Sling TV is a much more expansive streaming video service than used to be, but it hasn’t gotten any easier to understand. If anything, Sling has become more complicated since last year’s launch, with two base packages instead of one, more add-on packages to choose from, and new restrictions that apply to some local and sports channels. Note: This story was updated on June 1 to include information about Sling TV’s optional cloud DVR service.
To make sense of it all, I’ve put together a chart that lists all of Sling TV’s channels and add-on packages. Below the chart, I’ll walk through some other things you need to know.
Sling TV channel guide
Sling Orange vs. Sling Blue
Sling Orange is based on the original $20-per-month package that launched last year. It only allows you to stream to one device at a time, but it’s required to access Disney-owned channels such as ESPN.
Sling Blue starts at $25 per month and allows streaming on three devices at once. While the channel lineup has some overlap with Sling Orange, it doesn’t include Disney-owned channels, and instead has offerings from Fox, NBC, and Viacom.
If you want to subscribe to both packages, Sling offers them a discounted price of $40 per month.
How do add-on packages work?
Once you’ve chosen a base package, you can tack on any number of Sling’s “Extra” packages, each of which cost $5 per month. (One exception: The “Sports Extra” package for Sling Blue, which includes NFL Redzone, costs $10 per month.) Premium channels including HBO, Cinemax, and Starz are also available as standalone add-ons.
Don’t miss our full Sling TV review
But here’s the tricky part: The channels in each add-on depend on the base package you’ve chosen. With Sports Extra, for instance, only Sling Orange subscribers can get ESPN channels, while only Sling Blue subscribers can get NFL Redzone.
Does Sling TV have DVR?
Yes, as an optional feature that costs $5 per month for 50 hours of storage. This feature is not available on every channel, however, and you cannot buy additional time. Some channels also support a feature called Replay, which lets you jump back and watch anything that aired in recent days. (The exact number of days varies by channel.) These channels also allow you to pause and rewind live programming. You don’t need to pay for the DVR service to get Replay.
How does on demand work?
Many Sling TV channels offer a selection of movies or TV shows to watch on demand. The availability of episodes, however, can be pretty inconsistent from one show to the next. You can’t rely on this feature as your only way to catch-up on a series. (Two exceptions: HBO and Cinemax offer their entire series catalogs on demand.)
Does Sling TV have live local broadcast channels?
Only in select markets, with select packages.
For Sling Orange subscribers, a Broadcast Extra bundle is available with ABC, Univision, and Unimas in Chicago, Fresno-Visalia, Houston, Los Angeles, New York, Philadelphia, Raleigh-Durham, and San Francisco.
With Sling Blue, Fox and NBC are available live in select markets. Check Sling’s support document for the full list.
In all other markets, Fox and NBC offer on-demand programming only.
How do regional sports networks work?
The Sling Blue package includes regional sports from NBCSN/Comcast SportsNet and Fox Sports (including YES Network in the New York area). The exact channels you get are tied to your billing zip code.
Does Sling TV have sports blackouts or other restrictions?
With regional sports networks and live local channels, you must be in that geographical area to watch the broadcast. Sling also warns that some games may be blacked out by the leagues due to rights restrictions. NHL Playoff games, for instance, were blacked out on Fox Sports channels earlier this year, because Fox did not own streaming rights for those games. (That particular situation may be resolved now that the NHL and Fox have come to a streaming agreement for pay-TV subscribers.)
NFL Network also has its own caveat: Thursday Night Football games are blacked out whenever they also air on NBC or CBS. Sling Blue subscribers that get NBC’s local feed can watch those games, but everyone else will have to watch on Twitter.
Also, a small number of channels—including A&E and Lifetime—don’t give you all their programming due to rights issues. Sling tries to replace these shows with alternatives, but it doesn’t always happen, so you might get a blackout or two per day on certain channels.
Any other questions? Ask in the comments or send me a note on Twitter.
Sign up for Jared’s Cord Cutter Weekly newsletter to get this column and other cord-cutting news, insights, and deals delivered to your inbox.
This story, “Sling TV channel guide: All the programming, and all the restrictions, all in one chart” was originally published by