If you’re looking to ditch cable but want to hang onto some of your favorite local TV channels and premium networks, Sling TV sounds like a good option for you. Only requiring an internet connection to operate, Sling TV keeps you connected to your must-have channels without the need of a monthly cable subscription.
Known for its inexpensive set of basic subscription options, Sling’s reputation as a trailblazer has since been overshadowed by a deluge of competition. But even with recent price increases that have brought it within $15 per month of some of these expensive options, Sling TV remains one of the best values for cord-cutters. To help simplify everything Sling has to offer, we put together a comprehensive, hands-on evaluation so you can see if it’s right for you. From packages to features to add-ons, here’s your guide to Sling TV.
Sling TV: What it is and isn’t
Dish Network would still be happy to sell you 250 channels for $85 per month, and it doesn’t intend for Sling TV to replace full-blown satellite service or cable. Instead, it hopes to meet the needs of cord-cutters (those who quit cable) or cord-nevers (those who never had it), who can’t get everything they want from traditional streaming sites like Netflix and Amazon. That’s what makes Sling TV’s inclusion of sports networks like ESPN and NFL Network so attractive — live-streamed sports are hard to come by outside of a contract. They’re even harder to come by without paying if you don’t own a digital antenna, but you now have many competing options to help you keep up.
Sling TV’s selection of channels was lean to start, but it is regularly being beefed up, and the channels it does offer (listed below) are fairly popular. The service also offers video-on-demand from a handful of the channels it offers, as well as movie rentals. Best of all, Sling TV requires no signup fee, no contract, and you can test it out with a one-week free trial before fully diving in. One big change in recent months is the removal of the Broadcast Extra add-on, which included ABC and Univision, both of which account for a large chunk of American programming.
Below, you’ll find charts for each of the base Sling TV channel packages, followed by a listing of the channels included in add-on packages starting at $6. The number of available channels for each package has grown and changed over time and is likely to continue expanding and changing into the future, but our guide is regularly updated as things change. Listings here are up to date as of June 2021.
Included in the $35-per-month Sling Orange package
Included in the $35-per-month Sling Blue package
A quick glance at the above listings shows major differences in the list of channels included with each package option. Sling Orange includes multiple sports channels, most notably a suite of ESPN channels including ESPN, ESPN 2, and ESPN 3. Sling Blue, on the other hand, drops the sports but adds in networks like FX and Discovery, plus Fox and NBC in select markets. Each package can be upgraded with a Sports Extra add-on, but each add-on is different. The Sports Extra add-on for Sling Orange subscribers costs $5 per month and includes football, baseball, basketball, and hockey coverage on ESPNU, ESPNews, SEC Network, NHL Network, and NBA TV. Meanwhile, the Sports Extra add-on for Blue costs $10 per month, giving you access to NHL Network and NBA TV, but also NFL RedZone, a virtual must-have for football fans.
Included in the $50-per-month Sling Orange and Blue package
If you’re looking to keep costs low, you’ll have to pick between the two above options. Luckily, for those who don’t mind paying extra, there’s a third option, Sling Orange and Blue, which includes all the channels from both Orange and Blue packages for $50 per month. It’s a bit more expensive, to be sure, but you won’t have to decide between live sports on ESPN with Orange or network streaming with Blue.
Sling TV offers a number of ways to stay connected with your favorite local TV stations. Choices range from free services to paid add-ons. Under the free tier, users have access to AirTV, an HD antenna add-on that sends your favorite local channels to your preferred mobile device, and Locast, a user-supported service that delivers free local channels in select markets.
For an additional cost, Sling users can download CBS All Access and Peacock to take advantage of whatever affiliate stations are tethered to CBS and NBC towers within proximity.
Sling TV offers several add-on packs to bolster your channel list, most of which include multiple stations. These cost $6 to $11 per month, though some premium add-ons like Showtime are a bit more expensive. Below are all of the packages currently available. Remember that some packages differ depending on which color of Sling TV you choose, though if you subscribe to both Orange and Blue, every channel from each package will be available. Some channels are truly à la carte, as you can subscribe to them without a base Sling TV package.
