Sling TV is currently the closest we’ll get to having à la carte TV. Instead of offering large channel packages, Sling TV divides channels between two smaller packages—Sling Orange and Sling Blue. Fewer channels means a lower price, but it also means deciding between channel favorites. It’s not quite like the all-you-can eat buffet, but it’s close.
If you can’t decide on just one package, you can also combine the two packages for a more expensive monthly price. Let’s weigh the pros and cons of each Sling TV package and help you decide which is your streaming soulmate.
Sling Orange vs. Sling Blue vs. Sling Orange + Blue
|Sling Orange||Sling Blue||Sling Orange + Blue|
|Cloud DVR||$5/mo. extra for 50 hrs||$5/mo. extra for 50 hrs||$5/mo. extra for 50 hrs|
|Compatible streaming devices||16||16||16|
|Free Trial||Free Trial||Free Trial|
Overall winner: Sling Orange
- Cheapest option
- Pairs super well with an antenna
- Has essential channels like AMC, ESPN, and TNT
It was a tough call, but we give the slight nod to the Sling Orange package. Sure, it has the fewest channels and simultaneous streams, but we just can’t ignore the cheap price, especially compared to a cable subscription.
If Sling Orange didn’t have vital channels like AMC, ESPN, and TNT, we would’ve recommended steering clear, but there’s enough here to make it worth $20. Besides the price, the biggest advantage Sling Orange has over Sling Blue is ESPN coverage. You don’t want to miss out on watching sports just because you dropped cable.
That being said, there are a few channels, like FX, USA, and Syfy, that Sling Blue has and Sling Orange doesn’t. At the end of the day, it really depends on your channel preference. We could live without Syfy (and the Sharknado movies) if it means we can get ESPN, but maybe you’re the other way around. Take a close look at the channel lineup, and decide what you can live with and can’t live without.
Pair Sling Orange with an antenna
Here’s the key to making the most of your Sling TV Orange package—get an antenna to go with it. The biggest thing Sling Blue has over Sling Orange is the inclusion of local channels like ABC, CBS, NBC, and FOX. Sling Blue may sound tempting with its local channels, but as it stands right now, Sling TV has the worst local network coverage of any other major streaming service. In other words, just because it says you’ll get ABC, CBS, NBC, and FOX doesn’t mean you’ll actually be able to pick them up in your area with Sling TV.
Enter the antenna. You’re pretty much guaranteed to get your local channels with an antenna, and as opposed to a streaming service, you don’t have to pay a monthly subscription to use it. Drop $30 once, and you’ve got local channels for life—or at least as long as broadcast towers are around.
With an antenna and Sling Orange’s powers combined, you’ll get your cable channels (ESPN, HGTV, and Food Network) with Sling TV and your local channels (ABC, CBS, NBC, and FOX) with your antenna. It’s a match made in heaven that makes for very inexpensive TV access
Best price: Sling Orange (but both are really good)
- Cheapest package out of all the top streaming services
There are a lot of other streaming services out there, like DIRECTV NOW, Hulu with Live TV, PlayStation Vue, and YouTube TV, but none of those ones offer a channel package as cheap as $25 a month. The cheap price is really Sling TV’s claim to fame.
Weighing out the two packages
When you pit Sling Orange and Sling Blue against each other in terms of price, it really depends on what you’re looking for.
If you’re sharing a subscription with other people, you’ll need Sling Blue’s simultaneous streams, which makes it worth the extra $5. If it’s just you and you can’t live without ESPN, you’ll need to go with Sling Orange. Either way, you’re getting a deal for streaming live TV.
Most channels: Sling Orange + Sling Blue
Out of all Sling TV’s packages, Sling Orange + Sling Blue carries the most overall channels with over 50 to choose from for $40 a month.
Is Sling Orange + Sling Blue at $40 a month a good deal?
We’ll put it bluntly—no. The combined Sling Orange + Sling Blue gets you a little over 50 channels for $40 a month. Compared to a DIRECTV NOW that gets you over 60 channels for $35 a month, or YouTube TV that gets you over 60 channels and unlimited cloud DVR included with your subscription for the same $40, Sling Orange + Sling Blue just doesn’t measure up.
Let’s put it this way: if overall channel count is the most important factor for you, we’d recommend going with a different streaming service (check out DIRECTV NOW). You can just get more channels for less elsewhere.
What channels do you get with Sling TV?
