Category Archives: 2. Streaming Devices

Video Streaming Devices, Media Players

What is Roku?

Roku Explained: Supports Netflix, DirecTV Now, Hulu, Sling TV and More

What is RokuIf you’ve been thinking about cutting the cord or just want to be able to stream Netflix and other apps on your TV, you may have heard about a product called Roku. You also may be wondering “What is a Roku?”

Most of us know Roku as a small black box that allows you to instantly stream your favorite TV shows and movies to your TV, but most are unaware of how much content is really available, and that there is now a Roku TV, Roku Stick and new Roku boxes available. Not only can you stream tens of thousands of movies and TV shows from services like Netflix, Hulu, Sling TVDirecTV Now & Amazon Video On Demand (VOD), but you can also stream sports without cable and music from Pandora, iTunes, and MOG.

Roku offers seven types of streaming devices and is widely used by people looking for cost-effective alternatives to Cable Television. Their product suite includes a line of streaming players, a streaming stick, and TVs with built-in Roku streaming technology.

Roku Channels

Continue reading What is Roku?

What is Sling TV? Review, Channel List, Cost, and More

sling tv review

Gone are the days where cable TV providers were “the only game in town”. Today, we have a variety of options for getting the entertainment we crave. Even when it comes to live TV, there are ways to watch without cable TV. Sling TV is one great option. But what is Sling TV? How does it work? Find out more in our full Sling TV review!

 

What is Sling TV?

Sling TV is an online streaming service that provides access to live TV channels. It’s a viable alternative to cable TV, because it provides a wide variety of TV channels which you can watch live. There’s also a limited on-demand selection to watch.

Sling TV is a paid service, with plans starting at $25 per month. So it’s not free – but it’s definitely cheaper than cable, and the Sling TV cost is competitive with other streaming services. You can choose a base package and then add on extra channels, offered in packs of 5-10+ channels.

Sling TV is the oldest and most-established streaming service of its type. It started back in 2015, and now boasts more than 2.2 million subscribers. Find out more about this service in our full Sling TV review below.

 

How Sling TV Works

Sling TV works over the internet. You will need to have reliable high-speed internet access in order to use the service. You’ll also need a compatible streaming player, like a Roku or Apple TV. You can also use your smartphone, smart TV or computer. Here are the basics of how Sling TV works:

  1. Sign up here for Sling TV (you can start with a free 7 day trial)
  2. Select your base channel package (23-40+ channels)
  3. Select add-on packages (5-10+ channels for extra $5 a month)
  4. Sign into your account
  5. Start watching LIVE TV on your computer
  6. Sign into Sling TV on other devices
  7. Enjoy live TV streaming on all your favorite devices
  8. You pay month-to-month, and are free to cancel your subscription at any time

It’s that easy! With Sling TV, you can be set up and watching your favorite shows in a matter of minutes. And if it doesn’t work out for you, you can cancel at any time since there is no contract.

Of all the streaming services, Sling offers one of the most customizable channel lineups. You start off with a small (and cheap) base package for $25 per month, and then add on specific types of channels that you like – instead of being forced to buy a larger bundle of channels you may or may not actually watch. This is one of the big perks of a Sling TV membership.

 

Sling TV Technical Features

What is Sling TV offering in terms of technical features?

Streaming quality – full HD 1080p. Streaming quality will depend on your internet speeds.

Frames per second – some channels offer 60fps, while most are covered at 30fps (this video demonstrates the difference between 30fps and 60fps).

Device compatibility – works on most devices. Sling TV devices include Roku, Chromecast, Apple TV, Android TV, Amazon Fire TV, Android and iOS mobile devices, computers, AirTV, Xiaomi Mi, select LG and Samsung smart TVs, and Xbox One.

DVR recording – a cloud DVR feature is available, but it costs extra. Currently, it’s $5 a month and comes with 50 hours of recording storage.

Simultaneous streaming – varies depending on your package. Sling Orange offers only 1 stream, while Sling Blue has 3 simultaneous streams.

 

Sling TV Channel Lineup

The Sling TV channels list will depend on which package you choose. There are several different options, as outlined below.