It’s also important to state that these packages can update and change from time to time, so be sure to double-check Sling TV’s website.
Sports Extra (Orange), $11 per month: NBA TV, ESPN SEC, ESPN SEC+, PAC 12 Network, ESPNU, ESPNews, NHL Network, BeIN Sports, MLB Network, MLB Strike Zone, Tennis Channel, Longhorn Network, ACC Network, Outside TV, ACCNX.
Sports Extra (Blue), $11 per month: RedZone NFL Network, NBA TV, NHL Network, MLB Strike Zone, NBC Golf, BeIN Sports, PAC 12 Network, FS2, Olympic Channel, Big Ten Network, Outside TV, Tennis Channel.
Cheddar Business and Cheddar News, free: Both Cheddar Business and News channels are available to all Sling TV subscribers at no extra charge.
Comedy Extra (Orange), $6 per month: MTV, truTV, Paramount Network, MTV2, CMT, Logo, Revolt, GSN, TV Land.
Comedy Extra (Blue), $6 per month: MTV, MTV2, CMT, Logo, GSN, TV Land, Paramount Network, FeTV, Revolt.
Kids Extra (Blue), $6 per month: Nicktoons, TeenNick, Boomerang, BabyTV, Duck TV.
News Extra (Orange), $6 per month: BBC World News, HLN, Euronews, News18, CGTN, NewsmaxTV, RT Network, Law & Crime, WeatherNation, Science Channel.
News Extra (Blue), $6 per month: Fox Business, MSNBC, CNBC, BBC World News, France 24, Law & Crime, HLN, Euronews, News 18, NDTV 24×7, RT Network, CGTN, WeatherNation, Science Channel.
Lifestyle Extra (Orange), $6 per month: VH1, Oxygen, Cooking Channel, DIY Network, FYI, Hallmark Channel, Hallmark Movies & Mysteries, Hallmark Drama, WE TV, Lifetime Movies, ZLiving Network.
Lifestyle Extra (Blue), $6 per month: VH1, Oxygen, Cooking Channel, DIY Network, FYI, Hallmark Channel, Hallmark Movies & Mysteries, Hallmark Drama, WE TV, Lifetime Movies, ZLiving Network.
Hollywood Extra, $6 per month: Fandor, Reelz, HDNET Movies, Sundance TV, TCM.
Heartland Extra, $6 per month: World Fishing Network, Sportsman Channel, Outdoor Channel, Ride TV, RFD TV, PixL, Cowboy Channel.
Best of Spanish Extra, $10: EstrellaTV, Azteca, BeIN Sports Ñ, BeIN Sports, Cine Latino, Cine Sony, History en Español, Pasiones, INTI, CBeebies BBC, VME Kids, NTN24, Baby TV Español, El Financiero Bloomberg TV, ZeeMuno, ¡Hola! TV, Discovery en Español, Discovery Familia.
À la carte add-ons
Sling TV also offers free shows and a la carte subscription channels to Roku users.
CuriosityStream, $3 per month: Includes over 1,500 documentaries on science, tech, nature, and history.
UP Faith & Family, $5 per month: Includes a number of family-friendly movies, animated series, and TV series.
Pantaya, $6 per month: Large selection of Spanish-language films.
Stingray Karaoke, $7 per month: Includes more than 10,000 karaoke songs to choose from, with lyrics displayed on video backgrounds.
Dove Channel, $5 per month: Offers more than 300 hours of family-friendly movies, TV shows, musicals, and documentaries.
Outside TV Features, $5 per month: Includes TV series, feature films, and documentaries focusing on the world of action and adventure sports.
Starz, $9 per month: Starz, Starz West, Starz Edge, Starz Comedy, Starz Kids & Family, Starz Encore.
Showtime, $10 per month: Showtime, Showtime West, Showtime 2, Showtime Show