Cord Cutting Guides, News, and Reviews
Who doesn’t love a good skinny streaming bundle? You will likely be happy with the local and regional content you can get with a service like Sling TV, but the way the service handles locations can be frustrating.
But since when do cord-cutters accept limitations? Once you know how to change your location on Sling TV, you’ll have access to all your favorite content at home and on the road. Let’s take a look at how Sling TV locations work and how you can unlock the full Sling TV experience.
With Sling TV’s skinny bundles, you get a variety of local broadcast stations and regional sports networks. The selection isn’t as broad as with some competitors (a drawback we noted in our Sling TV review), but there’s still plenty of content on Sling TV tailored to your location. Most of Sling TV’s content is available anywhere in the United States, but you can access these local and regional channels only from inside their respective markets. Don’t blame Sling TV — it doesn’t have the rights it needs to show those channels anywhere else.
Sling TV uses your internet protocol (IP) address to determine your location. In some cases, it may also use your mobile device’s location services (GPS and nearby Wi-Fi networks). Sling TV doesn’t use your home address when determining which channels you can access or record, which means things work a little differently than when we tried to change locations on Hulu + Live TV and location-shift on YouTube TV. (Both services ask you to provide an address or ZIP code to use with your home location).
Your Sling TV billing address used to be important if you wanted content from the Sling Broadcast Extra package, but the company did away with that program in 2018, so your billing address no longer impacts the content you can view.
The location rules for Sling TV are very simple.
These rules are great if you want to access local content in your current location, but they don’t give you any ability to view your hometown content while on the road. If your favorite team is playing while you’re away from home, these rules could prevent you from watching them crush the competition. International travelers have it even worse since they can’t access any Sling TV channels until they come back to the United States.
If all you want is the ability to record your hometown content while on the road, there may be an easy solution. The Sling Blue plan gives you the ability to stream on up to three devices at once and provides 50 hours of free DVR storage, so you can always keep one device at home set to record your favorite local programs and events. Sling Orange users will have a harder time with this method, though, since that plan allows you to use only one device at a time.
Since Sling TV’s location is primarily based on your IP address, there’s a more general solution available. Getting around Sling TV’s location rules is just a matter of changing your IP address, and the easiest way to temporarily change your IP address is with a virtual private network (VPN). Many cord-cutters already use a VPN to access geo-restricted content on services such as Netflix and Disney Plus, and the process for Sling TV is exactly the same.
Not every VPN will be able to trick Sling TV. Every streaming service has its own way of detecting when people are using VPNs. Many services keep a list of known VPN IP addresses, for example, so you may want to pick a VPN service with a large number of servers, in case Sling TV starts blocking them.
VPNs with more servers also typically have more locations. Sling TV doesn’t have international content, so you need to worry only about a VPN’s U.S. locations. Make a list of the regions where you want access to local channels and find a VPN with servers in those locations. Definitely include your hometown in case you want to keep track of shows or sports while you are away from home.
Most VPNs limit your device count, and they don’t always have apps for each of your devices. To get around those limitations, you may want to consider installing a router VPN so all your devices are protected by a VPN and all your devices can access Sling TV in your chosen locale.
A VPN will handle IP-based location, but some people have reported Sling TV using a device’s location services — especially GPS — to verify an IP’s location. GPS location is harder to spoof, and the process for fixing it varies depending on the type of device you are using.
Let’s start with the easiest options. Some devices, such as Roku, don’t have location services, so you shouldn’t have to worry about those. If you are using Chrome, you can change your GPS location using Chrome developer tools.
Mobile devices are harder. Your iPhone GPS location can only be spoofed if you “jailbreak” the device, which voids your warranty and can be dangerous if you aren’t familiar with the process. Android users have it somewhat easier since you can download an app that lets you change GPS locations. Both jailbreaking and location-spoofing apps can introduce security vulnerabilities, so be cautious if you decide to go either of those routes.
Because it relies primarily on IP-based location, it’s easier to change your location with Sling TV than with some other streaming services. A good VPN should be all you need, and that’s far simpler than trying to change GPS locations. If Sling TV notices you are using a VPN, you shouldn’t have to worry about any major repercussions. Generally, they just ask you to turn it off to continue using the service.
Sling TV isn’t particularly aggressive about blocking VPNs, so any of the best VPNs will likely give you access to the local content you want to see. NordVPN has an excellent track record with Sling TV, and it has thousands of servers to choose from. Its money-back guarantee gives you a low-risk opportunity to see whether it solves your Sling TV location needs.
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