Sling TV: Everything you need to know

Why Sling TV is an essential part of a balanced cord-cutting diet

Sling TV has gone through multiple evolutions since it debuted at CES 2015 (winning our Best in Show award that year in the process). Since then, it’s become an ever-present option for the cord-cutting crowd looking for live TV without the bonds of cable. The service’s multiple options and a slight increase in price have made it increasingly complicated, however.

To help simplify everything Sling has to offer (it’s a lot!), we’ve put together a comprehensive, hands-on evaluation so you can see if it’s right for you.

Sling TV: What it is and isn’t

Dish Network would still be happy to sell you 250 channels for $85 per month, and it doesn’t intend Sling TV to replace full-blown satellite service or cable. Instead, it hopes to meet the needs of cord cutters (those who quit cable) or “cord nevers” (those who never had it), who can’t get everything they want from traditional streaming sites like Netflix, Amazon, and Hulu (though Hulu has gotten pretty close). That’s what makes Sling TV’s inclusion of sports networks like ESPN and NFL Network so attractive — live-streamed sports are hard to come by outside of a contract.

Sling TV’s selection of channels was lean to start, but it’s regularly being beefed up, and the channels it does offer (listed below) are fairly popular. The service also offers video-on-demand from a handful of the channels it offers, as well as movie rentals. Best of all, Sling TV requires no sign-up fee, no contract, and you can test it out with a one-week free trial before fully diving in.

Available channels

Below, you’ll find charts for each of the base Sling TV channel packages, followed by a listing of the channels included in add-on packages starting at $5. The number of available channels for each package has grown and changed over time and is likely to continue expanding and altering into the future, but we’ll do our best to update these listings as they change. Listings here are up to date as of July 2018.

Included in $25/month Sling Orange package

sling tv hands on with video orange june 7 update

Included in $25/month Sling Blue package

sling tv hands on with video blue june 7 update

A quick glance at the above listings shows that there are some major differences in channels included with each of the package options. Sling Orange includes multiple sports channels, most notably a suite of ESPN channels including ESPN, ESPN 2, and ESPN 3. Sling Blue, on the other hand, drops the sports but adds in networks like Fox and NBC, and also offers the ability to add on NFL RedZone via the $10/month Sports Extra package, a virtual must-have for football fans.

Sling Orange and Blue

sling tv hands on with video orange and blue june 7 update

If you’re looking to keep costs low, you’ll have to pick between the two above options. Luckily, for those who don’t mind paying extra, there’s a third option: “Sling Orange and Blue,” which includes all the channels from both Orange and Blue packages plus the Broadcast Extra add-on package for $40/month. It’s a bit more expensive, to be sure, but you won’t have to decide between live sports on ESPN with Orange or network streaming with Blue.

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