Sling TV is an over-the-top Internet protocol service offering a collection of popular cable channels online. You can watch these channels on your computer, television, or mobile device. All of the channels are live, much like a cable service. The other good news is that despite Sling TV being a subsidiary of Dish you don’t actually have to have a subscription to Dish in order to get Sling TV. The base package of Sling TV is called “The Best of Live TV” and it offers around 20 channels including ABC Family, History, ESPN, ESPN2, Food Network, TBS, Travel Channel, CNN, TNT, Adult Swim, Disney Channel, Cartoon Network, and HGTV. For a little extra you can add the kid’s package which also includes Duck TV, Boomerang, Disney Junior, Disney XD, and Baby TV. There is also a World News, Hollywood, Lifestyle, and Sports Package at a small additional cost. Each includes 5-10 more channels except the Sports Package which has upwards of 10. This makes it great for individuals and families to customize exactly what they want to watch. You don’t have to pay as much money and there are fewer wasted channels, but you can still get most of your favorites.
Obviously there are channels missing from the selection; Sling TV is the cheaper alternative to cable so it isn’t really fair to expect the same number and variety. Among the important missing channels are PBS, ABC, NBC, CBS, Fox, Bravo, Comedy Central, and premium channels like The Movie Channel and HBO are not available either. If you just have to have these channels or the shows on them but you still want Sling TV you can always go to another provider in addition to Sling TV or even use an over- the-air-antenna.
If you want to get Sling TV all you have to do is subscribe on their website and install the app on your device. Available devices include Xbox One, Roku, Amazon Fire TV, Fire TV Stick, Macs, iOS phones and tablets, Android phones and tablets, PC computers, LG and Samsung Smart TVs, Chromecast, Android TV devices, and Google Nexus Player.
There are commercials—just like there is on cable or satellite TV. In most cases you can’t pause or skip these commercials or the show you are watching, although this is not always the case. In many ways Sling TV still resembles ordinary cable television.
Most channels have a feature called “3 Day Replay” which enables you to watch the show 3 days after it aired. Some even allow you to play a show which aired in the past week. This is a nice feature that gives you a little give time so you don’t miss out on an episode you really wanted to see.
One other downside to Sling TV is that it is only available on one device unless you have another account set up. Some reviews also state that a fast Internet connection is absolutely necessary for Sling TV otherwise it is not an enjoyable experience. Overall, though, Sling TV has been a popular choice for those who have chosen to give up cable. It offers a great alternative with many of the same channels, it is customizable, and it is also much more cost efficient.