Published on November 19th, 2017 | by Kirk Hiner0
Cord cutting considerations #1: Sling TV
My wife and I pay $136.12 a month for DirecTV satellite. I saw it as a necessary evil back when we actually used it, but more and more we rely on streaming services for shows and movies. (Well, my wife does. I mostly play video games, which makes that monthly charge even more ridiculous. Who needs cable when you’ve got Xenoblade Chronicles 2 coming out within a month?)
As such, we’re now looking at our options for replacing DirecTV. I’ll cover those here at BEST Apple TV, not so much to make a recommendation, but just to illustrate how they would change our viewing habits so you can apply the same methodology to your situation.
You’ve surely seen the Sling TV commercials that cater to those of us who get picky about the things we buy. Thing is, that pickiness actually works against Sling TV in some ways. Sling offer two streaming packages; a single stream “orange” package (30 channels) for $20 a month and a multi-stream “blue” package (40+ channels) for $25 a month. There are five of us in my house with over 10 potential streaming devices, so we’d obviously go blue.
Straight away, we’d lose a lot of sports channels that are only available in the orange package, but not the NHL Network or NFL Network, so no worries there. If for some reason you think you still need ESPN, you’d have to go orange or get both (Sling provides a minor discount if you subscribe to both orange and blue).
Luckily, blue also gives us Cartoon Network for Teen Titans Go and Family Guy reruns. That pretty much covers the kids and, quite honestly, me (channel surfing almost always ends on either of these shows, which are seemingly on 24 hours a day). We would also hold onto channels such as SYFY, Comedy Central and National Geographic, but we lose channels like Discovery and, in fact, most of the good educational channels. This would be unfortunate for my oldest son who loves watching nature and astronomy shows.
The real concern, however, is with my wife. TV is her way of winding down after the kids are in bed, and she loses a favorite—the CW—with Sling TV. With the blue package, she also loses Freeform. That means she’ll have to rely on outside sources to watch the shows from those channels which will likely incur extra costs or delays.
Then there’s the issue with local channels, as Sling TV doesn’t carry them all. You can check help.sling.com to see what’s available in your area, which in my case is FOX Sports Ohio, Univision, FOX and NBC. Hardly ideal. Sling TV offers a free indoor antenna if you prepay for only two months, but that would still only add CBS and PBS at my location.
Could we replace the lost channels with with any of the 29 extras packages? Maybe, but it’s not quite as “a la carte” as it could be. If we want to add Freeform, for example, we have to add the entire orange package. If I want NFL RedZone, I have to add the 11 channel sports package for an additional $10 a month. Why, when I only want one of those? I thought I was allowed to be picky?
Pickier, I guess. And I’m sure the loss of a few TV shows could be easily replaced by that extra $100 we’d be pocketing each month. $5 a month would go to Sling TV’s cloud DVR, then we could put some of the savings towards Hulu, for example. Amazon Prime. I could spend $9/month for Starz or $15 for HBO, which I’m currently not paying for with DirecTV. I could expand my horizons with the $5/month Chinese or French minis (I wouldn’t actually do that, but I’d seriously be all over a Japanese mini if it were offered, language barrier be damned).
A 7 day trial is available, and it’s something my family will consider as we narrow down our options. For now, I’ll just say it’s readily apparent that Sling TV is a much better option than what we’re currently overpaying for, and one you, too, should definitely consider if you’re willing to give up a few favorite channels.