Sling TV: Dish Network’s Answer for Cord Cutters

Internet & TV, Utilities
Sling TV: Dish Network's Answer for Cord Cutters

Sling TV, a streaming service from Dish Network, is a great stepping stone for people who want to cut the cord, but aren’t ready to give up live television or beg for cable passwords.

The service starts at $20 per month, with no contracts, fees or installation required. Best of all: You can live stream NFL games and “The Walking Dead,” so you’re never a day behind. Sayonara, spoilers!

» MORE: Best Streaming TV Services

Sling TV packages

Sling TV has two primary packages: Sling Orange and Sling Blue. Both include a variety of channels for live viewing for a set monthly fee. No hidden fees and no contract or cable login required. You can also combine the packages to get all 50 channels for $40 per month.

sling_television

  • Sling Orange
  • Price: $20 per month.
  • What’s included: Live streaming of more than 30 channels, including ESPN, AMC, CNN, Comedy Central and TBS.
  • Who it’s good for: ESPN loyalists and HGTV fanatics.

Get Started at Sling TV's site
sling_television

  • Sling Blue
  • Price: $25 per month.
  • At a glance: Live streaming of more than 40 channels, including FX, USA, the NFL Network and Bravo.
  • Who its good for: Football buffs and network TV devotees.

Get Started at Sling TV's site

 

Add-ons

Sling users can add channel bundles to their package. Options range from a sports package with a dozen extra channels to a collection of top Spanish-language channels to a premium channel subscription.

Premium channels include:

  • HBO: $15 per month
  • Cinemax: $10 per month
  • Starz and Starz Encore: $9 per month

Most add-on bundles are $5 per month, on top of your monthly Sling package, but some international options are $10 to $15 per month. Click on the bundles listed below to see details on price and channels included.

An extra $5 per month on Sling Orange or $10 per month on Sling Blue and Sling Orange + Blue.

Channels included when added to Sling Orange:

  • beIN SPORTS
  • Campus Insiders
  • ESPN Bases Loaded
  • ESPN Buzzer Beater
  • ESPN Goal Line
  • ESPN News
  • ESPN U
  • Motors TV
  • NBA TV
  • NHL Network
  • Outside TV
  • PAC 12 Network
  • SEC Network
  • SEC Network+
  • Univision Deportes

Channels included when added to Sling Blue:

  • beIN SPORTS
  • Campus Insiders
  • Golf Channel
  • Motors TV North America
  • NBA TV
  • NFL Red Zone
  • NHL Network
  • Outside TV
  • PAC 12 Network
  • Univision Deportes

Channels included when added to Sling Orange + Blue:

  • beIN SPORTS
  • Campus Insiders
  • ESPN Bases Loaded
  • ESPN Buzzer Beater
  • ESPN Goal Line
  • ESPN News
  • ESPN U
  • Golf Channel
  • Motors TV North America
  • NBA TV
  • NHL Network
  • NFL Red Zone
  • Outside TV
  • PAC 12 Network
  • SEC Network
  • SEC Network+
  • Univision Deportes

Add the following channels to your Sling TV package for an extra $5 per month.

Channels included when added to Sling Orange:

  • BabyTV
  • Boomerang
  • Disney Junior
  • Disney XD
  • ducktv
  • Nick Jr.
  • NickToons
  • Sling Kids
  • Teen Nick

Channels included when added to Sling Blue:

  • BabyTV
  • Boomerang
  • ducktv
  • NickToons
  • Sling Kids
  • Teen Nick

Channels included when added to Sling Orange + Blue:

  • BabyTV
  • Boomerang
  • Disney Junior
  • Disney XD
  • ducktv
  • Nick Jr.
  • NickToons
  • Sling Kids
  • Teen Nick

Add the following channels to your Sling TV package for an extra $5 per month.

Channels included when added to Sling Orange:

  • CMT
  • GSN
  • Logo
  • MTV
  • MTV2
  • Spike
  • truTV
  • TV Land

Channels included when added to Sling Blue or Sling Orange + Blue:

  • CMT
  • GSN
  • Logo
  • MTV
  • MTV2
  • Spike
  • TV Land

Add the following channels to your Sling TV package for an extra $5 per month.

Channels included when added to Sling Orange:

  • BET
  • Cooking Channel
  • DIY
  • FYI
  • Hallmark Channel
  • Hallmark Movies & Mysteries
  • Lifetime Movie Network
  • VH1
  • Vibrant TV
  • WE TV

Channels included when added to Sling Blue or Sling Orange + Blue:

  • Cooking Channel
  • DIY
  • E!
  • FYI
  • Hallmark Channel
  • Hallmark Movies & Mysteries
  • Lifetime Movie Network
  • Oxygen
  • VH1
  • Vibrant TV
  • WE TV

Add the following channels to your Sling TV package for an extra $5 per month.

Channels included when added to Sling Orange, Sling Blue or Sling Orange + Blue:

  • EPIX
  • EPIX 2
  • EPIX Drive-In
  • EPIX Hits
  • HDNet Movies
  • SundanceTV
  • Turner Classic Movies

Add the following channels to your Sling TV package for an extra $5 per month.

