Sling TV Review: Blue vs Orange Comparison and Guide

Many folks who are tired of the endless hassles and rising costs of traditional cable providers are saying goodbye for good. Recently, cord-cutting has become more and more popular, with many streaming services springing up to offer viewers all the entertainment of live television without the many headaches of cable.

Sling TV is one of the leaders of this cord-cutting revolution. Sling is a live television streaming platform that lets viewers stream the best of network television, live sports, and classic shows on various devices through downloadable apps.

The features that Sling has to offer make it a great alternative to traditional cable. With Sling, you’ll be given more flexibility to watch only the shows that are relevant to you without paying for channels you never use.

So many streaming services now exist that it is important to do a bit of research to make sure you are getting the perfect platform for whatever your viewing needs may be. Let’s take a deeper look at what makes Sling TV so special and why it may be the right fit.

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Sling debuted in 2016 as a subsidiary of Disk Network, becoming the first streaming service of its kind. They set a trend that was quickly adopted by other companies looking to get on board with the millions of cord-cutters that have ditched their traditional cable providers to start fully streaming content via the internet.

Sling is a subscription service for streaming live television, giving you the same channels like ESPN, CNN, and Lifetime that cable has to offer, but without the costly and annoying contracts, high monthly fees, and rental equipment.

With the rise of popularity in streaming services like Netflix, Hulu, and Disney Plus, the model for original content creation has changed. People want to be able to ‘binge’ shows, meaning they do not want to wait once a week for an episode to come out, and would rather be able to watch a whole series over a weekend.

Even though the traditional cable model has taken a hit thanks to streaming services, it has not done away with people’s interest in what cable television offers. This is what Sling was designed to provide, a more limited but cheaper option for people to access traditional network television alongside their other streaming services.

Subscription Packages

There are multiple packages that you can sign up for on Sling. These packages will allow you to gain access to more channels, or keep your subscription more streamlined if you only want to watch a few shows every now and then.

Sling’s packages are one of the real benefits of using a streaming service for live tv because each package is tailored to have a unique list of channels. If you are a sports fan, for instance, there are packages designed to have both live sports and sports network content. More of a news junkie than a sports fan? There is the right package for you as well!

What made traditional cable so expensive was the sheer amount of all the channels you had access to. But many of us are just not interested in all the channels that cable provides, meaning you will be paying for something that you never use.

The base packages are:

  • Sling Blue
  • Sling Orange

Each package will offer exclusive channels that will be missing from the other option, but Sling does allow you to switch your subscription between Blue and Orange free of charge. It is also possible to combine both the Orange and Blue packages if you want to get every base channel that Sling has to offer.

An important note is that Sling is offering an introductory offer for first-time users. Right now, you can receive $10 off your monthly payment for the first month you use Sling. You also get access to the DVR Plus upgrade for the first month free of charge. Make sure to take advantage of this intro offer after you decide which package is right for you.

Sling Blue

Here are the basics:

  • A subscription to Sling Blue is $35 per month.
  • Sling Blue lets you stream on up to three devices at one time.
  • There is no contract and you can cancel at any time.
  • Sling Blue comes with 50 hours of free DVR storage, meaning you can record hours of your favorite shows and movies and store them on the app to watch later.

Sling Blue has a ton of great content. There are plenty of network news channels like CNN, FOX News, and MSNBC, making this a great choice for people who need to stay up to date. While both packages give you access to CNN, only Sling Blue will give you other network news options.

The $35 base subscription is one of the most affordable rates around, with many live television streaming services being in the $60 range or above. The fact that Sling Blue comes with a free 50 hours of DVR is a nice touch, as DVR is also often an add-on that you will be charged for on other services.

Sling Blue lacks a lot of access to sports networks and has a limited number of kids shows and family networks in their base package, but you can buy these channels as add-ons in certain categories (more on this later).

