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Customize your channel lineup and make TV uniquely yours
8.4 / 10  Review Rating

Sling TV first came out back in 2015. It feels like ages in the fast-moving world of streaming TV. Live TV streaming services have changed a lot since Sling TV debuted — and Sling TV has changed along with them. Many changes involve features, and Sling TV has more than ever. Sling TV’s channel lineup has shifted, too. And there have been changes in pricing, though the cost of a Sling TV subscription hasn’t gone up as steeply as the prices of some other services. That all said, let’s take a closer look at the latest version of the original live TV streaming service in our Sling TV review.

Is Sling TV Worth It?

Sling TV has added a few things, including an updated Roku TV app and the ability to get local channels in some markets. But despite some changes on the margins, the core of Sling TV remains: It’s got decent pricing and a great channel lineup that’s easy to customize.


What to Watch: Once you get Sling TV, don’t spend your time scrolling through endless content. Instead, check out our list of the best shows and movies on Sling TV right now to get straight to the good stuff!


Sling TV: A highly customizable cable alternative.


  • Customizable bundles
  • Streamlined Roku app
  • Offers some local networks


  • Local networks only in select markets
  • Frame rate issues persist

Five Reasons to Choose Sling TV

  1. You want live TV for less than cable costs
  2. You want to customize your TV package
  3. You want foreign-language channels
  4. You want live TV without a contract
  5. You want to bundle premium networks like Max with a TV package

Sling TV Video Review

What Is Sling TV? What Does Sling TV Do?

Sling TV is focused on offering live TV. That means live network channels — the same ones you remember from cable or satellite. We're talking about networks like AMC, HGTV, ESPN, and so on. The whole point of Sling TV is to get channels like this without having to pay through the nose for cable.

Sling TV's browser app
Sling TV's browser app

That’s the main appeal of Sling TV, but like any good live TV streaming service, it also has a DVR that allows you to record your favorite shows and watch them later. There’s on-demand content worth watching as well.

What to Watch on Sling TV: What Channels Are on Sling TV?

Sling TV has plenty of channels. I was particularly impressed with the sports lineup, which rivals fuboTV’s sports-centric lineup. I got all the big national sports channels (including ESPN, FS1, and NBCSN), plus some regional sports networks (RSNs) and plenty of smaller networks with coverage of foreign sports, college sports, and more. Sling TV’s RSN selection isn’t comprehensive, but that’s just about the only thing I could find to complain about in the sports department.

Sling TV’s base bundles — “Sling Orange” and “Sling Blue” — offer 30+ and 40+ channels, respectively. However, it’s easy to start with either base bundle (or both) and add on “Extras,” which are themed packages of add-on channels. A big part of Sling TV’s appeal is that it allows its customers to customize their TV packages.

Sling TV on Roku during our review testing
Sling TV’s channel bundles include Sling Orange and Sling Blue. This screenshot shows Sling TV’s Roku app.

Sling TV used to be devoid of all major networks, but that has changed a bit as of this review. If you live in select markets, you can get a local feed of FOX or NBC. If you live in a market like New York or Chicago, you can get both NBC and FOX. The key is that NBC or FOX is available only in markets where the respective networks both own and operate their affiliates.

CBS is one of the biggest channels missing from Sling TV’s lineup. I certainly would have liked to see those included, but the Sling TV channel lineup is otherwise very strong. ABC is also included in most of its packages.

Sling TV’s channel lineup is the main thing that has changed over the years, but it has also made some quality-of-life improvements since we first reviewed the service. In particular, Sling TV has gotten better at helping sports fans find their favorite teams’ games. It’s also something that competitors like DIRECTV and YouTube TV have also gotten much better at. It’s a key design choice that significantly improves the app for a key group of cord-cutters.

Sling TV Features and Specs: Streaming Quality, Sling TV Devices, and More

Sling TV’s streaming quality is in line with that of most other live TV streaming services. There are some frame rate issues (which we’ll talk about below), but the app support is wide-ranging and impressive. Sling TV’s feature set is strong, too, though its cloud DVR is not unlimited.

