Experiences with SlingTV?
July 26, 2017 9:39 AM   Subscribe

Hi! I want to quit cable but I can't figure out how to watch the major league baseball playoffs. I can't get over-the-air channels at my house. It seems like SlingTV is the only option. Have you tried it? How does it work?

If you know of other (legal and reliable) ways for watching the baseball playoffs that's great too.
posted by something something to Media & Arts (14 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
I have Sling and LOVE IT. I'm not much of a sports-watching person, but I watch HBO and BBC America and Turner Classic Movies live without a hitch. Works perfectly by way of my Amazon FireStick.
posted by kittyb at 9:44 AM on July 26, 2017

Seems to do okay. It's going to be an app on your smart TV, Roku, Apple TV, Firestick, etc. They also have mobile apps for tablets, which I've gotten a lot of use out of when traveling.

They offer a free trial period, which will let you confirm that you're getting the channels you expect.

About my only pain point is that their app does not seem to do as well on playback, stopping, starting, resuming, etc. as Netflix and Amazon Prime Video do. But this probably won't affect you much if you're mainly using it to watch live sports.
posted by randomkeystrike at 9:52 AM on July 26, 2017 [1 favorite]

I got it for international football and it works great on my laptop and on my ipad. My only issue with it is that I can't get it to work on my ps4 and thus on my tv without connecting it to my laptop. Anyway it's $10/mo and well worth the cost.
posted by poffin boffin at 9:52 AM on July 26, 2017

I have it, love it, and it fits my needs perfectly. Like randomkeystrike, my complaint about it is that sometimes when you take a break from watching an on-demand show, it doesn't remember where you left off and doesn't let you fast forward back to that point when you resume.

Also be advised that OTA broadcast channels aren't available through Sling in all markets, although it sounds like you may have already looked into that.
posted by mudpuppie at 10:33 AM on July 26, 2017

i used sling last year (spring 2016) for college basketball season and liked it well enough. my one annoyable was the navigation and response seemed kinda slow on my fire stick when trying to change channels/browse/etc. i ultimately just used my sling account on the espn application to stream games.
posted by noloveforned at 10:58 AM on July 26, 2017

In theory, Sling is great. In practice, navigation can be a pain and streaming speed not so consistent. But I suspect a lot of the latter (which is the real problem) has to do with how much your particular ISP sucks. You should be able to tell whether it's the case for you within the one-week trial period.

They often offer some kind of deal where you can get free or discounted hardware if you prepay two or three months in advance when you start. If you're happy after the trial, might be worth looking out for.
posted by praemunire at 11:02 AM on July 26, 2017

I think it depends where you're living. We got it to use in upstate NY and the stream kept freezing and closing down and it was a nightmare. We canceled after just a few days.
posted by silverstatue at 11:08 AM on July 26, 2017

Pretty happy with Sling. I use it for sports (ESPN, NBA games) and cooking/travel shows. It's better on my Roku than my Fire stick.
posted by gnutron at 11:28 AM on July 26, 2017

It's really easy to try, assuming you already have some sort of streaming device (which if you're cutting the cord, you will want to have, such as a Fire Stick). See how it works for you.
posted by wnissen at 11:33 AM on July 26, 2017

Warning: there's a slight lag with SlingTV (or any other internet TV service) such that if you enjoy following sports on a second screen (Twitter/forums/box scores), things will be spoiled for you just before you see them onscreen. Perhaps not an issue in baseball because the action is more intermittent, but it's a complete dealbreaker for me as a basketball fan.
posted by acidic at 12:53 PM on July 26, 2017

I like SlingTV; I've had it since it first came out in one form or the other. I like that I can change my packages on the fly to obtain and lose channels as needed. The cost is prorated for the month. It's a very "fair" pricing scheme.

There's some really obscure channels you can get through Sling at a reasonable price.

That being said, the technology can be hit or miss. A couple of my complaints:

A) You cannot watch Sling through a browser, you need to install their app. They have apps for Windows and OSX that work just fine, but if you don't have admin rights, you won't be able to use it.
B) Navigation sucks, as someone else mentioned. The tabs make no sense
C) It doesn't stream live content in surround sound. On-demand does have surround sound.
D) The stream can be delayed from live-TV. For the NHL playoffs it was frustrating to get text updates from friends before I saw what happened. I just had to ignore my phone.
E) The on-demand portfolio does not match what the same channels offer on traditional cable. That being said, it's still decent.

Like I said, I still use it and like it. But it's not at parity with cable just yet.
posted by teabag at 1:34 PM on July 26, 2017

Also might want to double and triple check that live local channels are available if that's important to you. It says that it has ABC in my area, for example, but you can't watch it live.
posted by empath at 2:01 PM on July 26, 2017

You can still buy a Slingbox M2 from Amazon or Best Buy, although you have to check your local Best Buy for stock. I bought in March 2017 and still found one at a Best Buy. This is different from SlingTV.

If you have a friend who gets cable channels and will also be watching the playoffs, then you can plug the Slingbox into your friend's cable box, and then you can stream whatever is flowing through the cable box to your local TV via an app on your iPhone or iPad. You can turn on the cable box and change the channels remotely with the app. If your friend changes the channels on the cable box, then you see whatever channel they've selected.

Once you pay for the Slingbox M2 there's no additional monthly fee. The SlingBox app is free. (There are two: pick the free one.)

The TV doesn't have to be on at your friend's house; only the cable box, so if they want peace and quiet you can still be watching the game. The only conflict is if they want to watch something else while you're watching the game.

It also has navigation problems that sound similar to what other people have described with SlingTV, but these problems are simply (very) annoying--they don't prevent you from watching.

The iPad version of the app seems less reliable than the iPhone version. Even so I usually use the iPad version because navigation is easier. Sometimes I watch for hours without trouble, but once I restarted the iPad three times in 10 minutes to keep watching. I would say that out of 10 viewing sessions you could expect to restart once. This ends up taking a couple of minutes once you take into account re-navigating into the app. It's really hard to tell if the problem is with the app, or the internet connection at the source, or our local internet. The restarts I've done might have had nothing to do with the problem, if they were actually caused by connectivity.

It uses up the battery on your iDevice so you need to keep that plugged in while watching.

I would say you could watch the vast majority of the playoffs very happily this way, and the odds of a problem happening during a key moment are low--but it could happen.
posted by lockedroomguy at 2:11 AM on July 27, 2017

Just chiming in to say that Sling TV is not necessarily your only option. You should be able to watch on Playstation Vue, for example, and you don't need a Playstation necessarily if you have some kind of streaming device (like Roku, Apple TV, Fire stick).
posted by cabingirl at 3:02 AM on July 27, 2017

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