We are always looking for more content, right? I mean we have Netflix, Hulu Plus, Google Play Movies and various other services that we likely subscribe too. But when it comes to sports we're kinda stuck. For example, if we want to watch Basketball, we either have to subscribe to the NBA League Pass or get cable. And if you're someone like me that rarely watches TV, but wants to check out a basketball of football game every once in a while, paying for cable just isn't worth the money.
At CES earlier this month, Sling and Dish announced Sling TV. It's essentially cable, but over the internet. So Sling TV gives you about 12 channels for $20/month. They also offer some other packages like News, and Sports that are an additional $5 per month. So it's kinda like cable, but not really. I've been using Sling TV for a little over a week, and I've got some things to share about my experience. This isn't a full review, as I feel it's a little early to do a full review on this. But just some thoughts since the invites for Sling TV start rolling out tomorrow.
During the review process, Sling TV was only available on Android and Roku (I believe it was also available on iOS but I don't have an iOS device so I didn't check). I used it on my Nexus 6, as well as the Roku 3. First let's start with the experience on the Nexus 6.
It's simple to install and setup. Basically just log in with your Sling TV account and you're all done. It'll take a few moments to open up, but for the most part it's pretty seamless. On the screen you've got the video you're watching then a slider for the different channels and the TV Guide for that channel below it. With the basic package you get ESPN, ESPN2, TNT, TBS, HGTV, DIY Network, Food Network, Cooking Channel, Travel Channel, CNN, HLN, Bloomberg TV, Cartoon Network/Adult Swim, ABC Family, Disney Channel, Disney Junior, Disney XD, Boomerang, BabyTV, and Duck TV. The navigation within the app is pretty simple as well. On the right side you can change the category of channels you're browsing through. And on the left side there's TV, Watchlist, and Movies. They do offer Video On Demand, and many of these titles you'll be renting. Some are as cheap as $4.99 and some are as expensive as $7.99 to rent. Unfortunately, I haven't seen any that you can actually buy. Which kinda sucks.
Over on the Roku side of things, it's pretty similar. Which it's nice to see that the app experience is the same or similar on other platforms. It's definitely a good thing to see. Most of the time when I was watching stuff on Sling TV it was through the Roku 3. Just because it's hooked up to my TV and I'd rather use that than my phone for watching stuff. The streaming quality was great. It was in full HD pretty much the entire time, and there was no buffering either, which is a big deal. However, I must also state that my internet is 125mbps, so I shouldn't have issues with buffering anyways (even though YouTube still buffers a bit). So keep that in mind, if you have a slower connection it might not be as high res and might buffer a bit.
One of the things I noticed that I didn't like too much was that you can only use Sling TV on one device at a time. So if someone else wanted to use it, you would get kicked off, or vice versa. Kinda sucks, but we'll see how that goes once it's available to everyone. Sling may allow you to use it on 2-3 devices before paying extra for it. Hopefully that's how it'll go.
Overall, Sling TV is a great service that I feel is going to get better with time. I'd expect some hiccups once invites start rolling out and we get more people using Sling TV, but for the past week, it's been flawless. Invites should start rolling out tomorrow morning if you signed up on their website.