Apple TV 4: Watch Live TV with Sling TV

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Sling TV doesn’t offer an easy way to channel surf. Unlike cable TV, you can’t just press an up or down button on the remote to flip through channels. Given the fact that streaming live TV takes a few seconds to buffer, channel surfing would prove tedious. Sling TV has come up with a better solution — the On Now screen.

Sling TV On Now Screen

This screen displays every show that is available now, grouped by categories such as sports, kids, lifestyle, comedy, drama, news and everything. You can click on any show to start watching. A progress bar displays how much of the show has already played. You can start some shows from the beginning, even if you tuned in late. While this feature doesn’t make up for the lack of a DVR, it makes it easier to watch shows from the beginning. After all, our lives shouldn’t revolve around the TV schedule.

The Guide screen is my most frequent destination. It’s a complete channel guide, with a scrollable channel list on the top. Clicking on a channel displays current programming in addition to on-demand options. You can click on the channel a second time to start the live feed. Clicking on the current show will also start the live feed.

Sling TV Guide Screen

Sling TV is constantly and rapidly improving. The Sports screen was added just before my free trial expired. The screen displays sports broadcasts and shows grouped by sport — baseball, basketball, soccer, tennis, cycling. Sport categories change depending on the season. The Sports Show category displays live and on-demand sports commentary shows. The Games category displays live sports that are currently available. People usually watch sports live and it’s a major advantage of subscribing to Sling TV. The Sports menu makes it easy to follow your favorite sport.

Although Sling TV is well-organized, sometimes it’s easier to search for TV shows. The search screen presents the standard tvOS search interface. Search criteria can be entered using the on-screen keyboard or Siri dictation. Sling TV keeps a list of recent search terms, making it easy to use the search screen as a shortcut to content. This list can be easily deleted. It’s a convenient search feature that I haven’t seen in any other tvOS app.

Sling TV Search Screen

The Settings screen provides access to Sling TV’s configuration options and support. Users can sign out of their Sling TV account from this screen. Parental controls offer a quick passcode-protected mechanism for keeping mature content away from children. Users experiencing problems with Sling can get the support website URL, software version, app version and enable debug logging. These latter features may be used by customer support to help troubleshoot problems.

Sling TV Settings Screen

The coolest feature of Sling TV’s settings is their support for adjustable bandwidth. Sling TV offer four different quality settings: Best Quality (no limit), High Quality (2.8 Mbps), Medium Quality (1.2 Mb/s), Low Quality (0.8 Mbps). Although Sling will automatically adjust to bandwidth conditions, this is feature is extremely useful if you have a data cap. It’s also great if you use Sling TV on your smartphone. Remember — one Sling TV subscription can be used on multiple devices. (continue…)

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