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How Does Sling TV Work?

From channel packages to pricing, find out everything you need to know about streaming live TV and getting rid of cable via Sling TV.

How Does Sling TV Work?


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Ready to cut the cord? If you’re looking for a budget-friendly way to watch some of your favorite cable channels and live sports, Sling TV is one of your best options. It’s $35 a month, but new subscribers will only pay $25 for their first month with Sling TV’s current promotion.

Depending on the package you purchase, you’ll be able to have anywhere from one to four streams at a time, access to your favorite shows and local channels, and tons of movies. The Blue package is geared toward entertainment and news junkies, while the Orange package is best for families and sports fans. Read on for the breakdown of everything you need to know before you sign up for a subscription, including how it works, and how much it costs.

Sling TV Logo

What Is Sling TV?

Sling TV is an app-based service through which you can watch live TV and programs you record on your DVR — it’s like cable TV, but you can pick and choose which channels and features you want. All you need is internet access and a compatible device. You can add premium channels, just like a cable subscription, and you get access to live TV as you would with cable. There are no contracts, so you’re billed monthly and can cancel or add or subtract channels before your next statement.

Where Can I Get Sling TV?

Sling TV is an app that’s compatible with nearly every streaming device, including Amazon Fire, Apple TV, Chromecast, Roku, LG and Samsung smart TVs, iOs, Android, Windows, and XBOX One.

What Channels Are on Sling TV?

Both plans (Sling Blue and Sling Orange) come with free 10-hour cloud DVR. Both come with A&E, AMC, BBC America, Bloomberg Television, Cartoon Network, Cheddar, CNN, Comedy Central, Comet, Food Network, Fuse, HGTV, History, IFC, ID, Lifetime, TBS, TNT, Trvl, Vice, and more.

With Sling Blue, you can have three device streams, and the channels are more news and entertainment focused: Bravo, BET, Discovery, E!, Fox in select markets, Fox News, FS1, FX, HLN, MSNBC, National Geographic. Paramount Network, Syfy, TLC, tru TV, and USA. Additionally, Sling TV offers NBC, NBC Sports, and NBCSN in select markets.

With Sling Orange, you’ll get Disney Channel, ESPN, ESPN2, ESPN3, Freeform, and Motortrend. And you can add extra channel bundles to either plan.

Sling TV has DVR so you can record full seasons or single episodes of as many shows as you want at one time. But the standard cloud DVR service only includes 10 hours — you’ll have to upgrade if you want more than that.

What Is The Price Breakdown?

As stated above, the Blue and Orange plans are $35 each ($25 for the first) month. The extra channel bundles are $5 add-ons. You can also subscribe to both Blue and Orange for $50, which gets you up to four streams (the three from Blue and the one from Orange).

Sling TV offers a slew of international channel add-ons starting at $10 a month, including Spanish-language channels, and dozens of other international channels and sports packages.

You receive up to 50 hours of cloud storage on your DVR, but you can upgrade to DVR Plus for an extra $5 a month which gives you 200 extra hours of storage. DVR functionality is available on all devices except Xfinity X1, and all live content except digital networks (Local Now, ESPN3, ACC Network Extra, and SEC Network+).

Sling TV app on an iPad

How Do I Watch Local Channels?

Aside from getting an HD antenna, you can also watch local channels via AirTV, Locast, and Peacock. Sling TV also offers Paramount+ (formerly CBS All Access).

Local Fox affiliate channels are available on Sling Blue in the select markets including, New York, Philadelphia, Chicago, Detroit, Washington, DC, Atlanta, Houston, Orlando/Daytona/Melbourne, Tampa/St. Petersburg, Gainesville, Milwaukee, Minneapolis/St. Paul, Dallas/Ft. Worth, Austin, Phoenix, Seattle, Los Angeles, and San Francisco/Oakland/San Jose.

Local NBC affiliate channels are available on Sling Blue in these markets: New York, Philadelphia, Chicago, Boston, Washington, D.C., Miami/Ft. Lauderdale, Hartford/New Haven, Dallas/Ft. Worth, Los Angeles, San Francisco/Oakland/San Jose, and San Diego.

You can watch sporting events from ABC, such as college football and NBA basketball, via the Sling Orange stream of ESPN3.

Depending on what area you live in, a small indoor antenna should be strong enough to pick up all your local channels. In rural areas you might need an outdoor antenna, since they’re further away from broadcast towers, and receiving a stable signal is more difficult. An outdoor antenna with an amplifier will boost the signal even more.

How Do I Install Sling TV?

After you’ve signed up for an account at Sling.com or through the Sling TV app, you’ll install the app (if you haven’t already) and simply log in. You can also log in using Google Chrome, Microsoft Edge, or Safari. And you can access local channels for free with an HD antenna (which you can buy here).

Do People Like Sling TV?

Tech review site CNET picked Sling TV as its Editors’ Choice among budget live TV streaming services, writing that it surpasses cheaper options and undercuts its competitors. “If your main priority is saving money over cable, it should be the first such service to check out,” according to the site. Its limitations, though, are the fact that the add-ons are extensive and sometimes confusing, and the only way to get all your local live TV channels (ABC, NBC, CBS, and Fox affiliates) is to augment your service via an HD antenna ($15), or an AirTV 2 DVR ($99).

Users on ConsumerAffairs.com have given Sling TV mixed reviews. One user liked that “you get a choice of programming and there are inexpensive extras you can pick,” but noted, “While I don’t have all the choices I would like, I have quite a few. It also allows me the opportunity to resume watching if I end up turning it off before the show is over. And I’m saving $60 a month from what I was paying for cable.”

But another user noted problems with billing snafus, writing, “Confusing billing and free-trial restrictions. Thought I was getting a free trial then I got charged earlier than expected.”

Tech Radar, meanwhile, gives Sling TV a solid 3.5 stars out of 5, calling it “live cable TV without the headache.”

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