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Cable TV is on the way out. Gone are the days when having a decent TV channel and show selection meant spending big on a cable subscription from one of the main companies. These days, you can enjoy movies and TV shows with Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime, or any number of other streaming services.
But what about live TV? Live TV is great for watching your favorite network shows as soon as they’re available, watching live sports, or simply channel surfing if you don’t quite know what to watch.
Thankfully, cutting out the cable company doesn’t necessarily mean having to ditch live TV altogether. In fact, there are great services out there for streaming live TV to your Apple TV, Android TV, Roku, or other streaming device — like, for example, Sling TV.
Sling TV offers a large selection of live channels and allows you to keep the live component you might have enjoyed from TV without keeping your pricey cable subscription. Interested? Here’s everything you need to know about Sling TV.
Sling TV is essentially a way to watch your favorite live channels without a cable subscription. Essentially, instead of channels making their way to your TV through lines from a cable company, the video is streamed to your TV or streaming box through the internet — just like other streaming services like Netflix.
There are a few advantages to this system. For starters, you’re not limited to watching content on your TV. You can watch on your TV, laptop, phone, or tablet just as easily with the Sling TV app.
It also makes recording content a little easier. DVR features do cost $5 extra each month, but the trade-off is that you’ll get 100 hours of recording time, and you’ll be able to catch up on your favorite TV shows and movies when it’s convenient for you.
While your cable subscription could run into the multi-hundreds of dollars per month, Sling TV is far cheaper, starting at $25 per month.
There are a few packages available. The entry-level $25-a-month Sling TV Orange service gives you access to 28 different channels, including CNN, AMC, A&E, Cartoon Network, ESPN, Disney Channel, and more.
Sling Blue, which also costs $25 a month, has its own set of channels, some of which are the same and some of which are different. Notable inclusions are National Geographic, NFL Network, NBC, Fox Sports, and BBC America.
There’s a third plan, too. If both Sling Orange and Sling Blue offer something that you’re interested in, then you can get a package that comes with all the channels from both for $40 per month.
There are add-ons for Sling TV, too, most of which are relatively inexpensive. As mentioned, you can add Cloud DVR services for $5 per month. There’s also a “Sports Extra” add-on that’s $5 per month, and includes ESPNU, ESPNews, NHL Network, and NBA TV. Parents with young children can get a Kids add-on for $5 per month that offers Disney Junior, Disney XD, and more. You can also add premium networks like Showtime and Starz, but each channel is a little extra.
You can check out a full list of the channels available to Sling TV here.
Free-to-air local channels are compatible with Sling TV, too. If you have an over-the-air antenna, a way to connect it to your setup, and live in a supported area, you can incorporate those channels straight into the Sling TV interface.
Channel availability isn’t the only difference between Sling Orange and Sling Blue. With Sling Orange, you can only watch on one screen at a time — while on Sling Blue, you can watch on up to three. That makes Sling Blue arguably a better fit for families, in which different people might be watching on a different screen at the same time.
One of the great things about Sling TV versus your traditional cable subscription is that you can watch your TV pretty much anywhere you have access to a digital device and internet. There are Sling TV apps available on both Android and iOS, so your phone and tablet supports it. There are also apps for the Apple TV and Android TV, as well as Roku and many smart TV platforms. Safe to say, if you have a relatively smart TV setup, you should be able to get Sling TV on your device.
Sling TV works over your internet connection, and as such, you need a relatively fast internet connection to get good video quality. On a mobile device, Sling recommends at least 3 Mbps download speed for decent video quality. In your home, Sling recommends at least 25 Mbps from your internet provider for the best-quality streaming.
Another limitation is that local programming, like ABC, Fox, and NBC, is only available in supported areas — and while those areas cover most people in the US, if you don’t live in or near a major city you may not get local programming.
Sling TV is mainly for live TV, but there’s a selection of on-demand video you can watch, too, straight through the “Available Now” section. The content in that section, however, changes relatively frequently. That’s because of the fact that the on-demand selection isn’t determined by Sling. It’s Sling’s channel partners that opt to offer their own content on-demand.
Sling TV is a great way to enjoy live TV without being beholden to a cable company and without having to pay an arm and a leg for a cable package. It also allows you to enjoy TV anywhere as long as you have an internet connection, so if you find yourself bored on public transportation a lot, then it may be worth buying for you. You can sign up to Sling TV for yourself straight from the Sling TV website.
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