Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Tech Review: Sling TV

Take Back TV?

Sling TV Review

When I first heard of Sling TV being announced at CES I must admit I was skeptical. I assumed this was just another "Internet TV" service comprising 500 niche channels that no one has ever heard of or cares about. Then I heard Dish was behind it; I thought more digging was necessary. The idea seemed promising, for $20 a month with no contract you get a dozen popular TV channels delivered to you over the internet. By this point I had not had cable TV in years and thought this might be a good way to get back into it.

I signed up for a beta invite and waited... And waited... And waited... The proposed release date came and went and still I waited. After another week I finally received my invite. The sign up period for beta invitees was interesting with invitees being forced to sign up over the phone but I found the costumer service people to be quite competent so this wasn't an issue. Of course should you sign up now you will find the process much more streamlined. I chose to get the basic package plus the $5 News extra package, but more on that later.

At first device support was very limited but currently it is supported on Roku players, Android, iOS, Mac, and PC (Via a dedicated application). Support for Xbox, Chromecast, and other devices are "coming soon".

The application looks basically the same on all platforms and I have included screenshots above. The app on my PC where I do most of my watching does glitch occasionally requiring me to switch to another channel then switch back, but this is more a minor annoyance than a serious problem.

Besides the core package, add on packages may be purchased for $5 each. The add on's include a news pack, a sports pack, a kids pack, and a movie pack featuring Epix channels.

I found the streaming to be smooth and high quality for the most part but with little bugs still popping up. You also have to get used to not being able to channel surf, having to wait for the channel to buffer. And remember, this is a full TV experience, and that includes ads. Remember those Meso-mumbojumbo lawyer ads? Yeah those are still a thing.

In conclusion I found Sling TV an excellent service. and hopefully the future of TV! The channel list continues to grow with AMC being added today; Which I thought was 'The Zombie Channel' but it also happens to play Three Stooges reruns in the morning so I'm happy. If you're happy with your $100 a month cable, then keep it. It's honestly better. But if you were a strictly Netflix person looking for a few channels, then Sling TV just might be for you.         -Seth