Sling TV is the best live TV service for budget cordcutters

first_img No No No 2:44 What makes Sling TV tricky is that there are essentially two main plans for the same $25 price: Sling Orange and Sling Blue. They share many of the same channels (like CNN, History and TNT) but other channels are exclusive to one or the other. Sling TV Blue is essentially the Fox and NBC option, while Sling Orange is the ESPN/Disney package.  Sling is also the only live TV service to offer a bunch of add-on channel packages. You can pay $5 or $10 monthly for packages like Sports Extra, Comedy Extra, Hollywood Extra, The Best of Spanish TV and more. The channels in each vary depending on whether you have Blue or Orange, and some channels (like Animal Planet and Fox News) are missing completely, but between its Extras and multiple base packages, Sling offers more ways to customize your channel lineup than any of its competitors. Check the chart at end of this article for all of the Top 100 channels Sling offers. It’s a condensed version of complete list of Top 100 channels offered by every service. 06-sling-tv-screenshotsThe Sling TV guide Sarah Tew/CNET Of the two $25 tiers, I like Sling Blue best. It has more channels than Orange and allows up three people to watch different streams at once. Sling Orange only allows one stream at a time. To add to the complexity, you can combine the two Blue and Orange services for $40 a month, but if you’re paying that much YouTube TV is a better option — easier to use, more channels and with a more generous DVR. Sling stays inexpensive by eschewing most local channels. The Blue package has Fox and/or NBC in a handful of major cities but doesn’t include any ABC or CBS stations. The Orange package offers no local channels, period. As any cord-cutter knows, local channels are also available via over-the-air antenna. The cheapest, clunkiest way to watch locals as a Sling subscriber is to just connect an HD antenna to the back of your television. The next method, and Sling TV’s preferred solution, is for you to buy the $120 AirTV OTA streamer. The AirTV connects to an antenna and your network and streams the missing local channels via the Sling TV interface, integrating them right into Sling’s program guide and other areas. Other OTA DVRs are available too, although no others feed into Sling’s interface. img-4107The $120 AirTV feeds local channels into Sling TV’s program guide. Dan Ackerman/CNET What’s it like? As far as the Sling TV experience is concerned, it’s pretty good. The menus are clean and uncluttered, particularly on the Apple TV version. There you get a choice of My TV, On Now Guide or Sports, However there are still things it could do better, for example the Sling logo takes up half of the Apple TV screen, and while it’s a placeholder for show information I’d prefer to see more shows at all times. If the screen could slide up when you select a show and down when not needed that would be better. The Roku interface offers more information at once including further menu options On Demand and Rent. 04-sling-tv-screenshots Sarah Tew/CNET Navigation is zippy, and it was easy to find the content I wanted to watch — and record, with the $5 DVR option, of course. With the multiple discovery screens, including the main My TV screen, there were plenty of options even when I didn’t know what I wanted. My only main issue with the service was with the DVR. First off, you can’t record anything at all on the ESPN and Disney channels. It’s not always clear which channels you can’t DVR, and sometimes when time-shifting a live program you’ll come across unskippable, undefeatable ads. You just have to wait them out. On some recordings I had a better experience — for instance I was able to fast-forward on recordings of Discovery without issue. Should you subscribe? While you can save some money with AT&T Watch TV ($15) or Philo ($20), it’s worth spending more on Sling TV, especially the Blue package. The experience is better overall, zippier, and it offers more channels. It’s not perfect, but it’s a decent cable replacement, and it should save you a chunk of change in the long term. Just be sure to have a local channel contingency in place before you start.  The chart below compares channels on Sling to its two budget rivals. “Yes” means the channel is available on the cheapest pricing tier, “No” means the channel isn’t available at all on that service and “$” means the channel is available for an extra fee, either a la carte or as part of a more expensive package or add-on. Products and services are independently chosen by our editors. CNET may get a share of the revenue if you buy anything featured on our site.See it at Sling Yes No No $ Sling Orange ($25) No No $ $ No No No $ Yes Yes $ No $ No Nicktoons No Yes No No • Best laptops for college students: We’ve got an affordable laptop for every student. Best live TV streaming services: Ditch your cable company but keep the live channels and DVR. No No Newsy Golf Channel CBS Sports Network $ Yes* No Yes No No No Sling Blue ($25) No Fox Sports 1 $ No Yes No No No No Yes $ $ $179 No No Yes Comments No Yes Yes Yes No BBC America $ IFC $ No No Yes No $ No Disney Junior Yes Cinemax NBC Sports Network No Share