in the tech industry—and compiled the results. Here’s what we found.
Reviews analyzed: CNET, Consumer Reports, Engadget, Forbes, Gizmodo, PC Mag, Tech Hive, Tech Radar, Tom’s Guide, The Verge
Average Rating: 4/5 STARS
+ Low cost
+ Easy to set up and use
+ Live sports
+ Best quote: “Holy crap, we’ve figured out Internet television.” -Sean Buckley, Gizmodo
— Can only watch one channel at a time. So if you have a spouse, roommate, or child who wants to watch something different at the same time someone’s going to be disappointed.
— Limited channel selection.
— No DVR function.
— Limited On-Demand TV watching. Sling uses a linear-only TV viewing model, so you can mostly only watch what’s airing live when you tune in. Some networks offer the past three days’ worth of shows on-demand.
— Can’t skip ads. In fact, Sling will have its own dynamic ads customized for each user. Yippee.
— Spotty pause, rewind, fast-forward function.
— Picture quality not as good as cable and some buffering annoyances. Alternately, Sling sucks up a ton of bandwidth.
— Best quote: “I think a more accurate assessment of Sling TV is that it is fundamentally an old school linear TV service, modestly freshened up with a new online wrapper.” -Will Richmond, Video Nuze
wTVPC’s Bottom Line: Whether Sling TV is right for you depends on whether you’re actually ready to cut the cable cord. If so, and you want access to live TV and sports, Sling TV is the answer you seek. Any other ‘negatives’ are outweighed by its other positives. We list Sling’s current channel selection here in the ‘Channels’ tab (and update it as it changes), so look it over and see if you can live with what’s missing, or if you’re willing to supplement with another service (Hulu, Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, etc.).
Best of Live TV Package—$20/month:
Sports Extra—For an additional $5/month
HBO—For an additional $15/month
World News Extra—For an additional $5/month
Lifestyle Extra—For an additional $5/month
Hollywood Extra (movies)—For an additional $5/month
Kids Extra—For an additional $5/month
Best of Spanish TV Extra—For an additional $5/month
Desportes Extra—For an additional $5/month
Películas & Novelas Extra—For an additional $5/month
España Extra—TV channels from Spain, for an additional $7/month
Colombia Extra—TV channels from Colombia, for an additional $7/month
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Sling TV works with several different devices and operating systems to allow customers to watch available channels on a TV, computer, tablet, or phone. Compatible devices include:
Sling is currently only available to customers in the U.S. A high-speed Internet connection is a must no matter how you access Sling.
Note that Sling TV is totally separate from the Slingbox media streaming device.
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Here is a fairly long (20m) but very thorough demo of Sling TV from the guys at Tested:
Here’s a shorter demo from CNET: