Dish Network’s Sling TV service offers something cord-cutters have dreamed of for years: live TV and sports without the need for pricey cable or satellite packages. One major strength of Sling TV is that it offers programming in relatively bite-sized packages, rather than one major glut of channels, letting users pick and choose the channels best suited to them. The only problem is that it isn’t always easy to figure out which packages are best for you.
To get started with Sling TV, you’ll need to choose between two base packages: Sling Orange ($20 per month) and Sling Blue ($25 per month). Which one do you pick? Or should you bundle both for $40? The answer really depends on your needs and preferences. In this quick guide, we’ll explain the benefits of each so you can make the right decision and raise your cord-cutter game.
What you get with either
If your channel needs are fairly simple, the choice between Sling Orange and Sling Blue could be an easy one, as there are a fair amount of channels included in both packages. These include coveted cable news channels like Bloomberg and CNN, lifestyle programming like the Food Network and Travel Channel, and popular cable staples like AMC, IFC, TBS, TNT, and History. That said, there are some essential differences between the two.
Major differences between Sling Orange and Sling Blue
How many streams?
Before we get to programming differences, there is one major difference between Sling Orange and Sling Blue that potential customers need to be aware of at the outset: the number of devices that can stream Sling TV at once. Sling Orange is limited to a single stream, meaning you’ll be limited to watching on one device at a time. Sling Blue offers up to three streams, making it a better option for larger households. If you’re only ever watching on one TV or mobile device at a time, this may not matter, but it’s definitely worth keeping in mind.
Sling Orange programming
Number of streams aside, if you’re a fan of all things sport, Sling Orange may be your best choice. That’s because it’s the only one of the two to feature Disney’s suite of ESPN channels, including ESPN, ESPN2, and the generally online-only ESPN3, all loaded into Sling Orange’s $20 per month core price tag. Speaking of Disney, Sling Orange will also land you other Disney properties, including Disney Channel and the family-friendly FreeForm (formerly ABC Family) network, which aren’t available on Sling Blue alone.
Sling Blue programming
While it may not have the coveted ESPN lineup, Sling Blue makes up for this in terms of its sheer wealth of channels, not to mention the multiple streams mentioned above. In place of ESPN programming, Sling Blue offers NFL Network, as well as multiple Fox sports networks. Also, and this is key, Sling Blue is the only way to get the NFL RedZone channel, available as an add-on in Blue’s add-on Sports Extra package, which we’ll discuss below. Meanwhile, a substantial amount of popular channels like Bravo, FX, FXX, Syfy, and USA are also included — so, while you give up ESPN, you get a lot in return.
Extra channel packages
Now that we’ve looked a Sling TV’s core packages, it’s time to start thinking about add-ons for the perfect blend of content. Some packages, like Hollywood Extra — which offers movie channels like Epix, Sundance, and Turner Classic Movies — are exactly the same. Others, like Kids Extra, vary based on the package — you’ll need Sling Orange in order to have access to the additional Disney children’s channels, for example.
Sling Blue also offers fewer channels in its Sports Extra package, but it costs twice as much as Sling Orange’s Sports Extra Package, at $10 per month. That’s due to the inclusion of the all-powerful NFL RedZone channel, which lets you watch a smorgasbord of scoring plays from every NFL team every Sunday, without commercials. Meanwhile, Sling Orange’s $5 Sports Extra package grants customers even more ESPN channels, including ESPNEWS, ESPNU, and a handful of seasonal sport-specific channels, but no RedZone.
Best of both worlds
A lot of Sling TV’s marketing focuses on how little it costs per month, but if you want the best of what it has to offer, you’ll want to subscribe to both Sling Orange and Sling Blue, bringing the price a lot closer to what you’d pay for cable, at $40 per month (plus your internet fees, of course). While the $5 bundling discount isn’t the deal of the century, getting both also gives access to all of the channels available in the add-on packages.
For a full rundown of the base channels available in either Sling Blue, Sling Orange, or both, see below.
If you’re still left wondering if Sling TV is right for you, make sure to check out our complete guide to the service, which includes a full channel list and other info, including which channels allow for time-shifting, and more.
Full channel listings by package
|Sling Orange||Sling Blue||Sling Orange and Blue|
|BBC World News||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Bloomberg TV El Financiero||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Cartoon Network / Adult Swim||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|De Pelicula Classico||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|El Ray Network||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|ESPN ACC Extra||Yes||No||Yes|
|Hallmark Movies & Mysteries||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Nat Geo Wild||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|NFL Red Zone||No||Yes||Yes|
|Pac 12 Network||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|World Fishing Network||Yes||Yes||Yes|
Update: Updated the channel packages and availability.
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