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5 Simple Reasons to Avoid Sling TV

While it might be a good choice for some cord cutters, here are five simple to understand reasons why you should avoid Sling TV.

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Every service has its complaints, including Sling TV. If you’re looking for a new live TV streaming option, here are five straightforward and simple reasons why it shouldn’t be Sling TV.

When people shop for a live TV streaming service, they often focus on what’s good about the service or what they get. However, in some instances consumers would be better off focusing on what’s bad and what they don’t get. After all, if any of the reasons listed below are a deal-breaker for you, then Sling TV is not the service for you.

To be clear, there are many reasons why you should give Sling TV a try, but here’s the reasons why you shouldn’t.

5 simple reasons why you should avoid Sling TV:

  • Reason 1: Poor user experience.
  • Reason 2: Basic cloud DVR.
  • Reason 3: Price escalates quickly.
  • Reason 4: Can get complicated.
  • Reason 5: Not ideal for local channels.

Reason 1: Poor user experience

The first major issue with Sling TV is the interface and the user experience in general. Sling TV does come with wide device support and that’s good. However, the app experience on virtually every platform lacks. Of course, there will be some users who like the setup and design, but for most people it won’t be intuitive enough. This is especially true for those switching from a different live TV streaming service.

Sling My TV
Sling TV: Basic and difficult to navigate experience

This not only applies to navigation, or the fact that it can be incredibly difficult to find specific content, but every part of the UI and experience. The picture quality is not the best, the playback settings are basic, and there’s a severe lack of features compared to other services.

Avoid Sling TV if you want a rich and user-friendly experience.

Reason 2: Basic cloud DVR

Cloud DVR is one of the most underrated and often ignored features until it is too late. One of the main benefits of streaming is the ability to watch what you want, when you want and cloud DVR is a big part of that equation. However, when it comes to Sling TV, cloud DVR is more often nothing more than an afterthought.

Cloud DVR is not a new thing with Sling TV, but for a long time it was a paid add-on. Unlike most other services, Sling refused to give subscribers any free cloud DVR. While that has now changed, it is limited to just 10 hours.

Sling DVR
Sling TV: Limited hours and limited quality cloud DVR

10 hours is barely enough to consider being worthwhile. If anything, it is better to think of Sling’s DVR support as an emergency DVR. If you need to record an episode or a movie, you can, but for any average user, it is unlikely to be enough – it’s not even enough to record one season of one show.

Read more: Cloud DVR comparison

If cloud DVR is important to you, then you will have to pay for the Cloud DVR Plus add-on. This extra costs an additional $5 per month and ups the DVR limit to 50 hours.

While 50 hours is significantly better, Sling TV’s cloud DVR recording quality leaves a lot to be desired. More to the point, it’s certainly of a lesser quality than the cloud DVR offered by other live TV streaming services.

Avoid Sling TV if you want a good cloud DVR experience.

Reason 3: Price escalates quickly

One of Sling TV’s biggest selling points is its low price. However, it is important to understand that this is not a cheap service. Instead, it is a service that has a cheap entry point. If you were to compare Sling TV (package-for-package) with other live TV streaming services, you will end up paying just as much. In some cases, you may even end up paying more.

Sling add channels
Sling TV: The price can add up quick

Here’s an example: Sling TV’s cheapest plans cost $30 per month. Sling TV offers a number of channel packs that you can add to the base package. If you were to subscribe to all of them then it will cost you $45 per month on top of the $30. Now, Sling TV recently started offering a “Total TV Deal” which gives you all of those packs for just $20 per month. However, that still comes out to $50 per month and you may end up with plenty of channels that you don’t even want to begin with – just to max out the discount. And that’s without considering the premium networks that you might want to add which just further increases the price.

With $50 being the current going rate (excluding premium networks) for live TV streaming, Sling TV shouldn’t be considered a cheap service. It can be cheap, but there’s no guarantee you’ll save compared to other services and you may even end up with a lesser quality product overall.

Avoid Sling TV if you want a decent channel lineup and enough perks to enrich the experience.

Reason 4: Sling TV is unnecessarily complicated

As an extension of the last complaint, Sling TV’s a la carte approach is great if you know what you want. However, cord cutting is already complicated enough due to the crazy amount of streaming services you can subscribe to. For many, Sling TV is just further adding to the complications. Again, for some the choice will be great as they can create a custom package to suit their exact needs. For everyone else, and especially those less interested in digging through the details, Sling TV becomes unnecessarily complicated.

sling tv add-on channels
Sling TV: There can be such a thing as too much choice

Even by Sling TV’s own admission, it has more than 30 different “extra options,” and for a lot of people, that’s just too much choice. In comparison, opting for one of the other services will most likely result in picking from one or two simple to digest plans. In some cases (like YouTube TV), it’s just one all-in price making the choice of whether to subscribe or not an easy one.

Avoid Sling TV if you are looking for a simple to understand live TV streaming service.

Reason 5: Sling TV is not about local channels

Sling TV does offer access to local channels. However, your miles will vary with this. While the same is true for all live TV services, your miles are likely to vary more with Sling TV. This is not only in terms of how many local channels you get, but for some, even whether they get any local channels to begin with.

This is somewhat intentional on Sling TV’s part as the service doesn’t really make a case for it being a great local channels solution. In fact, Sling is quite adamant that the best way to get local channels is by adding an antenna to the equation. Dish, Sling TV’s parent, even sells a number of AirTV branded products designed to do just that – add local channels to Sling TV.

Sling locals
Sling TV: Not a great option for local channels

If you go down the antenna route, and especially if you’re buying additional hardware just to make the OTA experience better, then you don’t need Sling TV for local channels. The service might market it as a way to cut the cord with Sling TV, but that’s just a way to cut the cord in general – irrespective of which live TV streaming service you opt for. It is not a Sling TV feature, and neither are locals.

Avoid Sling TV if local channels matter to you.

The bottom line

Sling live TV streaming

If you’ve made it this far then you’re probably wondering if there’s any good reasons to go with Sling. Especially when you consider the Sling TV complaints include the user experience, cloud DVR, it’s not as cheap as it seems, it’s overly complicated, and you might not even get any local channels. However, these points are only raised to make clear the areas where the service lacks the most.

Understanding these points and what you are getting will actually improve your Sling TV experience as you’ll have a clearer expectation of what you’re signing up for beyond the “stop paying too much” marketing spiel.

Again, there are many good reasons to give Sling TV a try, but if any of the reasons mentioned above are deal-breakers for you – avoid Sling TV.

John Finn

By John Finn

John is the founder of Streaming Clarity and has been writing about smartphones and TV-related services and devices since 2014. John streams everything and genuinely believes the best streaming approach is to bounce between streaming services as needed. Contact John via email at john@streamingclarity.com or on Twitter

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