Sling TV DVR: Recording on Sling TV

With Sling TV, you get up to 50 hours of free cloud storage on the Sling TV DVR. If that’s not enough, you can upgrade to 200 hours for $5 per month. Learning to use the DVR is pretty simple.

For this review, I recorded and watched a couple of episodes of “House Hunters.” Those recordings included commercials. Even if I watched them on demand, I still had to watch commercials. While services like Hulu have a little timer in the corner that lets you know how much longer the ads will last, there’s nothing like that on Sling TV. That made it harder to figure out if, for instance, I had enough time to run to the kitchen and make a quick snack. I quite liked the cloud DVR on a basic functional level, but the commercial breaks were a pain point.

Sling TV App: What Devices Can You Use With Sling TV?

Sling TV was the first skinny bundle to hit the market when it debuted back in 2015, and it has had plenty of time to build out solid apps for all of our favorite platforms and devices. So it didn't surprise me to find that platform support remains a strong suit for Sling TV: It has great apps available for Roku, Fire TV, Android TV (including Sling TV's own AirTV device), Apple TV, iOS, Android TV, and various web browsers.

Sling TV on iOS
Sling TV on iOS

For this review, I put Sling TV through its paces on a wide range of platforms: Roku, Fire TV, iPhone, iPad, Chromecast, and two browsers (Chrome and Firefox).

Sling TV Streaming Quality

Sling TV streams in HD, but not 1080p HD — the livestreaming video here generally tops out around 720p. That's typical of most live TV streaming services (though there are exceptions, like YouTube TV).

More of an issue is the frame rate. Sling TV tops out at 60 FPS, which is just fine with me, but it doesn't always get to that maximum, which is less fine. For things like live sports, 60 FPS is pretty important.

Still, to the naked eye, I think that Sling TV's streaming looks pretty solid. You shouldn't expect breathtaking 4K, but I think you'll be satisfied as long as you're not the sort of person who always has to have the latest and greatest thing in picture quality.

I found loading times to be pretty quick and streaming to be very smooth. Lag time is significant — it's at least a good 30 seconds in most cases — but that's part of the deal with these live TV streaming services. Just watch out when you’re watching sports, because logging on to Twitter might spoil the next big play!

Using Sling TV: What We Learned From Our Sling TV Review Testing

Sling TV recently updated its Roku app, and the changes are most noticeable on the guide screen, which isn’t as old school anymore. The grid is still there, but the channel highlighted is more pronounced somehow. It pops off the screen more, as if Sling TV really wants you to have no doubt whatsoever about what channel you’ve selected.

Using Sling TV on Roku during our review testing
Using Sling TV on Roku

The Sling TV home page is more streamlined and a bit less repetitive now. There’s slightly less information on the home page, which is useful in some ways. In an earlier review, we noted how it’s easy for your favorite channels to dominate every row on the home page. Now, the “Trending” category is the first one you see on the home page, and that may or may not have anything to do with your favorite channels. Below that are “Recommended for You” and “My Channels,” so there is some repetition, but the “Continue Watching” option is farther down, so it doesn’t seem like your most-watched channels are quite as crammed together as they were in the previous version of Sling TV.

Sling TV's channel guide in the browser app
Sling TV’s channel guide as seen in the browser app

The separate tab for live sports is gone in this update. You can get there by scrolling to “Browse Categories” and selecting “Sports,” but if you’re a sports fan, you won’t automatically find it on the home screen anymore. For sports fans, that’s a definite bummer, since that easy-to-find tab was one of the top reasons to get Sling TV. It’s still relatively easy to find live sports, but not as easy as it was before. But this applies to the Roku app only; you can still find the “Live Sports” tab when watching Sling TV through a web browser.

Sling TV Plans, Pricing, and Value: Is Sling TV Worth It?