Read the table to see every channel that you can access on Sling Blue:

  • A&E
  • AMC
  • AXS TV
  • BBC America
  • BET
  • Bloomberg Television
  • Bravo
  • Cartoon Network
  • Cheddar
  • CNN
  • Comedy Central
  • Comet
  • Discovery Channel
  • E!
  • Epix Drive-In
  • Food Network
  • Fox
  • Fox News Channel
  • Fox Sports 1
  • Fuse
  • FX
  • HGTV
  • HLN
  • History Channel
  • IFC
  • Investigation Discovery
  • Lifetime
  • Local Now
  • NBC
  • NBC Sports Network
  • NFL Network
  • National Geographic
  • Newsy
  • Nick Jr.
  • SYFY
  • Stadium
  • TBS
  • TLC
  • TNT
  • Travel Channel
  • truTV
  • USA
  • Vice

Sling Orange

What it’s all about:

  • Sling Orange is $35 per month, the same as Sling Blue.
  • Sling Orange offers streaming on only one device at a time.
  • There is no contract and you can cancel whenever you would like.
  • Access to 50 free hours of DVR is included in Sling Orange.

Sling Orange and Sling Blue have a great deal of overlap, but there are some key differences to take note of.

Sling Orange is geared more toward families and sports fans, as it includes access to the Disney and ESPN family of networks. The trade-off is that Sling Orange offers fewer channels overall, and has less access to news and entertainment networks.

A downside of Sling Orange is that you can only stream on one device at a time, unlike Sling Blue which lets you stream on three screens at once. More screens can be added, but it comes at an additional charge. If you live in a household with multiple people, it’s an important thing to keep in mind before choosing which service to go with.

Sling Orange includes many of the cord-cutting features that make streaming television services appealing, like no contract and no rental equipment. It also includes 50 free hours of DVR recording capabilities, and you can buy even more recording time as an add-on.

Check out the table with every channel on Sling Orange:

  • A&E
  • AMC
  • AXS TV
  • BBC America
  • BET
  • Bloomberg Television
  • CNN
  • Cartoon Network
  • Cheddar
  • Comedy Central
  • Comet
  • Disney Channel
  • EPIX Drive-In
  • ESPN
  • ESPN2
  • ESPN3
  • Food Network
  • Freeform
  • Fuse
  • HGTV
  • History Channel
  • IFC
  • Investigation Discovery
  • Lifetime
  • Local Now
  • MotorTrend
  • Newsy
  • Nick Jr.
  • Stadium
  • TBS
  • TNT
  • Travel Channel
  • Vice

Upgrades and Customizable Extras

There are many ways to expand your Sling TV subscription from the basic Blue and Orange packages. These upgrades and add-ons will make the cost of your subscription more expensive, but they are a great way to get everything that you need from a television service while remaining far cheaper than cable.

Extras can be bundled if you find you want to subscribe to more than one option:

  • You can get the 4 Extras Deal for $13 per month on top of your base package for both Sling Blue and Sling Orange.
  • If you want to go big, think about trying the Total TV Deal which will unlock access to every Extra package as well as Cloud DVR Plus for $21 a month.

Sling Blue + Sling Orange

Want the best of both worlds? You can get every channel that Sling TV has to offer when you combine both the Blue and Orange packages into a single monthly subscription for $50. This will unlock all the channels as well as increase the number of devices you can stream to four.

Sling Blue Extras

Sling Blue has a ton of extra channel packages that can be added on to your subscription. The Sports Extra package will give you access to 10+ channels of sports content including NFL Redzone for $11 per month on top of your regular subscription. All other packages, like Comedy Extra and Hollywood Extra, are only $6 per month and offer between 5 and 10 channels.

Sling Orange Extras

Sling Orange also has a great selection of extras to supplement your regular streaming service. Take advantage of the News Extra to be able to watch favorites like HLN and BBC World News for only $6 per month.

Premium Channels

There are 33 channels of premium cable content that you can add to either your Sling Blue or Sling Orange subscription. The real stand-outs here are Showtime ($10 per month) and Stars ($9 per month), but there plenty of other great options.

Premium channels like Showtime offer original series, miniseries, as well as movies on demand. The options for premium channels get quite specific and are a great way to fine-tune your subscription to your unique interests.

Sling Latino

If you are looking for Spanish language television, Sling Latino offers a great selection of content that is based around several countries. There are specific packages for:

  • Mexico
  • Central America
  • South America
  • Spain
  • The Caribbean

You can easily stream your favorite shows from outside the United States with Sling Latino. These packages all start at $10 a month and allow for up to three streams at once, and include all great cord-cutting features like no contract and cancel anytime.

Sling International

Access television from around the world with the top international streaming service in the United States. Sling International supports content from across 20+ languages in numerous global regions, including:

  • South Asia
  • East Asia
  • South America
  • Europe
  • Middle East

Most Sling International packages start at $20 per month and usually come with free trials and upgrades. This is a great way to keep up-to-date on the news from around the world, as well as indulge in international sports that are hard to find on American television.

