>> Get it now at Sling, Free
At the end of these Zoom-addled, spine-obliterating WFH days, most people just want to turn off their brain and zone out as hard as possible. (At least, that's where I'm at.) For me, that usually means booting up my TV for a nightly staring contest with the familiar thumbnail grids of my various streaming services. There has never been more good stuff to watch. There have never been more viewing guides telling me what the good stuff to watch is. And yet, I am paralyzed. By indecision. By the sheer commitment of choosing what to actually watch.
Maybe it's just nostalgia for a simpler time before the global pandemic, but what I really crave at this moment is a lumpy armchair, a tube television with a cable hook-up, and a big honking remote control to rip through channels. What I need right now is for a show to choose me. And, luckily, I recently found just that...in a streaming service.
$0.00, Sling TV
Sling TV is a streaming platform owned by Dish Network. (You know, the company that makes the physical dishes people used to get installed on top of their homes.) It gives you access to a lot of the live programming you would've gotten on satellite TV, and it allows you to review your options on that oh-so-comforting spreadsheet of a channel guide that plots the network name on the y-axis, and time on the x-axis. (As the hours and days blend together, these half-hour-bound programming schedules are as comforting and delightful as the #oddlysatisfying feed.)
The service allows you to stream some shows from these channels, like you would on Netflix or Disney+, but what really drew me in is the live TV option, where you'll find a time capsule of stations you probably watched in your youth: Nickelodeon, Food Network, and USA among them, to name a few personal faves. Perhaps you've forgotten the joy of inadvertantly landing on a show you absolutely hate? It can be a sublime experience, and one you simply cannot have if forced to choose your content. For me that show is The Big Bang Theory. I found 90 seconds of its extremely predictable rhythms quickly lulled me into a pleasant stupor.
Sling TV has three plans, the cheapest clocking in at $30 a month—not exactly cheap when stacked up against other streaming services. But in comparison, that is less than what you'd pay to get the Disney+ bundle, a Netflix subscription, and a CBS All-Access pass together. And if you compare $30 to the cost of cable, you're saving a boatload. If you want to "cut the cord," as they say, this might be the least painful way to do: you're cable-free, but you don't have to give up news from CNN, reality TV from Bravo, or sports from ESPN.
If you want to give it a test run, there's never been a better time than now—and not just because you're stuck inside. The Sling TV free trial usually only lasts for a week, but if you sign up before this Monday, your trial will last for two full weeks. The best part? You don't have to fork over your credit card information to actually sign up. That means you're not accidentally going to end up paying for the service if you don't use it. Below, we've answered some more basic questions about the service.
Is Sling TV free?
Sling has three plans. The most basic plan is the $30 Sling Orange plan, which allows one person to stream at a time. The Sling Blue plan also costs $30, but allows for more people to stream at a time—the difference lies in channel selection. The Orange package has ESPN and Freeform, while Blue comes with MSNBC and Fox Sports. You can find more details about the service here—or just get access to all the channels with the $45 Sling Blue + Orange option. The service also has a free tier, which doesn't include the same live TV services, but does get you a pretty decent streaming library.
Does Sling TV have local channels?
In select cities, Sling has local programming from NBC and Fox. If you'd like local programming, consider just getting an HDTV antenna.
Can you record on Sling TV?
You can record shows on Sling TV, but you have to pay an extra $5 a month for the company's Cloud DVR service.
What channels are available on the Sling TV?
You can see a full list of channels here. The largest plan, the Orange + Blue plan, includes over 50 channels. To name just some of the highlights: There are plenty for sports (ESPN, ESPN 2, ESPN3, TNT, NBC Sports, NFL Nework, NBC Sports Network, FS1, Stadium), entertainment (AMC, TBS, USA, TLC, HGTV, Comedy Central, History, A&E, IFC, Food Network, BBC America, ID, Travl, Epix, Lifetime, Vice, Axs TV, Fuse, Freeform, Motortrend, Discovery, FX, Syfy, Bravo, National Geographic, BET, TruTV, Comet, E!, Paramount Network), news (CNN, Fox News, MSNBC, HLN, Newsy, Bloomberg Television, Cheddar Business, Cheddar News, Local Now), local TV (depending on your market, Fox and NBC), and kids (Cartoon Network, Disney, Nick Jr).
Does Sling TV have on-demand?
It does! You can use the service to watch a selection of programming from the networks you can also stream on the service.
$0.00, Sling TV
Originally Appeared on GQ