Sling TV's pricing offers impressive value. Sling TV's base bundles cost $40-$45 per month or $60 per month when combined. That’s an increase of $5 from the last time we reviewed the service, but those are still good prices: Among live TV streaming services, only Philo can measure up to these, and that's because it deliberately leaves out pricey channels like ESPN (which Sling TV has).

Of course, price isn’t everything. Sling TV’s base bundles have a channel count lower than that of YouTube TV or DIRECTV. That’s by design, of course. The idea is that you can add extra bundles to build a customized plan. However, it's worth noting that the per-channel price isn’t necessarily Sling TV’s selling point. Where Sling TV has its competitors beat is in its ability to tailor bundles to your appetite. Spending $45 for 48 channels is a great deal if those 48 channels are the only ones you really want.

Verdict: Should You Subscribe to Sling TV?

Sling TV has changed its look on Roku TV, but it’s still one of the cheaper live TV subscription plans. In fact, Sling TV remains your cheapest option if you want a live TV service with sports and news channels (if you don’t, then Philo is your best bet).

The lack of major networks used to be a big negative on the Sling TV scorecard, but the addition of major networks NBC and FOX in some markets certainly helps. Sling TV also encourages you to get an antenna and tune into local channels for free. That may or may not be a good option for you, but Sling TV’s pricing and content make it a solid choice either way.

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23 thoughts on “Sling TV Review

  1. Karen says:

    The biggest downfall to Sling in my opinion is the lack of the Discovery channels. I just purchased three Rokus and returned all of Comcast’s equipment. When looking at the streaming choices, no Discovery channels ruled Sling out at the get go.

    I’ve opted for the DirecTV Now service and after two days, so far, so good.

  2. Stephen Lamb says:

    I should’ve waited until I read your review before signing up for Sling. I can’t get ABC unless I pay $5 extra for an add-on package. No CBS and the video on NBCSN is not 60 fps so fast sports like hockey look crummy. I canceled. Will probably go back to DirecTV Now. Just tired of waiting for the DVR.

    1. says:

      DirecTV Now launched the DVR last week!

    2. Anonymous says:

      cbs all access has a live feed plus on demand and is only $6 a month. we get that cause we can’t always get cbs being rural

  3. Leah White says:

    I also miss the local channels, but also Animal Planet.

  4. Mike says:

    Direct TV Now, aka AT&T TV Now, just raised their price to $60 per month for the cheapest package to get Discovery channel. I am considering Youtube TV as it looks to have even more channels and is still at $50 per month. Could you do a review of YouTube TV?

    1. Stephen Lovely says:

      Hi Mike, you can read our review of YouTube TV here:

  5. John says:

    Sling TV sounds great, but is there a way to record programs to watch later (DVR)?

    1. Stephen Lovely says:

      Yes, Sling TV does have a DVR — you’ll have to add it on for few more bucks, though

  6. Arkady Khachinsky says:

    Absolute scam. After reviewing and trying there channel selection cancel immediately no more then 30 min. They refused to refund the money. Do not fall for 30 day free trial. The second the get your credit card they WILL CHARGE it. They WILL NOT ISSUE REFUND.

    1. Anonymous says:

      Are you talking about sling

  7. enderby says:

    I had sling a year ago but canceled it because of buffering on all devices. I had bandwidth allocations on all devices and a 300mb connection. Internet speed or bandwidth was not the issue. Went to Hulu and the buffering issue immediately disappeared. Unfortunately Hulu changed its lineup so I needed an additional service. That, with price increases this year, basically raised the price for me 40%. In one year! Hulu might as well be Time Warner (the “we’ve changed our name to Rectums” people).
    Going to try Youtube next. I liked Sling except for the buffering, but I would want a free trial to see if they have truly fixed the horrible buffering issue on live sports.

  8. Karen says:

    You said you would not pick Sling for your parents so then what would you pick.
    We are in our 70’s and use computer, and iphones but don’t want something that will be confusing or frustrating.

