Cutting the cord can be an intimidating concept to grasp for those who have grown used to their cable TV. There’s a lot of lingo and terminology out there, including live streaming, cloud DVR, streaming devices and Sling TV. Understanding the basics will make you better prepared to make some big decisions about your current television plan.
What Is Sling TV?
Sling TV is a subscription service that gives you access to many of the most popular channels without having a cable TV package. Instead of using a satellite, Sling TV uses your wireless connection and shows you livestreams of the channels you love. There are many benefits to using a subscription service like this for your primary television plan, but Sling TV is just one of many subscription services on the market. In this guide, we’ll explain the benefits of Sling TV and show how it compares to cable TV as well as other available subscription plans.
Is Sling TV Worth It?
Whether or not you need Sling TV will depend on your viewing habits and your budget. Before you decide if Sling TV is what you need, you first need to decide if you’re ready to cut out traditional cable since this is what Sling TV typically replaces. Before you decide, ask yourself several questions about your current TV service.
Is Your Cable Too Expensive?
The size of your cable bill often sneaks up on you. When cable companies sign up new customers, they offer introductory pricing to entice subscribers. After a year, sometimes two, your monthly bill will skyrocket as your new customer discount expires. Cable companies can also sneak in extras without you realizing it by giving you free access to things like HBO and Showtime for your first year, and then automatically subscribing you to these pricey add-ons after that whether you use them or not.
If you’re looking to cut costs in your home, then your television service is an efficient way to do that. Look over your bill carefully, and decide if you’re really using everything you’re paying for.
How Many Channels Do You Actually Watch?
One reason that cable subscriptions are so expensive is the number of channels you have access to. For many people, however, the number of channels available is nowhere near the number they actually watch. If you have your favorite channels that you gravitate toward on a daily basis, then you probably don’t need an extensive package with hundreds of channels.
Do You Prefer to Have Your Services Bundled?
Cable companies are usually partners with internet and phone companies in order to offer you a bundled package of all three services at an affordable rate. When you use Sling TV, your internet will have to be provided by a separate company. Internet plans by themselves (without a cable plan) can be more expensive. Additionally, you’ll now have separate TV and internet bills to pay, rather than having it all lumped into one bill.
Do You Watch TV On the Go?
While some cable packages have mobile capabilities, these options are sometimes cumbersome to navigate and have limited content offerings. With plans like Sling TV, you can download an app to your cell phone or tablet and have the same viewing experience as you would if you were at home watching on your TV. Your device will need to be connected to the internet in order for this work.
Do Your Viewing Habits Change Throughout the Year?
If you’re a big football fan, but you don’t really like any other sport, then you will probably rarely use your sports channels during the summer. Maybe you watch less TV during the winter when the holidays make life more hectic, or perhaps you’re a junkie for fall premieres when all the new shows come back. If your viewing habits change seasonally, then it’s nice to be able to alter your TV package to go along with it. Sling TV allows you to do that.
How Does Sling TV Work?
Once you’ve decided to get rid of cable and go with a monthly subscription service, you’re ready to get started using Sling TV. Here’s what you’ll need to know as you prepare
The Streaming Device
Even though Sling TV is streamed through your internet connection, you’ll need some sort of device to project the content onto your TV. Otherwise you’ll only be able to watch TV on your tablet or cell phone. There are several Sling-friendly streaming devices:
Sometimes Sling has special deals where you’ll get a free streaming device when you prepay for a certain number of months of service. These offers are usually worth the upfront cost of prepayment because streaming devices can be expensive.
If you have a smart TV, you may not need to use a separate device to stream content. Check your television’s media menu to see if there is a Sling app available. If so, you can probably watch through your TV without an extra piece of equipment.
After you’ve chosen your base package, you can add on a la carte options for $5 each. These add-ons include premium content as well as channels that are less mainstream:
These are just a few examples of the many specialty channel packages you can add. Each add-on package is tailor-made for a particular base package. What this means is that if you subscribe to the Sling Orange plan, your comedy add-on may feature different channels than the Sling Blue add-on.
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With Sling TV, there is no contract. If you feel like you don’t need TV for part of the year, you can easily cancel your subscription with no penalty and then simply renew it when you’re ready to start using it again. You can also change packages throughout the year, as well as drop and add the extra features as you need them. These options can all be done through your online account without having to speak to a sales representative on the phone.
Is Sling TV Better Than Other Subscription Services?
We’ve determined the many advantages of Sling TV to cable TV, but what about all the other subscription plans out there? Sling TV isn’t the only one, but it offers you the most customization options.
For example, the cheapest plan offered by most other subscription services is around $40 to $45. These plans offer you more channels than Sling TV’s cheaper base package, but why pay the extra money if you don’t need the extra channels? Sling TV allows you to downgrade your selection to get the cheapest base rate possible, and then you can add on channels as you see fit.
One additional thing to consider is that some subscription services have better contractual agreements with certain networks. Sometimes this grants them exclusivity, meaning that no other subscription service can provide that channel. It’s important to consider what you need, and then examine what each service offers to determine the appropriate plan.
Is Sling TV the Best?
If you’re preparing to make a big TV switch, start by determining your preferences. Consider how important live sports are to you, and list which channels you need to make your package worth it. Decide if you want DVR capabilities. Create your ideal package in your mind, and then see how different subscription services fit into that vision.
In an age where streaming is big and everyone’s trying to cut costs, is Sling TV worth it? We think Sling TV is well worth the transition from traditional cable. The flexibility and commitment-free advantages make it far superior to what cable can give you. When comparing it to other subscription plans, we like that Sling TV lets you pick and choose the channels and features you need the most, so you’re not paying for things you don’t even use.