Sling TV Review: Is $20 A Month Worth It?

Are you ready to cancel cable or ditch that expensive DirecTV subscription you’ve been over paying on for years? If so, Sling TV is for you, and it’s only $20 a month with no contracts. Nearly five months ago after being announced in January, Sling TV was officially released. The first complete internet-streaming TV service aimed at replacing traditional cable and satellite TV.

So what is Sling TV? It is an internet TV service from Dish that offers the most popular, most watched essential TV channels to an array of connected devices with no contracts for only $20 a month. Then users can get more than the basic 23 channels for a few more bucks, and it’s absolutely worth it.

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Read: Sling TV First Impressions

Sling TV lets you watch a collection of live TV including ESPN and On-Demand movies all online on your Xbox One, Amazon Fire TV, Fire Stick, Nexus Player, Roku, Mac, PC, as well as both Android and iOS without a regular cable subscription. Read on for our quick review on whether or not Sling TV, for $20, is worth it.

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I used to have Cox Cable and bundled my internet and phone into a premium package all for $160 a month, and I had over 1,500 channels I never watched. Give me some movies, popular TV shows, ESPN for my favorite sports and HBO, and I’m set. Add in Netflix, and there’s nothing else I need.

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That’s exactly what I’ve been doing for the past five months since Sling TV was released. Rather than pay an overpriced cable provider for a bundle of channels you’ll never use, Sling offers all the basics in one easy solution for multiple devices. Here’s why I think it’s worth at least trying.

Sling TV Review Summary

My Sling TV video below will give you a quick glance at nearly everything Sling TV has to offer for $20 a month with no contracts required, show you a few extra channels and features (like pause and rewind) while giving you a feel for what it offers on connected devices, and Android or iOS.

In short, Sling TV is for individuals who don’t want to sign contracts and be locked into paying huge monthly bills for hundreds of channels they’ll never watch. You get 23 channels of internet-streamed actual live TV for $20 a month, and can add on tons more for only $5 for each package. It works great and I love it, even if it has a few things that could be improved.

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What I Like: ESPN & HBO without cable. That’s all I need. TV you can watch virtually anywhere. At home, on my computer, or on the go with my favorite Android or iOS device. It’s cheap, there’s no contracts, and I get the few channels I actually want to watch, without paying for hundreds I don’t need. $20 a month, $5 add-ons for more content, and it’s extremely fast with no buffering or loading.

What I Don’t Like: The few downsides are you don’t have DVR capabilities, pause/rewind is limited to a select few channels, you can only watch TV or movies on one device at a time, and it doesn’t have as many options as traditional cable.

Bottom Line: The bottom line though, is Sling TV delivers just enough to make it absolutely worth $20 a month. It’s a blend between Netflix and cable, has plenty of content for the price, works on tons of devices, and if you don’t like it, just cancel. There’s no contracts, so there’s no risk.

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Before we get started though we want to mention that you need to look at Sling TV for what it’s worth. It won’t have everything, or the most options in the world, but it offers an excellent package of popular TV all for a low price. Basically appreciate what it has to offer, based on the price vs some of the cable companies around the US. That, and it isn’t Comcast!

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Sling TV delivers 23 channels for $20 a month, then for $5 more you can add on tons of additional packages that will get you up to nearly $80 a month for everything, including HBO, but most users will only need 1/3 of that to be satisfied. Above is the core package for $20 with no contracts, which is good enough for most. Being able to enjoy two ESPN channels, AMC (Better Call Saul), TNT, TBS, CNN, Food Network, Adult Swim, ABC Family and a few more all without a cable subscription is awesome. My favorite aspect is being able to watch ESPN anywhere, even on my Android smartphone or tablet. I can’t wait for College football season.

However, if that core package isn’t enough for you, or you’d like more options, you can add-on additional packages. HBO is $15 a month, Sports is $5 with a decent selection for college football and more, Deportes Extra for Spanish users, Kids gets you tons of Disney and more for $5, and even a $5 Hollywood pack offers TCM, four EPIX channels and more which is all movies. Then world news, lifestyle and more.

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These packages don’t offer a lot for $5, which is kind of a let down, but then again most users don’t need or want to be scrolling through 150 channels. It’s the basics, the popular stuff, all for a low price.

Then of course we have Movies. This is one of a few areas I’m not a fan of. While Sling has a great selection of popular, classic, and new release movies, they’re overpriced. Being $3.99 for SD, and $4.99 for HD movie rentals. This is more than Redbox, so I typically don’t rent movies on Sling. But at least the option is there for those who’d like to.

As we stated in our video review above a lot of the add-on packages have pause and fast forward, but most don’t. There’s also no DVR capabilities either. This is something that we’d like to see in the future, along with multi-device streaming. My biggest and only real complaint is Sling TV can only be enjoyed on one device at a time. Try to stream on two, and one will shut off.

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There are currently no plans to offer multiple users for one account, but paying $5 more a month for two lines of streaming would be perfectly acceptable, and hopefully becomes an option in the future. Another issue which isn’t Sling’s fault, but Amazon, is you can’t rent movies on Sling using the Amazon Fire TV or Stick. Amazon wants you to use their services, so that aspect is disabled. However, to get around that I’d rent a movie on my smartphone, Roku 3, or Nexus Player, then find it in my watchlist. That was only an issue because the Roku 3 is in my bedroom, while the Fire TV is in my living room.

After sampling Sling TV for five months on an iPad, Android smartphones and tablets, Roku 3 and the Amazon Fire TV I’m extremely impressed and will continue to pay my $45 a month for a few add-ons and HBO. The overall interface is slick and lag-free, there’s no loading or buffering, and it’s a great overall experience.

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The design is pretty straightforward and simple across all platforms. You have a channel guide on the bottom, and a quick tap or scroll will switch channels. You can even browse ahead in the day to see what’s on, and even pause some channels, all while your current show (even another channel) is playing in the background. I can keep watching ESPN while I search for a movie to rent for the night, and more, all with ease. I also enjoy being able to watch movies from earlier in the day on EPIX, on demand. All said and done though, it’s the mobile aspects I’m enjoying. Again, I can’t wait for College Football and watching ESPN from my smartphone without a cable subscription. That’s a key aspect of Sling.

Sling TV doesn’t have movie or show reminders, nor can you add your favorite channels to the front of the list. There are a few areas that need improvements, but overall, for $20 a month, Sling TV is a must try. At least for a few months to see if you can live without 1,500 channels and DVR, in order to save tons of money.

If you’d like to try Sling TV right now, they’re offering a free 7-day trial, and those with an Xbox One get it free for an entire month. Two months in I canceled cable and rely on Sling or Netflix, and I’m just fine.

Final Thoughts

In closing, Sling TV delivers ESPN, some great TV and movies, and HBO all for only $35 a month with no contract. That’s what I originally was using, but have recently added a few more channels with the Hollywood package for all the EPIX movie channels. Sling TV is my gateway to sports on Android, without cable or a 2-year subscription. That alone is enough to try it in my opinion.

Sling TV has a great foundation, room to grow and improve, and is the first step to taking control back of TV and loosening the grip cable providers have over everyone. If they can continue to improve the little things, add more content, and allow multiple devices to stream at once, there’s no stopping Sling TV. It is a must try, especially for only $20 a month.