Thursday, August 6, 2015

Sling TV Review (Alternative to Cable TV)

Cable TV bills getting you down? Need a cheaper alternative but don't want to give up your favorite stations and shows? Then do what I did. Try Sling TV and stream top-rated cable channels directly to your TV, computer, phone, or tablet for just $20 a month!
Sling TV Review - Alternative to Cable TV
My TV, my hand,  my Fire TV Stick screen, my Sling TV. Love it! 

Excuse me if I sound like a commercial, but I'm excited about this. We've never had cable TV at our house (we use an antenna), but we do have a Fire TV Stick which we use to stream movies, listen to music, and more. A couple of months ago I became aware of a service, an app really, called Sling Television that we could download to our Fire TV Stick to watch the cable TV channel that I was craving. Yes, I got the app primarily for one channel (TNT), to watch one show (Major Crimes), but the standard $20 monthly cost actually includes more than 20 stations including ESPN and ESPN2, the History channel and H2, A&E, the Food Network, HGTV, the Travel Channel, CNN, and more. What a deal!

We're talking 23 (at last count) LIVE cable television stations that you can watch for just $20 (plus tax) a month. You can also get HBO for $15 more a month, the Sports Extra, Deportes Extra, Kids Extra, Hollywood Extra, plus several other add-on packages for $5 each, but only if you want those channels. See the full list at the website.

Don't have a Fire TV stick or Fire TV? No problem! Play Sling through your Roku, Xbox One, Android or iOS device, your PC or Mac, or your Kindle Fire.

Since I use the app with my Fire Stick, I actually signed up via the app on Amazon and got a 14-day free trial (that offer is still in effect as I type this) and I pay, conveniently, a month at a time through my Amazon account. Oh, did I mention that there are no contracts? All I have to do is cancel if I change my mind.

So, how well does Sling TV work? For me, quite well. Navigation is easy. While the screen has frozen perhaps a couple of times, it's been rare. I remember once when the audio and video were horribly out of sync, but I just exited the app then went right back in and everything was fine. Obviously your mileage may vary depending on the device you're using and the reliability of your wi-fi connection.

Speaking as a non-techy person, I set this up myself and I'm the one who usually controls the remote, so that proves that it's easy to use. Is SlingTV a good choice for you? I don't know your needs, but for me, I can watch Major Crimes on Monday nights, plus a lot of other great shows, and I don't have a cable bill or a contract, so I'm happy. With the 14-day trial, you really have nothing to lose.

Where do I sign up for Sling TV?
Download the app on Amazon and you'll be eligible for the 14-day trial.  Learn more about the service and see the current line-up of shows on the Sling Television website, but you'll only get a 7-day trial if you sign up there. (Prices and terms subject to change.)

So tell me, do you have cable TV or do you use an alternative service such as Sling?

P.S. Update: It's been almost three months since I wrote this review and I'm enjoying Sling more and more. Between baseball playoffs and college football, I'm using it more and more, too.  

-- Susan Deppner

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12 comments:

  1. We have had Sling TV now for several months and it is truly a great choice for us and our home! I was so glad to get rid of the monthly cable cost, which also had it outages and was much more annoying than the frozen screen you mentioned. I attribute the "freeze" to my DSL and not to Sling. I recently changed my DSL to U-verse (another change based on cost) and we shall see if that improves. I can already tell you that we haven't had a frozen screen since that change, but I am not sure we have had long enough since that change to really know for sure. Sling TV allows me to stay in touch with the world and current news without the astronomical cost of cable. I have considered adding HBO to my line-up on Sling, but haven't had that need yet since I can still find plenty to watch between Sling, Amazon Prime and Netflix.

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    1. The cable outages are an excellent point, Cynthia, something that I hadn't thought of since we've never actually had cable TV. I hope U-verse works out well for you, too. There are so many options these days that nobody should feel that they absolutely have to have a cable contract. Thanks so much for your input!

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  2. Sling TV sounds like a good alternative solution for your household, Susan. I don't like cable contracts (or high fees), but do love my baseball, so don't know if I could go completely 'cable-less'. LOL.

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    1. There probably are channels that you'd give up, Elf, but check into the sports channel add-on with Sling. For us, it includes the SEC network and since that's our preferred sports division (go Razorbacks!) we may be adding that once football season starts. You may find some baseball alternatives available that would suit you as well. Wouldn't that be awesome?!

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  3. Sounds like an interesting alternative. Cable and Satellite rates are getting so high!

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    1. Everything is getting more and more expensive, Mary Beth. Viewing habits are changing, though, and the market is taking note of those habits (and budget cuts) and bringing us alternatives. I've very thankful for that.

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  4. This sounds wonderful! I would love to get rid of our exorbitant cable bill each month. First, I would have to figure out what to change my wi-fi to since right now it goes through our cable account. Going to do some research and see if it is something that we can do.

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    1. Hope you can figure it out, Bev. In fact, if you have questions, just ask @slinganswers if you're on Twitter. I just made contact with them today. I feel sure they can help.

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  5. You didn't mention anything about a DVR, so I'm assuming you can't record anything for watching later. That's a big part of my need for cable, because we have shows we like that conflict in time. Other than that, it sounds like a good system and thanks for the review.

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    1. True, Nancy, as far as I know you can't record the shows. However, some of the shows you can go back and watch later with Sling TV. (That was a bit much to get into in my review.) You might want to check out the website to find out what shows those are and to find out if that might work for you. Appreciate the comment!

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  6. I appreciate this review, since I didn't even know this existed. Our TV is ancient, and I'm not sure something like this would work for us. I can't get internet on it that I know of. I'm really low tech. Maybe we will look into this for the other house where we can't get cable. Might work with my Verizon tablet.

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    1. Yes, it might just work with your Verizon tablet. Again, check their website for answers to questions such as this one. If you have wi-fi in your house, perhaps you could get a Fire TV Stick, like I have, and use it there.

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