your voice Yes No No Yes $ No Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Apple TV 4K Cord Cutters (OTT) Yes No Yes Now playing: Watch this: MLB Network Destination America No Yes Budget live TV services compared No Lifetime No ESPNews AT&T Watch TV ($15) Cheddar Yes Yes No Yes Yes A&E No ABC Yes No No $ $ $ CNBC Crutchfield No Yes Yes No FX Movie Channel Aug 31 • Verizon vs AT&T vs T-Mobile vs Sprint: Choose the best 5G carrier No See It PBS No DIY No Yes Cooking Channel $179 $ $ $ Yes No Yes See All No No Yes 39 Yes No Channel No Review • Apple TV 4K review: The best TV streamer keeps getting better Yes Yes No No No $ $ Yes* No No No Yes Oxygen No Yes $ 18 Motor Trend $ No Yes No Yes Yes No Philo ($20) No Bravo No Yes Yes Yes TLC No No No No Yes Yes No No No No No Yes MSNBC No $179 Yes Yes BET Starz No FX No FXX CNET may get a commission from retail offers. No No TruTV Yes No No $ No No No Freeform TCM TNT Yes Yes No $ SEC Network No TVs Media Streamers Disney Channel 24 Yes No Fox Sports 2 No No No No Yes No $ $ Yes $ No Yes No $ Sarah Tew/CNET The wild world of live TV streaming services, which are designed to replace cable TV by letting you stream live channels over the Internet, is in a constant state of flux. The big names are all increasing the prices of their plans, removing or adding large chunks of programming, or in AT&T’s case, creating three different versions of its live TV streaming service. Amid all of the turmoil there’s one service that sticks out as a potential oasis for the budget-conscious cord-cutter: Sling TV. Sling TV may be the oldest such service, but with some savvy updates and a low price, it is still the best if you want to save money. It may not have the most flashy interface — especially on the desktop or Roku — but the service is dependable and offers a lot of channels and myriad choices for your $25. The downside is that Sling TV’s worst enemy is itself. It’s complicated to pick a plan and there are a couple of hidden costs and gotchas in there as well — like the $5 charge for the DVR. And if you want a full slate of local channels (ABC, CBS, Fox and NBC) you’ll have to augment Sling TV with an over-the-air antenna or choose a more-expensive alternative like YouTube TV (Note that CNET is a division of CBS).  Despite some of its shortfalls and numerous competitors, Sling TV remains the most powerful budget service and is the best value service overall. Sling TV earns the CNET Editors’ Choice for the best budget live TV streaming service. What is it?05-sling-tv-screenshots Sarah Tew/CNET While we cover what kind of services Sling TV offers in depth here, in short it’s a selection of channels, streamed over the internet, for a monthly fee. Sling streams to TVs via media streamers, smart TV systems (LG and Samsung) and game consoles (Xbox One), as well as to phones, tablets and computers — no cable box required.  Sling TV was the first of its kind, having debuted in 2016, but it now has a bunch of competitors at different price points, including Hulu with Live TV, YouTube TV, PlayStation Vue, DirecTV Now, AT&T Watch TV, Philo and Fubo TV. For ease of categorization, I’ve separated them into budget (under $40) and premium (over $40) services. Sling TV is therefore a budget service, alongside AT&T Watch TV ($15) and Philo ($20).  No No No No $ Hallmark $ Paramount Network Yes Nick Jr. $ Yes Travel Channel Yes No TV Land Yes Yes No No No Yes reading • Sling TV review: The best budget live TV streaming service Yes No HLN Yes No $ Yes Yes $ Yes Sundance TV Apple Investigation Discovery Yes Aug 31 • Your phone screen is gross. Here’s how to clean it Yes $ No Yes $ Telemundo Fox Lifetime Movie Network Yes No $ See It Yes Yes No No $ Yes CW Yes No Yes $ No No *Fox and NBC available in select cities only on Sling Blue. Big Ten Network Yes $ USA Network Yes No MTV2 Yes No Yes No No $ No EPIX FYI Nat Geo Wild Best Buy No Yes No Comedy Central TBS No $ Disney XD No No No No No 39 No VH1 No Yes No No Yes No NBC No No No Yes $ No No NHL Network No $ Nickelodeon No $ $ $ No Yes Yes Smithsonian Yes Fox Business No Yes Weather Channel No OWN $ Yes Yes No National Geographic $ No No No Boomerang Yes No No $ $ No Yes $ Yes Aug 31 • iPhone 11, Apple Watch 5 and more: The final rumors No No Yes No Showtime No Live TV streaming services for cord cutters: How to choose… Yes $ Yes No Yes Apple Yes Yes Yes No ESPNU E! History Univision CMT Viceland No Syfy No No CBS Yes Tastemade No WE tv Yes No No No Tags No Yes Yes No $ $ No BBC World News Bloomberg TV No Science Yes Tennis Channel Yes No Yes No Total channels: No No No No Animal Planet Yes Yes No $ $ No Yes No $ No Yes No $ Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes $ Yes MTV Yes $ No No No ESPN Yes Discovery Channel See it Cartoon Network Yes $ No See It Yes Yes MyNetworkTV Preview • Apple TV 4K: New $179 Apple streamer adds HDR, better gaming $ Yes No No Yes No Yes No $ Yes Mentioned Above Apple TV 4K (32GB) Yes 37 No No No No Apple NFL Red Zone CNN $ No No Yes HBO Food Network NFL Network Fox News Yes Aug 31 • iPhone XR vs. iPhone 8 Plus: Which iPhone should you buy? Yes Yes NBA TV No AMC Yes No HGTV Yes $169 No ESPN 2last_img

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