A Better Way to Watch TV

Category: Television

Pay TV has been losing subscribers steadily for several years. The response of cable companies has been to raise prices on the same old product. Dish Network’s response is to create a new, cheaper product that follows customers to where they are now going for their video entertainment. Read on to see how it works, and if Sling TV can save you money…

What Is Sling TV?

Customers, particularly younger ones ages 18 to 35, are increasingly “cutting the cord,” canceling the cable service and going to the Internet for their entertainment. They’re also rejecting the cable TV industry’s paradigm of ever-larger and more expensive bundles of channels. So Dish Network had to come up with a product that works over the Internet, has a low entry price, and lets customers roll their own channel package.

Sling TV isn’t all of that, but it’s miles closer to consumers’ ideal than take-it-or-leave-it cable TV plans. Launched in January, 2015, Sling TV offers two basic bundles of channels - a 25-channel “Orange” bundle for $20/month or a 40-channel “Blue” bundle for $25. (Dish Network is headquartered in a suburb of Denver, Colorado, home of the orange-and-blue Broncos NFL team.) Then there’s the All Channels bundle: Orange and Blue for $40/month.

Customers can tailor their base bundles with special-interest add-ons that cost just $5 each. The Sports Extra bundle includes 12 sports channels, for example. There are Kids Extra, Comedy Plus Extra, and Lifestyles Plus Extra bundles, too. Other $5 Extra bundles target movie lovers, world news junkies, and even cricket fans (the sport, not the insect). The Broadcast Extra bundle (available in certain metro areas) includes the ABC network, Univision, and UniMas.

What is Sling TV?

HBO costs $15/month and Cinemax is $10; both include on-demand programming as well as the live stream of content. In a limited number of markets, Sling TV offers live streams of broadcast Fox Network affiliates for local news and content.

Although that's exactly how many customers use it, Sling TV is not intended to replace traditional cable packages, according to the company. Instead, it’s a complement to Netflix, Hulu, and other subscription streaming services. Sling TV can be streamed via Android and iOS devices, Apple TV; OS X and Windows computers; LG and Samsung smart TVs; and Nexus Player, Roku, Amazon Fire TV and Xbox One devices. On January 5, 2016, Channel Master added Sling TV to their DVR+ product.

No Strings (or coaxial cables) Attached...

A 7-day free trial is another way in which Sling TV differs from the cable TV industry. You can sign up with a credit card, and if you cancel during the first week your card won’t be charged. Thereafter, your card is charged once a month. But there are no contracts and you can change or cancel your Sling TV bundle at any time.

You might associate Dish Network with satellite TV service. But Sling TV does NOT require a satellite hookup. You will, of course, need some form of high-speed Internet access to use Sling TV. If you have a TV/Phone/Internet bundle, you may save money by removing TV from the bundle, and streaming your shows and movies via the Internet, to your television, computer, tablet, or mobile phone's screen.

There's a subtle point there… remember that I said Sling TV follows you where you go? Most pay-TV services tie you to your living room TV set. Some offer a limited slice of programming on mobile devices. But you can travel with your laptop, tablet or smartphone, and watch any show that's part of your Sling TV package.

You will need some form of streaming media gadget, if you want to watch Sling TV content on your TV at home. Sling is currently offering the ROKU 2 for free, if you prepay three months of Sling TV service. Other streaming devices that will work with Sling include the Apple TV, Amazon Fire TV, Chromecast, or an XBox One console.

Sling TV has been called “the beginning of the end for traditional pay TV.” It’s more flexible, cheaper, involves less commitment from the customer, and best of all, it’s mobile. You might want to give it a try. Post your comment or question below...

 
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This article was posted by on 16 Sep 2016


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Most recent comments on "A Better Way to Watch TV"

(See all 27 comments for this article.)

Posted by:

briansmac
16 Sep 2016

The cable/satellite companies are ripping consumers off. We dumped them well over a year ago and just watch free tv over the air, HULU, YouTube and Newsmax apps on the android phone to stream to our smart tv. I am hoping more and more cable/satellite tv channels make their channels available via android apps. Its about time we consumers have the chance to pick and choose what channels we want to pay for instead of paying for a expensive bundle of channels when we only watch a few channels.


Posted by:

joey hannon
16 Sep 2016

I cut cable and bought the Mohu Leaf indoor flat antenna. Works most of the time once I found the sweet spot. Might go with a stronger outdoor one later. I, too, use KODI for movies and some sports. However, I was getting bad stream sometimes and would have to re-acquire a signal. I broke down this year and got cable for ESPN only. I like college football and dislike interruptions in service. Once football season is over, I will cut cable again and install an outdoor OTA antenna that hopefully won't pixelate and freeze the shows I am watching. When, and if, networks and cable companies realize they can make more money by letting the consumer pay and choose what they want, then I will maintain pay TV.


Posted by:

M.Cros
16 Sep 2016

I am afraid that should I "cut the cord" from my cable company, I may go into withdrawal for my 28 minutes of advertisements during a 60 minute program. How is one expected to make educated decisions in life without knowing which toilet paper is softest or instructions on how to use "My Pillow"?


Posted by:

Bruce McEachern
16 Sep 2016

Will Sling TV ever be available in CANADA? If so, do you have any idea when that may happen?

Thank-you, for your time.

