Sling TV is the worst nightmare of most cable providers.
When paired with a digital HD antenna for broadcast channels, it can effectively remove the need for cable packages, mysterious installation technicians, and confusing pricing models.
Furthermore, it is only $20 per month, and when it comes to the $5 add-on packages, there is definitely gold in the hills, so to speak, with Sports Extra, Hollywood Extra, and Lifestyle Extra packages to name a few.
However, there are also many, many negative reviews and an numerous Facebook comments that cause one to question whether Sling TV is “ready for primetime.”
That’s why I’ve put together this guide for knowing whether Sling TV is the answer for you.
First off, it isn’t the answer for everyone.
Case in point, one friend, who lives in a rural area and gets a relatively slow internet speed, complained of the service buffering away his sanity. It’s an understandable issue to cancel over, though not entirely within the control of Sling TV.
From a marketing perspective, the company could do a better job of emphasizing this as well as responding to hostile customers.
Most of the time, on Facebook anyway, they ask you to PM them, and who knows what happens after that?
The truth of the matter is that the Sling TV digital cable service works great for people with fast enough connections. On a personal note, my internet speeds are 50 Mbps, which is more than adequate for Sling TV.
Mashable, in a review from early 2015, remarked that it was flawless at 80 Mbps.
At the lower speed, there aren’t any buffering issues though after several hours of watching, something like a digital artifact here and there, or out-of-sync audio/video occasionally happens. Usually a tap of the rewind or fast forward buttons will fix that.
Buffering has not been an issue at the lower speed either and channel-to-channel transitions are smooth.
One drawback of the Sling TV service is that you cannot watch simultaneously on a single account across separate devices.
With a Roku 2XD in the bedroom and a Fire TV in the living room, one person will have to hit Netflix or Hulu Plus or Amazon Prime while the other commandeers live television.
To date, Sling does not offer a multi-device package allowing customers to take advantage.
That means that the price of Sling TV would double if you wanted all the same options on two TVs and triple if you wanted those options on three, and so on. Additionally, you would have to go to the trouble of establishing new accounts for each.
Also, channel selection isn’t currently what you would see with a traditional cable provider, but that is increasingly less of an issue as networks like Showtime, HBO, and Starz move to direct streaming apps.
Also, niche content suppliers like Shudder and Acacia TV allow viewers to more heavily specialize their interests, thus bypassing the dozens and dozens of channels that cable providers often use to pad their offerings, in spite of the fact that few people actually watch them.
In other words, if it isn’t on Sling TV, then you can probably get it through Hulu Plus or Amazon Prime or Roku or any number of Smart TVs, usually for a fraction of the price you would end up paying at a Comcast or a Time Warner.
Hopefully, this gives you a comprehensive look as to what you can expect from Sling TV. Clearly, if you are in a rural area, you may want to check your true internet speeds before signing up, as it won’t do you much good on a slow DSL connection.
Regardless, the availability of Sling TV is just one more piece of competition to keep cable companies honest and restore more power to the hands of consumers.
Are you a fan of Sling TV? What has your experience been like? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.
[Image via Sling website]