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Sling TV

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Sling TV was amongst the first live OTT Internet TV streaming service introduced to the world. With its skinny bundle, Sling TV has garnered over 2.4 million subscribers with most of them streaming from America. What makes this live streaming service successful is its affordable plans along with a vast content library and its ability to allow you to watch content from anywhere and on any device. Sling TV has already become one of the most popular live TV streaming services in the USA and is showing no signs of slowing down.

Since its introduction in 2014, Sling TV has proved to be an amazing alternative for viewers looking to cut the cords. With this service, you can have a compact TV viewing experience comprising of channels that matter. As a result of this, you don’t have to pay costly bills or rack up expensive equipment that clutters the space under your TV. You can live stream from any device and at an affordable price.

The success of Sling TV led to a plethora of platforms trying to start their own live TV streaming platform. These include DirecTV Now, PlayStation Vue and even YouTubeTV. The only aspect which separates Sling TV from most of these service providers is that it’s the cheapest as compared to most of these channels.

Is Sling TV and Slingbox the same?

There’s no doubt Sling TV as a concept has evolved from Slingbox. However, Sling TV is in its own league when it comes to cord-cutting alternatives. Through this service, the brand is catering to the entire US audience, allowing them to watch the majority of the basic channels without the need for pesky equipment in the living room or on the roof.

Sling TV isn’t rigid in its operation. Apart from the basic channels available in the package, you can add additional content for an extra fee. For instance, you can pay $4.99 and add six channels of your choice. If you’re looking for premium content, you can also add HBO, EPIX, and STARZ for just a few additional bucks a month.

Sling TV similar to Prime Video and Netflix uses the internet connection for functioning. You just need a compatible player such as Xbox One, Roku or Android device and you’re good to go.

History

Sling Television a.k.a Sling TV was unveiled on January 5, 2015. It is an American over-the-top internet television service owned by Dish Network. It made its way at the ‘Consumer Electronics Show’ in Las Vegas. Ever since its launch, it’s seen as a virtual multichannel video programming distributor (MCVPD) which complements subscription VOD services for cord-cutters. Today, you can stream content on Sling TV through digital media players, smart TVs, and apps from anywhere you want.

Design

Sling TV’s interface is slightly confusing but it works fine. I had to spend some time to get the hang of it but my first impression was that it didn’t have the most intuitive interface. The Grey, Black and White text combination is a standard color tone you’d find across most of the well-known streaming service website.

In my opinion, Sling TV’s ability to help you save shows and channels as well as mark your favorite one is an aspect I like the most, which again, is pretty standard across all major streaming networks.

The little orange lines under the videos indicate the viewing progress. We saw the same thing in Hotstar, where there’s a green line. These little details count a lot and help you to continue from your left off.

While it’s true that Sling’s interface is not extremely appealing or intuitive, it does get the job done. If you’re used to flipping channels, you won’t be pleased as there’s no surfing option in Sling. The homepage is set up in a horizontal mosaic window format which starts with your favorite channels. The display is optimized on most of the devices and thus you can see anywhere between three to five channels on your screen at a time. But you will need to side scroll a lot.

In 2019, viewers prefer back and forth toggle as compared to searching, sorting and horizontal scrolling.

Content

Sling TV offers a sleek content package with add-on options. Though the content library isn’t as expansive as many leading streaming services it’s still impressive. As far as the content goes, there are two plans – Orange and Blue Plan. Both of these plans have similar base channels.

You get many channels such as ESPN, ESPN2, ESPN3, TBS, TNT, DIY Network, Food Network, HGTV, CNN, Travel Channel, ABC Family, Cartoon Network, Disney Channel, IFC, AMC, History, Bloomberg, Lifetime, Flama, A&E Cheddar and AXS TV.

The only difference between both the packages is that Sling Blue doesn’t have Disney-owned channels.

On-Demand content is a USP

Apart from Live TV channels mentioned above, you can also choose from an extensive on-demand content library that you’d only find on Sling. I was thrilled to find some of the titles of Sling, these include the entire collection of ‘Billions’, ‘Real Housewives’, ‘Good Eats’ and the latest season of ‘It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia’.

If the base package is not good enough to satisfy your content requirements, you can also add additional channels at just $5/month. These add-ons can range from kids’ channels to movie channels to sports channels – Just beef it up as per your preference.

Desktop/Mobile experience

Sling TV and Slingbox do have similarities but they are two different services. With Sling TV, you can pause, rewind and even fast-forward Live TV on channels. It also allows you to watch shows just a few days after they have premiered. Sling TV can be streamed from numerous devices which include mobile devices as well. If you have an internet speed of 1.5Mbps, you’d be able to achieve decent quality streams.

One of the things that I don’t like about Sling TV is when you cast your streams from a smaller screen to the bigger ones. The experience is quite different. It might perform great on some devices and very poorly on others. For instance, I used my iPhone SE and the stream was clear and crisp. However, as soon as I cast it via Chromecast, the quality dipped down and everything went awry. There’s an instant drop in video and audio quality.

The search experience is poor too. Regardless of your device, if you do a search query, you’ll get results that won’t make much sense. For instance, try searching “Game of Thrones”, and you’d find random results featuring the GOT segment, behind the scenes, etcetera. The only thing you won’t find is the show itself – which is very frustrating.

Compatibility is not a problem

To access Sling TV, you can create an account on Dish’s website. You can use that information to log in to the Sling TV app. You can access the content via an app on Android, Apple TV, iOS, Amazon Fire TV Stick, Chromecast, Roku, Android TV System and Xbox One. Thanks to a partnership between LG and Dish, you can stream live on Korean devices such as LG’s webOS smart TVs, Vizio SmartCast TVs and Samsung Smart TVs.

Plans & Pricing

If you’re new to cord-cutting, you might find Sling TV’s packages really confusing. So, let’s clarify that first. There are two packages – Sling Orange and Sling Blue. If you’re looking for an individual plan which caters to your needs, then you should go for the Sling Orange Plan. If you want to share it with your family, then you should pick Blue.

Each plan costs $25/month. For the first month, you’re required to pay just $15/month as an introductory discount. Both of these channels will have a difference in a few areas. If you want an all-inclusive package, you can combine the two packages and get a multiservice discount. If you opt for that option, you’ll get two-months of viewing at just $25/month. After two months, it’ll cost $40 per month.

Suggestions I have for Sling TV

I’ve been using Sling TV for over two years and I’ve watched the service improve over time. I started with the Orange package and later switched to Sling Blue because I felt that Orange wasn’t meeting my content needs.

Conclusion

Sling TV has transformed the OTT live streaming service. Though its user interface is less than ideal, it still manages to offer great value for money. It’s one of the most affordable ways to watch live TV and on-demand content. I’d suggest you check it out for two months and if you feel it’s worth it, you can go ahead with a full subscription.

Likes & Hates:
Can stream from anywhere
No equipment, setup or contract required
Add-on content availability
On-demand movies and TV Shows
The interface isn’t the best
Functions aren’t great
Search functions are not helpful
Some nagging issues on several devices