It seems more and more people are trying to cut the cord these days. We’re no exception, and we had a perfect opportunity to try it.
When we moved into our house, we were unable to transfer our existing cable TV and Internet package through Comcast due to an exclusive deal with another ISP.
So, we had a choice to make: when we got new service, would we get actual cable TV through the internet company again? Or would we stick to just internet and find an alternative for watching TV?
We did some soul-searching. And by that I mean we figured out if we could make it work. For us, it was making sure we could still watch the shows we wanted.
I rarely watch TV (just a few shows) and Kristin watches shows on just a few networks. The Cable TV package we had previously was way overkill. This is a pretty common rhetoric for any TV-watcher I talk to. In general we have 200 channels but only watch maybe 5 or 6, at most.
We are no exception. Most of our TV-viewing occurs on a handful of networks:
- Bravo (Real Housewives of Anything)
- Lifetime/LMN (AKA the “Men Are Horrible and Women Are Crazy Network”)
- HGTV (Anything with the Scott Brothers…we heart the Scott Brothers)
- Oxygen (I didn’t want to end up on Snapped, which Kristin occasionally watches…)
- FX (American Horror Story)
- And occasionally HBO (West World and Game of Thrones, neither of which are on right now anyway)
During football season, ESPN sometimes comes on, but watching football wasn’t a chief concern since it’s less than half of the year. We can also go to the bar or a friend’s house in a pinch if needed.
With that in mind, we set out to find how we could watch all of our shows without paying for a Cable TV package.
With our list ready, this whole thing comes down to finding another service that fits our needs and is a reasonable cost. We had a few options here when it came down to it. One was to look at services we already had for other purposes. We have Netflix and Amazon Prime, and also leech some Hulu.
Overall we already have a ton of entertainment options at our finger-tips. But none of them really give us what we wanted – and what we had with our old Cable TV package.
A big reason these weren’t ideal for us is that we wanted to be able to watch shows as they were airing instead of waiting in some cases nearly a full year to watch them. Yeah, we’re spoiled and love our instant gratification. Sue us. 🙂
After doing a few hours of research, everything seemed to point to SlingTV being a service that’d match our consumption needs. Let’s dive in on what we get.
SlingTV Service Offerings, Pros, and Cons
For starters, a few things on what SlingTV isn’t.
- It’s not a cable company. They have deals with TV networks and are a streaming service.
- You don’t have any contract to deal with. If you change your mind, just cancel.
- It’s not a create-your-own-package offering. There are pre-selected packages and add-ons, and you can get whatever suits your needs. Thankfully they’re all reasonably priced.
- It doesn’t replace all local channels. Thankfully, over-the-air antennas can do the trick just fine.
They have two basic packages which they call Sling Blue for $20/month and Sling Orange for $25. For many people, this will take care of all of their TV needs.
We opted for Sling Blue which had most of the channels we watched.
To keep up on the other shows we watch, we had to also add on the Lifetime Extras package for an additional $5/month. We will consider paying for HBO once the shows we watch are back in season. Until then, we can avoid that add-on.
I opted to sign-up for two months of service so that we’d get a free Roku. Woot!! That bad boy doesn’t stream 4k, but we’ll eventually buy a new one that does. For now, this does the trick.
The sign-up process was insanely easy. Pick your base package, pick any add-ons, pay. If you pre-pay two months, you get that Roku. If you don’t, no big deal – Sling works with Android TV and a bunch of other devices.
So we knew that we could get all of the channels we want to watch for about $30 bucks a month. Our goal amount was less than $100 for everything.
Could we get FAST internet (enough to support streaming of our shows now, and me playing video games at the same time) for $70?
Uh, yeah. Obviously. Let’s compare bills.
- Our old bill for 100MBPS internet and cable TV rang in at a whopping $134 and change (even with our own modem)! Good riddance, ultimately. For the record, just going down to internet on this plan would have been about $55…we were paying an extra $80 for TV!
- New bill for just internet: $45 and change.
- SlingTV Blue Package ($25) + Lifestyle Extra add on ($5): $30 and change
- Overall: About $80-$85 with taxes and fees
What About Quality?
The cost is great, but my biggest concern was quality. After all, what good is it to switch to a cheaper service if it was going to be choppy or unreliable?
Thankfully, so far Sling has had a very strong showing for us. Normally there’s about a 2-3 second point after switching to a different channel where it’s fuzzy, but that clears up. Audio comes through right away and it’s rare that anything super-critical goes wrong.
Also of note is that some channels will let you start their programming over. This is negotiated with Sling, so which channels get that perk and which don’t will vary. Heck, for all I know it could be limited to specific shows too. It’s nice, but don’t count on it.
If you’re really that concerned, you can also add a DVR option (which we may do) for a few extra bucks a month. The biggest reason we would do that is to allow us to watch TV when it’s convenient for us, not when it’s convenient for the network. For now, we’re fine without it.
To me, the biggest drawback in terms of quality though is that there’s a short delay in programming. The other day we were watching football and we had the windows open. We heard our next-door neighbor cheer in delight at a play which aired for us about 3-4 seconds later.
Not the end of the world, but definitely something to keep in mind if you’re keeping up on anything on Twitter, or have noisy (awesome) neighbors (hi neighbors!). 🙂
Overall we’ve been using SlingTV for a few weeks and it’s been a pretty seamless transition. It’s less expensive, the quality so far has been good, and it’s got exactly what we need.
If you’re trying to cut down your Cable TV bill but don’t want to totally stop watching TV, I’d highly recommend giving Sling a look. In an ideal world you could watch everything you wanted to over the air, but alas, Kristin’s gotta keep up with her Housewives…
Do you still pay for cable TV? Would you consider switching to something else or cutting it out altogether?
Note: Those links above are Affiliate links which means if you sign up for SlingTV or purchase an Amazon product with them, I get a small kickback. The Amazon links take you to Amazon Smile so that part of your purchase also gets donated to a charity of your choice. Don’t worry, it costs you exactly the same! That money helps support the site.