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- Both plans cost $30/mo. — two of the most affordable live TV streaming options on the market.
- Sling Orange has ESPN and Disney Channel, while Blue includes FOX, NBC and Discovery Channel.
- Sling Blue offers a far better channel lineup overall, but sports fans will miss out on ESPN.
- If you can’t decide between the two, you can combine them for $45/mo.
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With more than 2.3 million subscribers, Sling TV is one of the most popular live TV streaming services on the market. Much of that is about price. Sling’s Orange and Blue plans both cost $30/mo. — far cheaper than cable TV and most live TV streaming services.
But which one is actually better? The choice comes down to which channels you care about the most, but overall, Sling Blue clearly offers better value. It includes 14 more channels and lets you stream on three devices at once compared to just one for Orange. The one trump card Orange has? It carries ESPN. In fact, it’s still the cheapest way to access the popular sports network.
|Sling Orange||Sling Blue||Sling Orange + Blue|
|Number of channels||31||45||51|
|DVR storage||10 hours||10 hours||10 hours|
Pricing per month plus taxes for length of contract. Additional fees and terms may apply. Pricing varies by location and availability. All prices subject to change at any time. May or may not be available based on service address. As of 07/01/20.
Sling Blue has a much better channel lineup than Orange. You’ll get 14 more channels in total with Blue, but the quality is better, too. Blue gives you access to some of the most popular channels on TV, including locals like FOX and NBC, plus cable standbys like Discovery Channel and FX.
The list of channels that are exclusive to Sling Orange is a lot shorter. In fact, the arguments in favor of Orange basically come down to two channels: ESPN and Disney Channel. They just happen to be must-haves for a lot of viewers.
Here’s how the two plans compare for some of the top channels:
|Channel||Sling Orange||Sling Blue|
If you can live without ESPN, Disney Channel and Freeform, go with Orange. In our analysis of the best live TV streaming services, Blue received a 6.2 out of 10 for its channel lineup, while Orange got just 4.0 — dead last of the 18 plans we looked at.
Neither Sling Orange or Blue are particularly great streaming plans for sports fans. In fact, of the services that offer any sports channels, Sling ranks as the very worst. If watching live games is important to you, you might be better off upgrading to YouTube TV for $50/mo.
But in a head-to-head matchup, Sling Orange is a slightly better option. That’s due almost entirely to its inclusion of three ESPN channels. You’ll still miss out on local channels with Orange, but these are relatively easy to get for free with a TV antenna or the streaming app Locast. ESPN isn’t so easily replaced.
|League||Sling Orange||Sling Blue||Neither|
|NFL||ESPN||FOX NBC||CBS NFL Network|
|MLB||ESPN ESPN2 TBS||FOX FS1 TBS||MLB Network*|
|NBA||ESPN TNT||TNT||ABC NBA TV*|
|NHL||✘||NBC NBC Sports USA||NHL Network*|
|NCAA||ESPN ESPN2 ESPN3||FOX||ABC, ACC Network, Big Ten Network, CBS, Pac-12 Network*, SEC Network|
*Available in Sports Extra add-on for $10/mo.
Orange also has the edge when it comes to your local MLB, NBA and NHL team’s games, but unfortunately, neither plan is very good for these. Sling only carries three regional sports networks: NBC Sports Bay Area, NBC Sports California and NBC Sports Washington. If you don’t live in those markets, you won’t be able to see most of your team’s games.
If you have multiple people in the house who want to watch different shows, Blue is the better option. You can only stream on one device at a time with Sling Orange, while Blue allows up to three simultaneous streams. Additionally, if you upgrade to Orange + Blue, you can stream on four devices at once — the most that any live TV streaming service plan offers.
Cloud DVR storage
Both Orange and Blue include 10 hours of cloud DVR storage. If you need more, you can upgrade to 50 hours for an extra $5/mo.
Which one should you get?
For almost everyone, Sling Blue is a much better option than Orange. You’ll get 14 more channels, and they’re some of the most popular ones around. FOX, NBC, Discovery Channel
and FX are all included in Blue but not Orange. Sling Blue also allows you to stream on three devices at once compared to just one for Orange.
There is one group who will be better off with Sling Orange. Because it includes ESPN networks, sports fans will be able to catch more live games with Orange than Blue. And even though its channel lineup is weak overall, it’s still the cheapest live TV streaming plan that carries ESPN.
Other streaming services to consider
Even though Sling is one of the most popular live TV streaming services on the market, it actually graded out as one of the worst in our analysis.
AT&T Watch TV
If you’re cutting the cord primarily to save money, Watch TV is the service for you. At just $15/mo., it costs barely more than a Netflix subscription, and still gets you 40 channels, including Discovery Channel, A&E, TNT, TBS, History, AMC and Food Network. You won’t get any live sports, though, and the only news channels it carries are BBC World News and CNN.
Channel selection aside, Watch TV is pretty bare bones. It doesn’t offer cloud DVR storage, and you’ll only be able to stream on one device at a time. But supplemented with a TV antenna or the free Locast app, Watch TV actually does a pretty solid job of replacing your cable package for an incredibly low price.
Philo costs just $20/mo., and has most of the same pros and cons as AT&T Watch TV. Its channel lineup is actually slightly worse, but you’ll get unlimited DVR storage, three simultaneous streams and a much better user experience. That said, it doesn’t carry any sports channels, either. Sling is still the cheapest streaming service that lets you watch live games.
Our choice for the best streaming service overall, YouTube TV is a significant step up in price from Sling’s plans. It costs $65/mo., but you’ll get one of the best channel lineups in streaming, including almost every channel that airs live sports. YouTube TV also comes with unlimited DVR storage, and is more enjoyable to use than any other service.
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Written by:Joe Supan
Senior Writer, Wireless & Streaming Content
Joe oversees all things wireless and streaming for Allconnect. He has utilized thousands of data points to build a library of metrics to help users navigate these complex spaces. These in… Read more