The Sling TV Experience
What is Sling TV?
For starters, it’s not that (sling)box people had years ago to stream their cable service other places. This is something totally different.
It’s a streaming cable service, sort of. After using it for a while though, I see it as more of an addition to your existing cable service, and not necessarily a replacement.
A lot has changed since the Sling TV service began. The most notable of which is the fact that you can do up to 3 streams at a time, unlike at launch where only 1 was available. Another major change is the addition of different plans, which I will talk about more later.
First off, I would like to say the experience varies greatly between what devices you use to view Sling TV.
The most “real television” like experience in my opinion is with the Roku brand of streaming hardware. I have tested it on both the Roku 2 and 3, and I can say the overall presentation is great on both. I have an Apple TV which isn’t new enough to get the Sling Channel. Only the latest model of Apple TV is compatible. I also used the Sling App on an Amazon Fire TV Stick. That was very disappointing. The wireless signal was much less reliable via the Fire TV stick compared to the Roku streaming device. The overall performance was of no comparison either. The Sling App on my iPad Air worked fine for the short time I have used it as well.
That being said, a Roku is my choice for the best (and fairly cheap) option for streaming.
As I mentioned in the beginning of the article, Sling TV now has 3 main plan options.
These plans have 3 prices. $20, $25 and $40.
As you can see there are quite a few channels. The most notable difference between Orange and Blue is ESPN. Blue has many more channels than Orange, but does not come with ESPN. To me, that’s not a deal breaker, as Blue is the bigger bang for the buck, because I have FiOS also. I can use the Watch ESPN apps to view their content if I want. I also added News channels for $5. I got this primarily because I like to watch MSNBC. It is basically the main reason for even trying out Sling TV to be honest. I can watch MSNBC live via the FiOS website, but that is annoying. In fact, I can watch pretty much all of the channels that come with Sling in one way or another because of my Verizon FiOS subscription. Other $5 add-ons include Sports, Kids, Comedy, and Lifestyle. Various Premium Channel subscriptions are available as well.
So this brings up my next point….
Why Two Services?
Well, as I said at the very beginning, I consider Sling an add-on to normal television. Yes I have Verizon FiOS, and I love it. But… I don’t pay for boxes everywhere in my house. I don’t have a box in my basement, but I spend quite a bit of time down there because of exercise equipment. And I also don’t have a box upstairs in one of the offices in my house. As I said, I tend to watch MSNBC quite a bit, so Sling TV was the most user friendly avenue for streaming it. Another important factor which helped me to decide to subscribe to Sling is the fact that I could use it in my office at work as well. I have a small television there (but no cable service) and Sling had (and still has) a free Roku 2 offer going on. So I got a free Roku 2 for doing a 3 month prepaid service, That basically makes 2 months of the 3 free, so it was a great opportunity to give it a go.
If you don’t watch a ton of television, and the channels Sling offer fit what you enjoy watching I don’t see any reason why it couldn’t replace a traditional cable service. Just remember on demand is limited and some channels can get annoying due to the streaming aspect of the service. For example, MSNBC doesn’t show commercials but it plays the same music all day every day when there is a commercial break. That gets annoying quite fast.
Most channels included are available to stream from within their own channel apps, especially on the Roku. So if you already have an existing service such as I do and don’t care about having to switch between separate apps constantly you wouldn’t need to even consider getting something like Sling. Sling to me is more about ease of use than it is for me to get content I couldn’t view otherwise.
That all being said, I hope this helps to explain my experience with Sling Television so far.