I was very excited when Dish Tv announced Sling TV, which is their, and the only real answer to people who want to watch LIVE TV, and don’t want an expensive cable or satellite contract, or who are like me and just don’t have access to the options for various reasons.
I live out in the country, miles and miles away from any town, so cable TV isn’t an option for me. Satellite is too expensive, and I dislike 2 year contract agreements which are required for satellite TV.
Free Over The Air tv is also another option I don’t have. I live too far away from any TV Towers that it’d be way too expensive to get a reliable signal out here.
I always preferred Live TV. There is something special about having random shows playing. Not only does it provide awesome background noise, but it also lets you find new shows and such. Also I love watching live news, so CNN is an awesome option to have.
My previous set up was I’d download seasons upon seasons of TV shows, and I’d play them in shuffle mode, which would simulate live tv since most of the channels are old reruns hours after hours anyways.
Which is why I was super happy when I first heard of Sling Tv several months ago.
At first, Sling Tv was nice. I very much enjoyed having live TV again. However, within a month it got very old. The same select channels reairing the same thing over and over again.
The Desktop App is actually pretty nice, and the IOS App is pretty much Identical. They both work the same and are pretty simple and easy to navigate. I have had no problems with the apps themselves. They do as they are designed.
All the video streams seem very High Definition Quality. The videos look sharp and clear on my High Resolution monitors and iPhone 6 Plus. The shows only buffer for a second or two before popping up in HD, which is a drawback from satelite and Cable, but isn’t a real issue at all.
There is a big problem with Sling Tv especially with CNN (CNN is the only channel I leave up for hours of the time because its the only channel to ever have new content it seems), Sometimes after watching for as little as 30 minutes, the Audio and video becomes out of sync, and then actually starts skipping around stutter, before it just freezes. This is very annoying because the only way to fix it is to change the channel, or close and reopen the App. Sure, this isn’t much of a problem if you’re watching VIA an entertainment box such as Ruku, and have a remote to easily do this, but my entertainment setup consists of my computer that has two large monitors. I use the main monitor for computer work, and the second for media watching. There is no remote, other than some IOS apps I have that control my mouse and such, so it’s a huge headache just to simply change the channel due to bugs, or close and reopen Sling APP. Perhaps this won’t be a huge problem for most people.
Both the iOS, and Desktop apps have controls for rewind and such, which seem to not work with any of the channels I tested them all. It’s not really functionality I care about, so its not a huge deal.
Sling TV Desktop App
Sling IOS App Horizontal
Sling IOS App Vertical
My entire problem with Sling TV is just there is never anything to watch. With the limited amount of channels, you’ll quickly be watching reruns over and over, unless you like watching CNN 24/7. This certainly isn’t worth the $20-30 monthly fee, unless you prefer watching the same shows over and over.
So far HLN is my favorite offering, surprisingly, mainly due to Forensic Files, which seems to air 20 hours out of the day, and the problem with Forensic Files is they only made like 20 Episodes it seems because you’ll often be watching the same ones every other day.
Morning Express with Robin Meade on HLN is actually pretty good news show and entertaining. I usually don’t care for these types of shows, the hosts/anchors always seem weird and fake, but this lady seems to have a great personality, and the show is surprisingly nice and entertaining to watch.
I should point out that HLN isn’t including in the normal $20 package. You’ll have to pay $5 extra for the News Package.
My subscription is up to be renewed for another month within the week. I’m seriously debating just cancelling it. While I like being able to watch some TV whenever (which i deeply miss from the old Cable TV days), there just isn’t enough value in Sling tv due to lack of actual content, which I do understand is an issue with TV over all – So many channels and nothing to watch. Sling doesn’t fix this issue.
What would make Sling TV more valuable for me is more channels, such as a Learning/Educational Addon that consists of Discovery Channel, TLC, National Geographic, History, etc. Which would be a dream come true. It’s just currently, I don’t care for constant old reruns of Friends, Forensic Files, Charmed, and Married with Children.
Alot of people seem to be put off by the fact that you can only stream one Sling subscription per device, and not multiple devices simultaneously. Meaning you can either watch Sling on your phone, Ruku, or computer, not all 3 at the same time.
I know more valuable content will be added in the future. AMC is soon to be added to the selection. So it’s only a matter of time for other channels. The great thing about Sling is you can cancel, and resubscribe any time you like.
Right now I can Sling being most valuable for people with kids, or huge sports junkies. Kids can watch Cartoon Network, Disney Channel all they want for a low price, and Sports Junkies have their ESPN Fix.
If you have a set up like I do (desktop, IOS, etc), I suggest using Remote Mouse app to control your mouse from your couch, bed, or however and where ever you are. I believe Remote Mouse is a paid app, but you can often find it here for free. I personally found it worth the few bucks. There are also several free alternatives that work well.
Update: March 28 2015 –
Since I wrote this article, Sling has added several more channels, such as more news channels, AMC, Tru TV, and most importantly History Channel and History 2. Now I am very happy with Sling. Much more content, much more to watch.
History channels are especially cool because you can go back and watch anything that has aired in the past 3 days, and pause the live TV.
I will create a review soon to reflect this change. Sling is well worth the money now.