We are very excited to finally post our hands-on review of Sling TV. We have tested Sling TV on Roku 3, Nexus 7 Android Tablet, and the G-Box Q. Sling TV works smoothly across all platforms with no issues.
UPDATE: We are reciving reports that Sling TV for Android TV boxes like the G-Box Q no longer works. Full details can be found HERE.
In short, here is an overview of Sling TV after testing it out for a week in our house.
Sports Extra Package Details:
From Sling TV: “Sling TV will soon include a “Sports Extra” add-on pack to feature more of your favorite ESPN networks.” We do not know which channels will be available, but one can hope for access to all of the Sling TV channels.
All Sling TV packages will have access to WatchESPN. Your access to channels on WatchESPN will depend on which ones you subscribe to.
When asked if WatchESPN would be available at release, and if you could use WatchESPN on one Roku and use Sling TV app on a different Roku at the same time, we received this reply “WatchESPN access will be available at a later date, but is not available now. We’ll keep you updated. When it is available, you can only watch Sling TV or Watch ESPN, but not both at the same time because your Sling TV credentials are single-streaming.” I do expect WatchESPN to be available when it is available to the public.
The ESPN and ESPN2 feeds on Sling TV are taken from WatchESPN so no commercials are shown.
That is all we know right now, but it is exciting to hear more ESPN channels are on their way. I would pay $25 for just getting all the ESPN channels and consider the rest a bonus.
Overview of Sling TV:
You cannot pause and rewind all channels. Some will allow you to do that, but most will not. When asked about it we received the following statement “At this time, those functions are only available on Scripps channels. More to come.” Hopefully this is an issue that will be fixed before the public release.
WatchESPN will be available in all packages.
The quality of Sling TV is similar to WatchESPN and Hulu.
All channels will have some on-demand content. Some shows only have one or two episodes; others have full seasons for free.
There are currently 20 channels, and will be 21 at release with Maker Content being the 21st channel.
If you are interested in watching your favorite actor, or work by a specific director, Sling TV VOD has an option which allows you to search all available shows for their work.
The controls for limiting the bandwidth used are simple to use (they are also very forgiving for people who are having a bad internet day like I was).
The Sling TV app will aggressively cut you off as soon as you start a second stream on a different device.
Controls on the Roku 3 Remote.
Clicking the OK button brings up the on screen guide and channel selection.
Hitting the back button with no menu brings you to the last used channel.
Hitting the star key brings up the menu for settings etc.
Options on all devices.
Smart zoom to always keep the content in wide screen (works very well).
An 1-888 number for tech support is available for Sling TV subscribers.
A closed caption option that seems to work very well in my limited testing.
You can name the device, but I am unsure of the reasoning behind that at this time. Hopefully it will allow parental controls on individual boxes; so the family room could be on a stricter setting than the master bedroom or office box.
From Sling TV: “As we move forward, our VOD catalog will continue to expand. Specifically, every channel will soon include more VOD titles. This gives our consumers the ability to watch when, how and where they want on their schedule and on their devices.”
The rental terms are very similar to those of Amazon Instant. You have 30 days to start watching your rental and 24 hours after you start to finish it.
There is also a movie section to rent new and older movies.
There is a great selection of categories to find the movie you want.
We are very pleased with the technical experience of Sling TV. It plays smoothly, and even on the days we had poor internet (we pay for 10 down, and one day during filming we only got 3 down) it worked well. The experience of moving between devices was smooth, and it remembered which channel you last watched on your other device.
If you need live sports this is the best way to get ESPN; especially with the soon-to-come Sports Extra package, making this the perfect way for sports fans to cut the cord from the $100 cable bill.
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