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Although Sling offers an excellent user interface, it’s also a bit inconsistent. I can pause live TV on some channels, but not on others. The absence of a DVR feature makes it impossible to record shows. Coupled with the weak on-demand offerings, Sling TV is intended for viewing live TV. Furthermore, the tvOS app is a little quirky. Although I like the design better than any cable or satellite box I have used, it’s not perfect. From day one, I’ve noticed some annoying defects. Live TV will sometimes randomly jump back to a bit of previously broadcasted content. Sometimes the buffering progress circle will remain on the screen, even when the show is playing smoothly. Although Sling TV offers HD video, it can often take a few minutes before the program appears in HD. Sling TV only offers 1 stream per subscription, unless you pay more or select the Multi-Stream subscription.
Users cannot subscribe to Sling TV with an App Store in-app purchase. This means that you can’t pay for the Sling subscription using discounted iTunes gift cards. I pay for other subscriptions with gift cards, and save up to 15%. Furthermore, this also means you can’t cancel the auto-renewal easily through the iTunes Store. Customers must enter their credit card information to use the 7 day free trial. Sling TV offers an easy way to cancel the subscription online, and you can do this before the trial expires, while still using the service.
Sling TV is a useful service, but it’s hardly a cord-cutter’s dream come true. At $20 a month, it’s hard to expect everything. Sling TV is a good value. Despite its deficiencies, Sling may hit the spot for many cord-cutters. After all, they offer AMC with their basic package. Purchasing one season of The Walking Dead on iTunes costs over $40. The fact that one can subscribe and cancel Sling TV instantaneously makes it flexible. You might not need Sling TV all the time.
- 25 to 36 channels of live TV for $20/mo
- limited on-demand content
- inexpensive add-on packages
- HD quality
- video quality scalable by bandwidth
- excellent user interface
- low cost, great value
- works on multiple platforms with 1 subscription
- parental controls
- free 7 day trial
- limited on demand options
- missing major networks — NBC, CBS
- some channels can’t be paused
- some channels can’t start show from beginning
- no DVR
- can’t subscribe through App Store in-app purchase
- not as reliable as cable
Now that we’ve looked at the pros and cons of Sling TV, let’s take a look at the Sling TV channel lineup.
Sling TV Channel Lineup
Sling offers a variety of popular cable and satellite channels in its basic package. Users can add up to 65 channels by subscribing to various add-on packages. Sling TV offers two basic packages for $20. The “Best of Live TV” package offers 27 channels and one stream. This means that only once device can use Sling TV at a time. The “Best of Live TV – Beta Multi-Stream” package offers 36 channels and multiple streams for the same price as the “Best of Live TV” package. (continue…)