Since Sling TV has arrived on Xbox One, we thought we’d offer up some information for any perspective cord cutters out there. As with most technology related to watching TV, Sling TV is kind of confusing. So if you’re wondering what Sling TV is and how it works, read on.
What is Sling TV?
Sling TV is Dish Network’s Internet television service. It lets you watch a number of popular TV channels from a variety of devices.
How much does Sling TV cost?
Sling TV starts at $20 per month. Unlike most cable deals, there are no contracts involved, so you can cancel at any time without having to pay a fee.
We should also note that when you sign up online, you get a free seven-day trial period, during which you can cancel without paying anything. Also, Microsoft made a special deal for Xbox One owners with an Xbox Live subscription; they get a free month instead.
Which channels are included?
The basic “Best of Live TV” package has 17 channels at the moment. Here are the big ones:
- ESPN and ESPN 2
- Food Network
You can also tack on addition channel packages for $5 apiece. These packages are focused around the themes of sports, lifestyle, kids, news, and movies. You can see the full channel lineups here.
What notable channels are not included?
Popular channels that are not available on the service include all of the major broadcast networks (NBC, ABC, CBS, Fox, and The CW), as well as Comedy Central and premium cable channels like HBO and Showtime.
What devices are compatible with Sling TV?
The list of compatible devices is fairly extensive, and it’s still growing. Right now you can watch Sling TV on Windows and Mac computers, iOS and Android smartphones and tablets, Xbox One, Amazon Fire TV, and Roku devices.
If you don’t have any of those, you can check out the special offers page on the Sling TV website. There, you can get free or discounted devices for signing up and pre-paying for three months of Sling TV service. If you do that, you can get an Amazon Fire TV Stick or Roku Streaming Stick for free. Or, if you prefer a set-top box, you can get $50 toward an Amazon Fire TV or Roku 3.
How is Sling TV better than cable or satellite?
- It’s probably cheaper, depending on the cable package you’re comparing it to.
- There’s no contract, so you can cancel the service at any time with having to pay a penalty.
- You might already have a compatible device hooked up to your TV, which means you’ll have free space in your entertainment stand once you ditch your cable box.
- You can travel with it. As long as you have a compatible device on hand and a reasonably fast Internet connection, you can watch Sling TV.
- It has fewer channels, but the channels it has are good ones. No more scanning through hundreds of channels you never watch.
How is Sling TV worse than cable or satellite?
- Again, fewer channels. Although Sling TV may have every channel you watch, there’s a good chance it doesn’t have channels you want.
- It has very limited DVR-like functionality. On most of the popular channels, you can’t pause, fast forward, or rewind. You just have to tune into the shows you want and watch them live.
- A few channels allow a feature called “3 Day Replay” that lets you watch shows within three days of their air date. A smaller batch of channels let you watch shows that aired in the past seven days. Still, this limited functionality is a step below cable and satellite.