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Do you get local channels with Sling TV? Yes, and it’s easier than it used to be. Originally, the live TV streaming service didn’t offer any local networks in a bid to keep its prices down. But over the years, Sling TV has slowly begun to introduce them. However, the selection is still pretty limited compared to rival streamers.
Sling TV is considered a slimline streaming service. Its range of packages are competitively priced for one reason: they have a small number of channels. The platform splits its content into three plans: Sling Orange, Sling Blue and the combined Sling Orange + Blue. Both Sling Orange and Sling Blue have between 30 to 40 channels. But since popular names like ESPN and NBC are split between the two, subscribers may be forced to pay for the more expensive combined package. (Find out more about Sling TV’s most recent price increase.)
It’s easier to pick your plan if you’re only bothered about local channels, however. The likes of FOX and NBC are only available via the Sling Blue or upgraded Sling Orange + Blue package. But signing up for one of these plans doesn’t mean you’ll be able to access all of the local networks offered by Sling TV. What you’ll get is dependent on where you live. Plus, blackout restrictions and complicated rights mean Sling TV is unable to offer channels in some areas.
Interested in finding out more? Here’s everything you need to know about how to get local channels on Sling TV. For more information about the general service, check out our in-depth Sling TV review.
What Sling TV package do you need to watch local channels?
As explained, only two out of three Sling TV packages offer local channels. To see any kind of local content, you’ll need to subscribe to either the Sling Blue plan or the combined Sling Orange + Blue option. (However, there is one benefit to being a Sling Orange user. Sporting events like NBA basketball games that are broadcast on ABC are available via Sling Orange’s ESPN3.)
|Sling Orange + Blue||$45/mo.||Yes|
Sling Blue is the cheapest way to access local channels through Sling TV. Costing $30/mo., it comes with around 40 channels, including AMC, CNN and NFL Network. Most notably, though, it offers local broadcasts from FOX and NBC. However, these local networks aren’t available across the entire country. Only certain areas can access them, so it’s best to search your ZIP code and see your local results on the Sling TV website before purchasing a subscription. Some regional sports networks are also available to Sling Blue users. Depending on your geographical location, FOX Sports and Comcast SportsNet networks may appear on your TV guide.
But no matter where you live, you’ll receive the ability to watch Sling TV on three devices at once and get access to 10 hours of DVR storage. (For an additional $5/mo., you can upgrade to 50 hours of recording space. Other add-ons, including extra sports and kids’ content, are available.)
Sling Orange + Blue
If you want more sports and family viewing, opt for the combined Sling Orange + Blue plan. It gives you every channel offered by the separate Orange and Blue packages for $45/mo. In this 50+ channel line-up, you’ll find the likes of Disney Channel and ESPN as well as entertainment from Bravo and Comedy Central. But when it comes to local channels, you’ll receive the same FOX and NBC networks as standard Blue subscribers. However, Orange + Blue users do get to enjoy four simultaneous streams, instead of three. The same 10-hour DVR limit applies to all Sling TV users.
You may have noticed that CBS and ABC’s Sling TV coverage doesn’t exist. Unfortunately, there’s no way to access them on Sling without an antenna. Sling didn’t previously offer a free trial either, instead opting to give new subscribers $10 off their first month. But you can now try the service for free for three days.
Does Sling TV require an add-on to watch local channels?
Sling TV does offer a range of tempting add-ons, but none of them will help you in the local channel department. To get hold of the likes of ABC, CBS and The CW, you’ll need to invest in a completely separate streaming service or an antenna device. (More on that below.)
What devices do you need to watch local channels on Sling TV?
Local channels are available on any of Sling TV’s compatible devices. These range from Amazon Fire and Roku devices to web browsers and select phones and tablets. Here’s the full list:
- Amazon Fire TV devices
- Android phones and tablets
- Android TV
- Apple TV
- Google Nest
- iOS phones and tablets
- LG smart TVs
- Oculus Go
- Portal TV
- Roku devices
- Samsung smart TVs
- TiVo Stream 4K
- Xbox One
- Xfinity Flex
- Web browsers (Chrome, Edge, Safari, Windows 10)
A couple of other devices can be used in conjunction with Sling TV to access the service’s missing channels. An over-the-air (OTA) antenna is a simple way to watch local networks from the likes of CBS and PBS. Sling TV users with a 2020 LG smart TV and OTA antenna don’t even have to leave the Sling app — local channels are nicely integrated into the Sling TV guide. AirTV devices also work with Sling TV to merge local channels into your existing TV guide.
The platform currently has a number of AirTV and antenna deals. For example, you can get a high-definition (HD) antenna for free when you prepay for two months of Sling TV. And you can get a free antenna and AirTV 2 if you pay for three months of Sling TV upfront.
Do you need an app?
Sling TV functions as an app, but not all users have to download it. The Sling TV app is built into some devices like certain smart TVs. If you own one of those, all you need to do is find the app on your TV’s interface and sign in. But if you want to access Sling TV on a phone, tablet or game console, you’ll most likely have to search for Sling TV in the relevant app store and download it to access the live TV content.
Alternatively, you can download the Locast app on phones, tablets, computers and Amazon Fire and Roku devices. This is an entirely free way for select cities to access their local channels.
How to watch local channels on Sling TV step-by-step
Accessing Sling TV’s local channels is simple. But we’ve put together a step-by-step guide to help you through the process:
- Step one: Start your three-day free trial by either downloading or opening the Sling TV app on your chosen device. You can also sign up via the Sling TV website on your computer.
- Step two: Enter your email address and password to create your account.
- Step three: Select the Sling Blue or Sling Orange + Blue package to access local channels and add on any extras.
- Step four: Enter payment information and hit Submit.
- Step five: Go ahead and watch your local channels — they’ll all show up on your new TV guide.
- Step six: If you’re happy with the service, you’ll be automatically charged for your first month after your free trial has ended. If you want to cancel, ensure you do so before the three days are up.
To sum it up
Sling TV doesn’t have the biggest range of local channels. So if you care about live local TV, it may not be an ideal streaming service for you. That aside, there are plenty of ways to up your local content. You can invest in an additional standalone service like CBS All Access or NBC’s Peacock for a small monthly fee, or try an HD antenna to catch all the local networks available in your area. Thankfully, Sling TV gives you numerous ways to cut costs, whether by combining a Sling TV subscription with an antenna or trying a more modern AirTV device with your Sling package.
By Lauren Sharkey
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