Channels are the most important factor when choosing a Sling TV package. Here’s a complete list of the Sling TV channel lineup across the different packages.
|Sling Orange + Sling Blue|
|Free Trial||Free Trial||Free Trial|
|A&E||LIVE / VOD|
|ACC Network Extra||LIVE|
|AMC||LIVE / VOD|
|AXS TV||LIVE / VOD|
|BBC America||LIVE / VOD|
|BET||LIVE / VOD|
|Bloomberg TV||LIVE / VOD|
|Bravo||LIVE / VOD|
|Cartoon Network/Adult Swim||LIVE / VOD|
|CNN||LIVE / VOD|
|Comedy Central||LIVE / VOD|
|Disney Channel||LIVE / VOD|
|El Rey Network||LIVE / VOD|
|ESPN||LIVE / VOD|
|ESPN 2||LIVE / VOD|
|Food Network||LIVE / VOD|
|Fox (Select Markets)||LIVE / VOD|
|FOX Sports Network (Select Markets)||LIVE / VOD|
|Fox Sports 1||LIVE / VOD|
|Fox Sports 2||LIVE / VOD|
|Freeform||LIVE / VOD|
|FX||LIVE / VOD|
|Galavision||LIVE / VOD|
|History||LIVE / VOD|
|IFC||LIVE / VOD|
|Nat Geo Wild||VOD|
|National Geographic||LIVE / VOD|
|NBC (Select Markets)||LIVE / VOD|
|NBC Sports Network (Select Markets)||LIVE / VOD|
|NFL Network||LIVE / VOD|
|Syfy||LIVE / VOD|
|TBS||LIVE / VOD|
|TNT||LIVE / VOD|
|TruTV||LIVE / VOD|
|Travel Channel||LIVE / VOD|
|USA Network||LIVE / VOD|
|Viceland||LIVE / VOD|
|Free Trial||Free Trial||Free Trial|
Our advice for watching sports channels on Sling TV
When it comes to watching sports on Sling TV, the package splits can be kind of cruel. On one hand, you’ve got all the ESPNs on Sling Orange, and on the other hand, you’ve got local channels and FOX Sports channels on Sling Blue.
In other words, to get the most sports channels, you have to get the combined Sling Orange + Sling Blue for $40 a month. And if you’ve been reading closely, you know how little we recommend that.
You can get creative, though. We would recommend going with Sling Orange, which is the cheapest option and includes ESPN, and picking up an antenna to pick up your local channels. That way you can catch Monday Night NFL Football (airing on ESPN) and other games on CBS and NBC.
You’ll miss out on FS1 and FS2, but those channels have more sports talk shows than anything else, so maybe you can sacrifice those programs and just listen to the podcasts later.
What local channels do I get with Sling TV?
When it comes to local channel availability, Sling TV is pretty weak compared to other streaming services. Here’s a breakdown of the local channel coverage you get with Sling.
|# of local affiliates||8||0||17||11|
As you can tell, those are small numbers. If you want to watch NBC on Sling TV, you have to hope you live in one of those 11 areas that offer coverage or get an antenna. To find out what local channels you can stream with Sling TV in your area, enter your ZIP code here.
Tons of add-on channels
Sling has one thing over all the other streaming services—the most channel add-on options. There are tons of channel add-ons (think mini channel packages) you can choose from for every Sling TV package. You’ve got Sports Extra, Comedy Extra, Kids Extra, News Extra, HBO, international channels, and a lot more.
There are slight differences in the add-ons, depending on what Sling package you pick. For example, the Sports Extra add-on with Sling Orange costs $5 a month extra and comes with ESPNU, ESPN News, and the SEC Network. On the other side, Sling Blue’s Sports Extra add-on costs an extra $10 a month and comes with NFL Redzone, the Golf Channel, and the Pac-12 Network. Both of these add-ons come with NBATV, the NHL Network, BeIn Sports, and a few others.
Make sure to check out the differences between the add-ons for each package before adding one to you subscription.
Cloud DVR: Draw
No matter what channel package you decide to go with, you’ll have the same option to add 50 hours of cloud DVR for an extra $5 a month. It’s a bit of a bummer that Sling TV requires an additional fee for cloud DVR, especially considering other streaming services like PlayStation Vue give you unlimited cloud DVR for free.
Even with the cloud DVR, Sling TV is still cheaper than other streaming services—but you get only 50 hours of storage to play with, so hopefully you’re okay with deleting stuff right after you watch it.
Simultaneous streams: Sling Blue
- You can have three simultaneous streams with Sling Blue
- You only get one stream with Sling Orange
Alright, so Sling Blue doesn’t have quite as many simultaneous streams as the combo Sling Orange + Sling Blue package, but we think it’s a better overall deal. Paying $15 a month more for one more stream really isn’t worth the money.
Sling Orange’s biggest knock is allowing for only one simultaneous stream, so you can’t really share a subscription with anybody else—which is terrible for families. Sling Blue jumps to three simultaneous streams, making it a much more realistic option for friends or family.
If you have a big family and need more than three, a different service like PlayStation Vue (with five simultaneous streams) is a better buy.
- Device compatibility is the same for each Sling TV package
Regardless of what Sling TV package you choose, the compatible devices will be the same across the board. Out of all the streaming platforms out there, Sling TV supports the most devices. From Apple TV, to Chromecast, to Roku, you can stream live TV with Sling TV.
Sling TV’s best package depends on what you’re looking for
We recommended Sling Orange as the best overall package (as long as you pair it with an antenna), but it really depends on what you’re looking for.
Take a close look at the channel differences between the packages, and select one based off of that. Whether you go with Sling Orange or Sling Blue, you’ll be streaming live TV at a pretty amazing price.
Now let us shoot you a few questions. Which package did you decide to get? What has your experience been like so far? Is there anything you’re missing in your package that you wish you had? Let us know in the comments below!