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Sling TV does provide access to local channels, but not all subscribers can access them. Firstly, Sling TV does not offer quite as many local channels as some other services. Secondly, Sling TV only offers access to locals in certain cities. Whether Sling has the right local channels for an individual depends on the locals they need and where they are accessing the service from.
Sling TV is one of the oldest live TV streaming services in the U.S. In spite of the increased competition from the likes of Hulu Live TV and YouTube TV, Sling TV has managed to maintain a healthy user base. One of the reasons for this is the service’s emphasis on value. While other services hover around $50 per month, Sling TV’s plans start at $30 per month. However, that lower price does come with some compromises and local channels are a prime example.
Sling TV has locals, but not all
Having access to local channels is important for many and especially when it comes to accessing local news and sports. While Sling TV does provide access to local channels, it doesn’t provide access to as many locals as other services.
As of right now, the choice of local channels through Sling TV largely comes down to NBC and Fox. Those looking for local channels from ABC, CBS, PBS, and others, will find Sling TV is not the right service for them.
Another major caveat with Sling TV’s locals is location. While it is to be expected that subscribers can only access local channels that are broadcasting in their local area, for some, even that’s not possible with Sling TV.
Locals, but not everywhere
While Sling TV offers access to NBC and Fox locals, that is only in select cities. For example, Sling TV currently only lists local channel support in just over twenty cities in the United States. Furthermore, Even in those twenty something cities, not all of them show support for both NBC and Fox. As a result, even if a subscriber is looking specifically for NBC or Fox locals, and in a city where Sling TV currently offers locals, there’s still no guarantee they’ll get the local channel they want.
Below is an up to date list of every city in the U.S. that Sling TV offers either access to NBC locals, Fox locals, or both. Any city not listed below is unlikely to have access to any local channels.
Sling TV NBC & Fox locals:
|San Francisco/Oakland/San Jose||✔||✔|
Sling TV’s local channels workaround
Anyone who has signed up to Sling TV may have noticed the service almost always offers various new subscriber deals. A lot of the time these deals involve prepaying for two or three months of service and getting an AirTV device for free in the process.
While some are designed to be streaming players that can access Sling TV, others are purposely designed to make access to local channels easier. What’s more, these devices tend to merge channel lists together so that when an antenna is connected to the setup, and local channels are received, they are displayed alongside the digital channels provided over the internet by Sling.
Although the additional hardware is not an ideal solution, it is an example of one of the ways Sling TV is trying to bridge the gap between the local channels it offers and those that are missing. Therefore, while Sling TV doesn’t offer all locals, or in all areas, it does offer options for those that need those missing channels.
The benefit of Sling’s approach here is that the access to local channels is free. Accessing them using the Sling TV approach is no different to accessing them without a Sling TV subscription and therefore, there are no additional costs involved. Likewise, no likelihood of a price increase anytime soon.
The downside is that this level of access is no different to accessing local channels without a live TV subscription. In other words, consumers will only get access to local channels that are within reach of the antenna, and the quality will be at the mercy of the receiving signal.
Sling TV local channels summary
Overall, Sling TV does provide access to local channels. However, the channel, as well as the location of the subscriber, affects whether local channels are available or not. Without the use of additional hardware, the best case scenario for Sling TV subscribers is that they will get access to both NBC and Fox locals.
In some cases, subscribers may find they get access to NBC or Fox locals, but not both. While other subscribers will find they are unable to access any local channels at all through Sling TV, without relying on additional hardware.