These days, it seems like we’re spending a lot more time inside watching TV, which makes choosing the right streaming services more important than ever. Dish Network’s Sling TV is still a go-to over-the-top (OTT) service for newbie cord-cutters and discerning TV lovers alike, offering live TV, on-demand movies and series, and sports. Sling TV has long been known for its relatively bite-sized programming packages, rather than offering a single glut of channels, allowing users to choose the channels best suited to them. Being spoiled when it comes to choice poises a problem: How do you choose?
To get started with Sling TV, you’ll need to decide between two base packages: Sling Orange and Sling Blue, each of which costs $30 per month. Which one do you pick? Should you bundle both for $45? The answer depends on your needs and preferences. In this quick guide, we’ll explain the benefits of each so you can make the right decision and raise your cord-cutter game.
What you get
If your channel needs are fairly simple, the choice between Sling Orange and Sling Blue could be an easy one, as there are a fair amount of channels included in both packages. These include coveted cable news channels like Bloomberg and CNN, lifestyle programming like the Food Network and Travel Channel, and popular cable staples such as AMC, IFC, TBS, TNT, Comedy Central, and History. That said, there are some essential differences between the two services.
How many streams can you watch?
Before we get into programming, one major differentiator you need to know between Sling Orange and Sling Blue has to do with the number of devices that can stream Sling TV simultaneously. Sling Orange is limited to a single stream, meaning you’ll be limited to watching on one device at a time. You can switch from one device to another, but you can never watch on both devices at the same time. Sling Blue offers up to three streams, making it a better option for larger households. If you’re only ever watching on one TV or mobile device at a time, this may not matter, but it’s definitely worth keeping in mind.
Sling Orange channels
The number of streams aside, if you’re a fan of sports, Sling Orange may be your best bet. That’s because it’s the only one of the two to feature Disney’s suite of ESPN channels, including ESPN, ESPN2, and the generally online-only ESPN3. Speaking of Disney, Sling Orange will also land you other Disney properties, including Disney Channel and the family-friendly Freeform (formerly ABC Family) network.
Sling Blue channels
While it may not have the coveted ESPN lineup, Sling Blue makes up for this in terms of its sheer wealth of channels, not to mention the ability to stream on three screens at a time. In place of ESPN programming, Sling Blue offers NFL Network, as well as multiple Fox sports networks. Also, and this is key, Sling Blue is the only way to get NFL RedZone, which is available as an add-on with the Sports Extra package (discussed below). A substantial number of popular channels — including Bravo, Vice, HGTV, FX, Discovery, Cartoon Network, Syfy, and USA — are also included, so while you give up ESPN, you get a lot in return.
Extra channel packages
Now that we’ve looked at Sling TV’s core packages, it’s time to start thinking about add-ons for the perfect blend of content. Some packages, like Hollywood Extra — which offers movie channels like Sundance, Fandor, and Turner Classic Movies — are exactly the same for Orange and Blue packages. Others, like Kids Extra, vary based on the package; you’ll need Sling Orange in order to access extra Disney children’s channels, for example.
Some options don’t make financial sense, depending on the combination of channels you select. For example, Sling Blue offers fewer channels in its Sports Extra package, but it costs the same as Sling Orange’s Sports Extra Package, at $10 per month. Blue’s Sports Extra, however, gets you NFL RedZone channel, which lets you watch a smorgasbord of scoring plays from every NFL team every Sunday. You can even enjoy every game without commercials. Meanwhile, Sling Orange’s Sports Extra package grants customers even more ESPN channels. The lineup includes ESPNEWS, ESPNU, and a handful of seasonal sport-specific channels. One exception is RedZone — you’ll have to look elsewhere for that.
Best of both worlds
Sling TV markets itself as a cheap alternative to cable. But if you want all the channels you’d have via cable, you will need to pay for both Sling Orange and Sling Blue. With both options, the total cost edges closer to what your regular cable bill would be. Orange and Blue total $45 per month, and that’s without considering the bill for your internet access.
For a full rundown of the base channels available in either Sling Blue, Sling Orange, or both, see below.
If you still need to read up on Sling TV further before deciding one way or another, look into our complete guide to the service. We compiled not only the full channel list but more in-depth information about Sling, such as time-shifting channels and more.
Sling might get lost within some of the variety of streaming services out there, but it is unique in that you can get both streaming content and television on-demand.
Full channel listings by package
|Sling Orange||Sling Blue||Sling Orange and Blue|
|Fox Sports 1||No||Yes||Yes|