Yours
truly,
Bruce McEachern


Posted by:

Bruce McEachern
16 Sep 2016

Will Sling TV ever be available in CANADA? If so, do you have any idea when that may happen?

Thank-you, for your time.

Yours
truly,
Bruce McEachern


Posted by:

GeoB
16 Sep 2016

Our daughter and family decided to cut a $200/month DirecTv bill by going to Sling just last week. Dropped Sling 3 days later due to constant buffering breaks. Went to PlayStation's streaming system and have been very happy with it.


Posted by:

Bob
16 Sep 2016

I have been an enthusiastic user of Roku for 3-4 years, and I have never had cable TV. There is more free content than I could ever watch.

The main thing I miss is live games of my local MLB team. However, I can stream so many highlights at my convenience over my PC, that I'm not willing to sign up for cable just for that.


Posted by:

Gary Blackwell
16 Sep 2016

I have been using Kodi off of the internet now for over a year. Kodi offers virtually all movies and tv shows. It is a little hard to learn how to use but it is great because you never see a commercial. It requires you to add "AS-On" services that are free. Genesis and Phoenix are my favorite add-ons since they provide for about everything I want to watch ... including movies that are still in the theaters. I have seen live pay-per-view events in real time at no cost. The service is free.

I have also started using "Watch TV", It is another service provided at no cost.


Posted by:

Kathi Dahlstrand
16 Sep 2016

I tried cutting the cable and was quite successful with an antenna and Chromecast until I wanted to watch local sports. I settled for as cheap a Comcast cable package as I could and still get my sports. I am in suburban Chicago so the over the air little antenna works very well as does Chromecast with my Comcast internet.


Posted by:

pmwill
16 Sep 2016

Very good topic considering last weekend I assembled a digital roof antenna and got great reception from one tower at 35 mile and even more channels with three towers the next state over. My better half has been after me to cut the cord since we got ROKU over a year ago.
A happy ending.
Thanks, Phil


Posted by:

Chuck
16 Sep 2016

I too cut the cord when DirecTV raised the rates again, and that was before ATT bought them. The only thing I missed at first was the sports. Realized I was spending too much time on that as well. Couldn't live without my DVR, so I boutht a OTA Tivo. Record what shows I like and watch them at my convience. Just push the little green button and fast forward through the commericals, save 20 minutes out of every hour show. Amazon prime membership takes us the slack, Netflix for the grandkids. Tried Sling for a while and found it clumsy, also didn't like their choice of a news channel. Also realized there is more on those few channels than I can see in the rest of my life. For those being held hostage by cable companies I say drop them, get a life, go do something.


Posted by:

CtPaul
16 Sep 2016

I cut my cable cord 20 years ago when FORTUNE MAGAZINE ran a story about Jimmy Dolan's cocaine use (family owned Cablevision) and I decided that I was not going to pay for him to get high anymore!


Posted by:

Jeri
16 Sep 2016

Does Sling TV show commercials/ads? Is there a way to skip or bypass them?


Posted by:

barry
17 Sep 2016

For what this is worth. I contacted Sling to ask a simple question re their programing and ended up getting into an argument with the representative. The rep was probing for a lot of my personal info such as what is my physical address, full name, email address etc. Sorry, I will Pass.


Posted by:

Nick
17 Sep 2016

I am not a true cable cutter, since it was cheaper to keep the cable box, plus I like having a clock below my television. But I am another fan of Kodi. I have linux box, and after joining a couple of forums, watching youtube videos, I am having the best tv experience ever. If I only used my cable box, my tv would be in sd, and if I used only my tv, I could get HD, but limited channels, no pausing tv. Addons like Phoenix and Exodus (Genesis's predecessor) get you most shows that you want, once configured correctly. The bonus is no commercials!

EDITOR'S NOTE: Just so you know, using Kodi (or similar) to view content that normally requires payment or paid subscription is not legal.


Posted by:

Catherine Smith
17 Sep 2016

I cut the cable years ago, and I have an Android TV box which I get hundreds of live tv stations and latest movies all for free. I also have kodi which also gives me hundreds of options. I also bought a few years a go a good outdoor antenna (Channel Master) and I receive 25 Over the Air channels HD for free. The only thing I pay for is the internet and my cell phone plan! I am really happy!!

EDITOR'S NOTE: Perhaps you are not aware that using Kodi (or similar) to view content that normally requires payment or paid subscription is not legal.


Posted by:

Dave Fox
17 Sep 2016

Sling still has too much crap that I would never watch, will they ever just let us pick the channels we want to watch, without all that extra BS.


Posted by:

Lester Day
19 Sep 2016

Sling would never work in the area where I live because my only internet option is Hughes Net and it is so slow it would take 6 hours to watch a 2 hour movie.


Posted by:

Lester Day
19 Sep 2016

Sling would never work in the area where I live because my only internet option is Hughes Net and it is so slow it would take 6 hours to watch a 2 hour movie.


Posted by:

Chris Stephens
26 Sep 2016

We cut the cord with DirecTV and it was the best thing ever. We are in the Metro D.C. area and have Verizon FiOS 150/150 package and the picture is awesome. It takes a little getting use to not having commercials on certain channels but I can live with that. The price for everything is more than half of the previous bill. Try Sling TV and see if it works for you.


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