DVR Plus

DVR is a wonderful feature on cable, and thankfully it is supported on Sling. DVR allows you to record live television and watch it later, which makes it possible to fast-forward through commercials, as well as guarantees you will not miss an episode of your favorite show thanks to an auto-record feature.

Both Sling Orange and Sling Blue come with a free 50 hours of DVR. But what if you need to record more than 50 hours of content? Sling allows you to boost the total DVR recording time to 200 hours for just $5 a month with DVR Plus.

Access to Local Channels

Another way that Sling TV keeps their monthly subscription so low is by limiting the number of local television channels you can access. Channels like NBC and FOX are offered by Sling, but it is limited by which market you are located in. Without any upgrades, you will not be able to view channels ABC or CBS.

But do not fear! There are other ways to get local broadcast networks through your Sling subscription.

  • You can watch every local channel in your area with your Sling TV subscription and an HD antenna. These are sold online or at electronics stores and can be fit to most televisions with ease.
  • Connect Sling with the AirTV OTA device to allow your device to pick up local channels in your area. Sling is offering a deal where you can get a free AirTV Mini if you prepay for two months. This will give you access to many of your local stations in HD.
  • Locast is a service that allows you to stream local broadcast television channels if you are in certain areas. You can access the free Locast app through its website, or through the Sling app if you are in a supported designated market area (DMA).

How to Watch Sling on Your TV

Sling is a service that you can connect to via several devices. Some of these you may find are already present on your Smart TV or gaming console. Others will require you to download the Sling application through an external OTT device. This will allow you to access live television on your TV, phone, tablet, or web browser.

You can watch Sling on all of these devices:

  • AirTV
  • Amazon Fire TV
  • Android operating systems
  • Android TV
  • Google Chrome
  • Chromecast
  • iOS
  • LG TVs
  • Oculus
  • Roku
  • Samsung TVs
  • TiVO Stream
  • Windows operating systems
  • Xbox One
  • Apple TV

If you have any one of these devices, download the app and provide your login credentials. This will automatically sync your television to the streaming package you purchased, and give you the same great access as cable cord-free.


Is Sling TV Free?

There is a version of Sling TV that can be watched free without registration. While there is a limited number of channels and on-demand shows you will be able to stream, Sling offers access to many hit shows and movies through its Sling Free platform. Any device that supports Sling will be able to play Sling Free, including Apple TV, Amazon Fire Stick, Chromecast, Roku, AirTV, and Xbox.

Can Sling TV Be Shared?

Sling offers a version of shared viewing called Sling Watch Party which allows you to watch movies and television with friends from all over the United States. A host can use their Sling Blue or Sling Orange subscription to link up to three friends in a Sling Watch Party, which allows for each invitee to view the host’s party regardless if they subscribe to that channel. Sling Watch Party is free. Local channels, Premium upgrades, and certain add-ons are not supported in the Watch Party feature.

Are Sling TV Channels in HD?

Yes, most channels on Sling can be streamed in live HD. Video quality and experience do depend on the strength of a WIFI connection, the speed of your home’s broadband, and how many devices are using the internet at once.

Which Sling TV Package has ESPN?

Sling Orange is the base package that allows viewers to access ESPN, ESPN 2, and ESPN 3. These are not available through the Sling Blue base package.

Can Sling TV Get Local Channels?

Sling can access local channels in many ways. If paired with a wireless HD antenna, you can enjoy completely free streaming of any local channels in your area on your Sling app. Otherwise, you can access local NBC stations through the Peacock app and CBS stations through CBS All Access. If you have the Sling Blue base package, certain DMAs will provide local programming for FOX and NBC. These are in most major American cities and their surrounding areas.

Which Sling TV Package is Best?

Each package has unique channels, but Sling Blue is the best bang for your buck. Sling Blue has about ten more channels than Sling Orange even though they both cost $35 per month. Sling Blue will therefore get you more access for the same amount of money, though certain popular channels like ESPN and Disney are unavailable for Sling Blue and cannot be added on via extras.

Written by Dave Cunningham

Raised and born in West London. Dave is currently studying BA in Psychology at CUNY Hunter College. Netflix favourites: You, Stranger Things, Ozark & Virgin River.

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