Sling TV Review: Is It Worth the Cost?

Sling TV has received more than a warm welcome by the TV viewers. Cord-cutters in particular rejoiced when they learned that they could now enjoy sports programming without a cable subscription. They welcomed it with open arms. Why wouldn’t they, it is cheaper and more convenient to use than the traditional cable television. Sling TV prided itself on being the first to bring live TV to the streaming audience. Since its launch, Sony has launched its own service PlayStation Vue, which too is offering live TV. Between the two of them, Sling TV is a lot cheaper. Not to mention the fact that Vue is available in a select few markets only. To be fair, in case of Sling TV  there is both good and bad going on, which we will discuss in detail here. But, there is no doubt that it has the potential to become a major player in the industry.

The Good

At $20, Sling TV offers 30+ channels to its subscribers. Subscribers can always add extra packs in accordance with their liking. A great thing about the service is that the users do not need to sign any contract with Sling TV. Cheaper and convenient, what’s not to like? But, the icing on the cake is that the sports lovers do not have to compromise in any way, when they cut the cord. They get their fair share of sports programming on Sling TV.

The service is compatible with a wide range of devices. It works well with most of the commonly used streaming devices and more. It works well with smartphones, laptops, desktops, smart TVs, and even gaming consoles. Sling TV is also compatible with Xbox One, Amazon Fire TV & Stick, Nexus Player, Roku, Google Chromecast, Macbooks, PC, and iOS and Android-supported devices. Needless to say, you do not have to worry about compatibility at all when it comes to Sling TV.

Sling TV offers a pretty simple interface to its users. All they need to do is launch the app and go to the channel that they want to watch. There is also a ‘What’s On’ tab that allows the users to pick from all the programs that are live. Most of the channels also have the rewind, fast-forward and pause buttons, which is nice. But, channels like ESPN and TBS, do not support this functionality.

Another amazing feature that you can enjoy with Sling TV is the 3-Day Replay. The name itself is quite self-explanatory. This feature allows the users to replay the programming that was available on some channels for up to three days into the past. There is another Sling TV offering called ‘Start Over’ which allows subscribers to watch a show from the very beginning. This is absolutely amazing.


The Bad

Buffering issues take the better of Sling TV. Even with relatively fast internet connections, it is not possible to enjoy an uninterrupted service on Sling TV. The buffering issue becomes a bigger problem during sporting events, when you do not want to miss out on sporting action, but you have to wait for the videos to buffer.

There is another functionality issue. If you are watching something, but try to switch to another programming, you are catapulted out of the app. This can be a big pain every time you wish to watch something else.

There is another issue faced by Sling TV users. The basic pack of Sling TV supports just one stream. What this means is that you can enjoy Sling TV on only one device at any given time. This may not be a huge issue for individual subscribers, but a complete letdown for families, when multiple members wish to enjoy different content on their own devices.

The customer service offered by Sling TV is not always appreciated. Then again, it is a new company and a work-in progress. For what it is worth, it is becoming better with time.

There is a lot of competition in the streaming market today and all the competitors are trying to differentiate themselves from the rest in one way or the other. They are either offering high quality or high quantity of content, or both. Many users feel that whatever they get from Sling TV, they can get it via other avenues as well. Then again, Sling TV is offering live TV, which is a big factor for many viewers.

The Conclusion

Sling TV is not exactly the new Netflix because its value proposition is completely different. The service is trying to be a head-on competitor to cable services. This means that you have to compare Sling TV’s offerings with cable services. You cannot compare the prices of Sling TV with Amazon Prime or Hulu Plus because these services are not offering you live TV, and are completely different from what Sling TV is.

So, the real question here is – does Sling TV fare well against cable services? And the answer is a resounding YES. The service is hardly 2 years old and it has made its presence felt. It is offering people all the features of a cable subscription, minus the mess. Not only this, they were the first internet-delivered service that brought in sports programming in the picture, which is a huge step forward for streaming services.

In terms of pricing, the service costs a fraction of what a cable connection costs. Not only this, you are getting the choice of a lot many add-on packages to take care of all your likes and dislikes. Sling TV is an interesting service that offers something unique to the cord cutters. There is a 7-day free trial available for you to test the waters. After that, at $20 a month, it is not a bad deal to get your live TV fix.