    1. Stephen Lovely says:

      Right now, I’d say YouTube TV and Hulu are the easiest to use and the most straightforward in how they’re priced and structured. I’d recommend one of those if you’re looking for a relatively simple sort of live TV service. Thanks for reading!

  9. Bruce T says:

    I’d actually recommend Philo TV!! $20 a month and 59 (that’s right 59!) cable channels for ONLY $20 a month and that includes unlimited DVR. We cancelled Sling TV after their recent price increase when they added Fox News, CNN HLN and MSNBC channels. We don’t watch any of those news channels anyway so we switched to Philo TV and love it!

  10. S Smart says:

    I absolutely ABHOR SLING after 2 months of trying to trouble-shoot with them and having wasted hours watching shows that we recorded only to find they quit halfway through and then having to purchase on iTunes to watch the ending. SLING and APPLE TVs do not get along and SLING’s response is always that it is Apple’s fault. We’ve NEVER had a problem with any other streaming service on our AppleTVs. I went thru all of their laborious scripted trouble-shooting to try to overcome the ‘bad data’ on DVR – never any effort on their part – always on ours. We went back to PHILO and have never been happier.

  11. Anderson says:

    The best is BCE Premium TV. We are using it for a long time. Over 100 Premium Sports Channels ( Sky Sports, BT Sport, Bein Sports, Fox Sports, NBCSN, TSN, ESPN, … ) only $20/month or $85/year. just search “BCE Premium TV” on Google you will find it easily.

  12. Donna Savage says:

    BEWARE!!!!! Does’t work on all equipment. Canceling instructions are not clear. Charged my account and would NOT REFUND.

  13. Souvik Bhattacharya says:

    Do not subscribe to Sling TV if you care your money. They will add an unavoidable commercial which will force you to miss your favorite show. YouTube is much better and more loyal; if you are paying you don’t have to see the commercials. Customer care do not resolve the issue but rather disconnect the call. Never seen such unprofessional attitude from any other company.

  14. Abel says:

    I got Sling tv and it was a bad decision. I signed up and was supposed to get ten hours free of the DVR and didn’t, so I started paying $5.00 a month the get. Then noticed that I was supposed to get it free. I customer service and they had me on hold for over an hour.
    Had to call back just to tell that they can’t give a credit or reimburse.
    This company has the worst customer service I ever had to deal with.
    I will cancel my subscription with them.

  15. Penn Payne says:

    I have no cable and no TV provider. I use Roku with YouTube TV. YouTube TV just cancelled The Tennis Channel. As a tennis fan, The Tennis Channel is the only thing that I want to add, although I am willing to pay for additional sports channels if that’s what I have to do to get the tennis. I already get the major networks and ESPN on You Tube, so Sling looked like a decent option, but reading the review and the customer service complaints make me very wary of signing up even for a “free” trial. What is the best option?

  16. mbug says:

    it went from ok t absolutely unwatchable… the changes made this week are making me cancel…. it cant be watched on my laptop and i have ms 10 and they just changed it and its pizelated no matter the video quality you chose… they changed the whole look with n way to customize.. dvr doesnt show where you are in the recording. in a 22 min show they add 13 mins of commercials. when you open the dvr recordings, when you have multi episodes they have them stacked with the most recent episode on top and there is no way to scroll to the bottom to watch them in order. they stacked all of there nonsene on the top of the page, where before it had a tab of my tv, and you could just scroll to the channel you are looking for. there are places on the page where there is no way to scroll to navigate the pages!!!!! i will be cancelling .. so pissed at the changes and lack of them caring about fixing any of it

  17. Debbie says:

    I have been canceling sling for 4 months now 4 automatic withdrawals
    They are still charging my account !
    I CANNOT afford it any longer I have done on line cancellation every time never to a human I will cancel Again on line
    Unless anybody knows another way to stop this please
    Write back in this comment section

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