Sling Orange vs. Blue: What’s the difference?

These days, it seems like we’re spending a lot more time inside watching TV, which makes choosing the right streaming services more important than ever. Dish Network’s Sling TV is still a go-to over-the-top (OTT) service for newbie cord-cutters and discerning TV lovers alike, offering live TV, on-demand movies and series, and sports. Sling TV has long been known for its relatively bite-sized programming packages, rather than offering a single glut of channels, allowing users to choose the channels best suited to them. Being spoiled when it comes to choice poises a problem: How do you choose?

To get started with Sling TV, you’ll need to decide between two base packages: Sling Orange and Sling Blue, each of which costs $30 per month. Which one do you pick? Should you bundle both for $45? The answer 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

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 such as AMC, IFC, TBS, TNT, Comedy Central, and History. That said, there are some essential differences between the two services.

How many streams can you watch?

Before we get into programming, one major differentiator you need to know between Sling Orange and Sling Blue has to do with the number of devices that can stream Sling TV simultaneously. Sling Orange is limited to a single stream, meaning you’ll be limited to watching on one device at a time. You can switch from one device to another, but you can never watch on both devices at the same 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 channels

The number of streams aside, if you’re a fan of sports, Sling Orange may be your best bet. 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. Speaking of Disney, Sling Orange will also land you other Disney properties, including Disney Channel and the family-friendly Freeform (formerly ABC Family) network.

Sling Blue channels

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 ability to stream on three screens at a time. 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 NFL RedZone, which is available as an add-on with the Sports Extra package (discussed below). A substantial number of popular channels — including Bravo, Vice, HGTV, FX, Discovery, Cartoon Network, 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 at 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 Sundance, Fandor, and Turner Classic Movies — are exactly the same for Orange and Blue packages. Others, like Kids Extra, vary based on the package; you’ll need Sling Orange in order to access extra Disney children’s channels, for example.

Some options don’t add up financially, depending on the combination of channels you choose. For example, Sling Blue offers fewer channels in its Sports Extra package, but its price is the same as Sling Orange’s Sports Extra Package, at $10 per month. Blue’s Sports Extra, however, gets you the NFL RedZone channel, which gives you access to a plethora of scoring plays from every NFL team every single Sunday. You even get the sweet added benefit of watching every game without commercials. Meanwhile, Sling Orange’s Sports Extra package grants customers an even higher number of ESPN channels. The lineup includes ESPNEWS, ESPNU, and a handful of seasonal sport-specific channels. One exception is RedZone — you’ll have to look elsewhere for that.

Best of both worlds

Sling TV markets itself as a cost-effective alternative option to cable. However, having access to all the channels you’d have via cable, will cause you to pay for both Sling Orange and Sling Blue. After adding up the cost of each of these services, the total edges closer to what your regular cable bill would be. Orange and Blue total $45 per month. Keep in mind, you’ll also have to pay for internet access in addition to these services. We’ve created an all-inclusive list of the base channels available in either Sling Blue, or Sling Orange, and if you had both services combined.

If you still have more looming questions about Sling TV, check out our complete guide to the service. In addition to a full channel list, you’ll also find more detailed information about Sling, such as time-shifting channels and much more.

Sling is a bit of an underdog in the streaming services market, but its unique approach to streaming adds some real value for its subscribers. Sling give you access to streaming content, but it also provides television on-demand. With all of these awesome benefits, consider giving Sling a try. You probably won’t regret it.

Full channel listings by package

Sling Orange Sling Blue Sling Orange and Blue
A&E  Yes  Yes  Yes
AMC  Yes  Yes  Yes
AXS TV  Yes  Yes  Yes
BBC America  Yes  Yes  Yes
BET  No  Yes  Yes
Bloomberg TV  Yes  Yes  Yes
Bravo  No  Yes  Yes
Cartoon Network  Yes  Yes  Yes
Cheddar Business  Yes  Yes  Yes
Cheddar News  Yes  Yes  Yes
CNN  Yes  Yes  Yes
Comedy Central  Yes  Yes  Yes
Comet  Yes  Yes  Yes
Discovery Channel  No  Yes  Yes
Disney Channel  Yes  No  Yes
E!  No  Yes  Yes
ESPN  Yes  No  Yes
ESPN 2  Yes  No  Yes
ESPN 3  Yes  No  Yes
Food Network  Yes  Yes  Yes
Fox  No  Yes  Yes
Fox News No Yes Yes
Fox Sports 1  No  Yes  Yes
Freeform  Yes  No  Yes
Fuse  Yes  Yes  Yes
FX  No  Yes  Yes
HGTV  Yes  Yes  Yes
History  Yes  Yes  Yes
HLN No Yes Yes
IFC Yes Yes Yes
Investigation Discovery  Yes  Yes  Yes
Lifetime  Yes  Yes  Yes
Local Now  Yes  Yes  Yes
MotorTrend  Yes  No  Yes
MSNBC No Yes Yes
National Geographic  No  Yes  Yes
NBC  No  Yes  Yes
NBC Sports  No  Yes  Yes
Newsy  Yes  Yes  Yes
NFL Network  No  Yes  Yes
Nick Jr.  No  Yes  Yes
Paramount Network  No  Yes  Yes
Stadium  Yes  Yes  Yes
SyFy  No  Yes  Yes
TBS  Yes  Yes  Yes
TLC No  Yes  Yes
TNT  Yes  Yes  Yes
Travel Channel  Yes  Yes  Yes
Tru TV  No  Yes  Yes
USA  No  Yes  Yes
Viceland  Yes  Yes  Yes


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