Base Packages

Sling Orange – includes 30+ networks for $25/mo. Channels include ESPN, AMC, CNN, Cheddar, HGTV, Comedy Central, Cartoon Network/Adult Swim, History, Disney Channel, ESPN2, ESPN3, TNT, ACC Network Extra, Food Network, TBS, BBC America, Freeform, IFC, EPIX Drive-In, Tribeca Shortlist, A&E, Viceland, Lifetime, Travel Channel, AXS.TV, Fuse, Newsy, Cheddar Business, Bloomberg Television, and Local Now.

Sling Blue – includes 40+ networks for $25/mo. Channels include FOX, NBC, FOX Sports, and NBC Sports in select markets, and nationwide coverage of NFL Network, AMC, FX, CNN, Cheddar News, HGTV, Comedy Central, Cartoon Network/Adult Swim, History, TNT, Bravo, Food Network, FS1, FS2, NBCSN, TBS, BBC America, FXX, SyFy, NickJr, IFC, EPIX Drive-In, Tribeca Shortlist, A&E, Viceland, TruTV, Lifetime, Travel Channel, AXS.TV, Fuse, BET, National Geographic, Nat Geo Wild, Newsy, Cheddar Business, Bloomberg Television, and Local Now.

Sling Orange + Blue – Includes 45+ networks for $40 per month. This package combines everything in Sling Orange and Sling Blue, for a 20% savings.

Other Channel Packages & Features

In addition to these base packages, Sling also offers a wide variety of add-ons. These can expand your Sling TV channels list with specific types of channels. They can be added onto either base package – however do note that the lineup varies slightly depending on which package you have. These include:

Cloud DVR – $5/mo for ability to record live TV

Cloud DVR – $5/mo – adds the ability to record live TV to watch later. Comes with 50 hours of storage. Costs the same for both base packages.

Hollywood Extra – $5/mo for extra movie channels

Hollywood Extra – $5/mo for Fandor Festival, REELZ, HD Net Movies, Sundance TV, Turner Classic Movies, Cinemoi North America, The Film Detective. Selection and pricing is the same for both base packages.

Heartland Extra – $5/mo for extra outdoors/rural lifestyle channels

Heartland Extra – $5/mo for World Fishing Network, Sportsman Channel, Outdoor Channel, Ride TV, RFD-TV, PixL, The Cowboy Channel. Selection and pricing is the same for both base packages.

Comedy Extra – $5/mo for more funny channels

Sling Orange + Comedy Extra – $5/mo – adds MTV, TruTV, Paramount Network, MTV2, CMT, Logo, GSN, TV Land, Revolt

Sling Blue + Comedy Extra – $5/mo – adds MTV, Paramount Network, MTV2, CMT, Logo, GSN, TV Land, Revolt

Kids Extra – $5/mo for more kids programming

Sling Orange + Kids Extra – $5/mo – adds Disney Junior, Disney XD, NickJr, NickToons, TeenNick, Boomerang, BabyTV and DuckTV.

Sling Blue + Kids Extra – $5/mo – adds NickToons, TeenNick, Boomerang, BabyTV and DuckTV.

Sports Extra – $5-$10/mo for extra channels to watch sports online

Sling Orange + Sports Extra ($5/mo) – adds NBA TV, SEC Network, SEC Network+, Pac12 Network, ESPNU, ESPNEWS, NHL Network, BeIn Sports, ESPN Goal Line, ESPN Bases Loaded, Stadium, Outside TV and Motorsport.tv.

Sling Blue + Sports Extra ($10/mo) – adds NFL RedZone, NBA TV, NHL Network, GOLF, BeIn Sports, Pac12 Network, Stadium, Outside TV, Olympic Channel and Motorsport.tv.