Channels included when added to Sling Orange:

  • BBC World News
  • Euronews
  • France 24
  • Fusion
  • HLN
  • NDTV 24×7
  • News18
  • RT Network
  • TheBlaze

Channels included when added to Sling Blue:

  • BBC World News
  • CNBC
  • Euronews
  • France 24
  • HLN
  • MSNBC
  • NDTV 24×7
  • News18
  • RT Network
  • TheBlaze

Channels included when added to Sling Orange + Blue:

  • BBC World News
  • CNBC
  • Euronews
  • France 24
  • Fusion
  • HLN
  • MSNBC
  • NDTV 24×7
  • News18
  • RT Network
  • TheBlaze

Only available on Sling Orange and Sling Orange + Blue packages. Add the following channels for an extra $5 per month.

  • ABC
  • Univision
  • Uni Mas

Add the following channels to your Sling TV package for an extra $5 per month.

Channels included when added to Sling Orange:

  • AZ Cinema
  • AZ Clic
  • AZ Corazón
  • Azteca
  • BabyTV Español
  • Bandamax
  • beIN SPORTS
  • beIN SPORTS en Español
  • Cbeebies
  • Cine Sony
  • Cinelatino
  • De Película
  • De Película Clásico
  • ESPN Deportes
  • FOROtv
  • Galavisión
  • INTI Network
  • NTN24
  • Pasiones
  • TeLe-Romantica
  • TeleFórmula
  • Telehit
  • UniMás
  • Univision
  • Univision Deportes
  • Univision tlnovelas
  • Zee Mundo

Channels included when added to Sling Blue:

  • AZ Cinema
  • AZ Clic
  • AZ Corazón
  • Azteca
  • BabyTV Español
  • Bandamax
  • beIN SPORTS
  • beIN SPORTS en Español
  • Cbeebies
  • Cine Sony
  • Cinelatino
  • De Película
  • De Película Clásico
  • FOROtv
  • Galavisión
  • INTI Network
  • NBC Universo
  • NTN24
  • Pasiones
  • TeLe-Romantica
  • TeleFórmula
  • Telehit
  • UniMás
  • Univision
  • Univision Deportes
  • Univision tlnovelas
  • Zee Mundo

Channels included when added to Sling Orange + Blue:

  • AZ Cinema
  • AZ Clic
  • AZ Corazón
  • Azteca
  • BabyTV Español
  • Bandamax
  • beIN SPORTS
  • beIN SPORTS en Español
  • Cbeebies
  • Cine Sony
  • Cinelatino
  • De Película
  • De Película Clásico
  • ESPN Deportes
  • FOROtv
  • Galavisión
  • INTI Network
  • NBC Universo
  • NTN24
  • Pasiones
  • TeLe-Romantica
  • TeleFórmula
  • Telehit
  • UniMás
  • Univision
  • Univision Deportes
  • Univision tlnovelas

 

Sling TV offers a handful of other bundles, with Chinese, Italian and Hindi channels, among others.

Compatible devices

Forget set-top boxes and waiting days for cable installation. Sling TV simply requires a smart TV or compatible streaming device. Chances are you already have one of these in your home.

  • Apple TV
  • All Amazon FireTV players
  • Android TV
  • Chromecast
  • Roku
  • Xbox One
  • More

You can also stream Sling TV on most iOS and Android devices, as well as Mac laptops running Lion 10.7 or newer and PCs running Windows 7 or newer.

Sling TV cost comparison

On the surface, Sling TV is an affordable cable alternative. That advantage can fade when you factor in add-ons like HBO or Sports Extra.

Consider the following scenarios:

A Sling Blue package with Sports Extra is $35 per month and includes more than 50 channels. DirecTV Now, a similar streaming service, offers more than 60 channels for the same price.

While the DirecTV Now plan includes ESPN and, in select markets, ABC, it does not include specialty channels such as the NFL Network or NBA TV, as Sling Blue does.

Better Value: DirecTV Now (unless NFL Network is a must-have)

A Sling Orange package with HBO is $35 per month and includes more than 30 channels. By comparison, Comcast’s Digital Starter cable plan is $49.99 for the first year and comes with more than 140 channels, including local networks such as ABC, CBS and NBC. HBO is an additional $15 per month.

All told, a year of Comcast Digital Starter with HBO would be roughly $780. That doesn’t include monthly taxes and fees or the one-time installation fee, which can range from $10 to $50 or more, depending on where you live. A year of Sling Orange with HBO: $420, no additional taxes or fees.

Better Value: Sling TV

A Sling Orange + Blue package with HBO is $55 per month and includes more than 50 channels. DirecTV Now’s “Live a Little” package with HBO is $40 per month and includes more than 60 channels.

Better Value: DirecTV Now

The bottom line

Sling TV is a great option for television minimalists who want to go cable-free without ditching live television. The base package includes several ESPN channels to satisfy sports lovers. And multiple add-on options let you tailor your service to your needs. Just be careful — those add-ons can add up quickly.

Kelsey Sheehy is a staff writer at NerdWallet, a personal finance website. Email: ksheehy@nerdwallet.com. Twitter: @KelseyLSheehy.