News Extra – $5/mo for extra news coverage

Sling Orange + News Extra – $5/mo for BBC World News, TheBlaze, HLN, Weather Nation, Fusion, Euronews, News18, RT, CGTN

Sling Blue + News Extra – $5/mo for MSNBC, CNBC, BBC World News, TheBlaze, HLN, Weather Nation, Euronews, France24, News18, NDTV 24×7, RT, CGTN

Lifestyle Extra – $5/mo for extra entertainment channels

Sling Orange + Lifestyle Extra – $5/mo for VH1, BET, Cooking Channel, DIY, FYI, Hallmark Channel, WEtv, Lifetime Movies, Halmark Movies & Mysteries, Hallmark Drama, Vibrant TV Network, ZLiving, Afro

Sling Blue + Lifestyle Extra – $5/mo for VH1, E!, Oxygen, Cooking Channel, DIY Network, FYI, Hallmark Channel, WEtv, Lifetime Movies, Hallmark Movies & Mysteries, Hallmark Drama, Vibrant TV Network, ZLiving, Afro

Premium Channels

Sling TV also offers premium channels. These are available as add-ons to expand your Sling TV channel lineup.

Note: Sling TV usually offers HBO and Cinemax, but recently the channels have become unavailable due to a contract dispute. We’ll update this guide if they become available again.

Starz – $9 per month

Showtime – $10 per month

EPIX – $5 per month

CuriosityStream – $3 per month

Docurama – $5 per month

Grokker – $7 per month

Here TV – $8 per month

CONtv – $5 per month

UP Faith & Family – $5 per month

PANTAYA – $6 per month

Outside TV Features – $5 per month

Dove Channel – $5 per month

Stingray Karaoke – $7 per month

NBA League Pass – $29/mo for entire league, $18/mo for 1 team

In addition, Sling also offers some international packages, including a package of Spanish-language channels.

 

Sling TV Cost

The Sling TV price depends on the package you select. Prices are detailed in full above, but here’s a recap:

Sling Orange – $25/mo, no contract

Sling Blue – $25/mo, no contract

Sling Orange + Blue – $40/mo, no contract

Add on packages – $5/mo, no contract (Sports Extra is $10/mo, the rest are $5).

Premium channels – $3-$15/mo, no contract. See full list above.

Overall, Sling TV pricing is quite competitive. Most similar services run $40/mo or more, so Sling TV’s base package at $25/mo is great. It’s an even better deal when compared to cable TV, which runs on average $100+/mo and growing rapidly.

 

Sling TV Pros & Cons

There’s a lot to consider when choosing a streaming service. What is Sling TV offering compared to the competition? Here’s a wrap up:

Pros:

  • Very affordable starting packages
  • Easy to customize channel lineup
  • No contract
  • Huge number of channels available
  • Good coverage of sports (NFL, NBA, NHL, MLB, etc.), news, and entertainment
  • Works on almost all devices
  • The most popular live streaming service (and the oldest)
  • Free 7 day trial available

Cons:

  • Bad coverage of local channels like NBC and FOX (only covered in a handful of areas)
  • Cloud DVR costs extra
  • Missing a few popular channels, like FOX News

Overall, third-party Sling TV reviews are positive. The most common complaints are often about poor customer service. Do keep in mind that this service has changed a lot over the years. If you’re reading a Sling TV review, make sure it’s been updated recently, otherwise it’s likely out of date!

 

Is Sling TV Worth It?

Sling TV is a great service overall. It’s the largest and oldest live streaming service, with a customer base of more than 2 million people.

We mostly recommend Sling TV for folks who want to customize their channel lineup. Most competing services only sell large bundles, forcing you into a bundle of networks you might not actually want. Sling makes it easier to select channels that you’ll actually enjoy.

Sling is also one of the most budget-friendly streaming platforms. Most services start at $40/mo, while Sling comes in at $25/mo. With that said, once you start adding more channels, the price can quickly rise.

Ultimately, the decision is up to you. What is Sling TV offering that suits your needs, wants and budget? Consider the pros and cons.

If you’re on the fence, do remember that Sling TV offers a free 7 day trial for new customers. And since it’s non-contract, you can cancel any time.

Thanks for reading our Sling TV review! If you have any questions, feel free to leave a comment and we’ll do our best to help!

Cut the Cord but Keep your Fantasy Football Team

How to win your Fantasy Football League Without an Expensive Cable TV Bill

When it comes to the world of football, there are football fans and then there are fantasy football fans. For those of you unfamiliar, fantasy football is essentially a game within a game where fans make virtual rosters of real NFL players and pit them off against other teams using stats from each week of NFL play.

It’s an incredibly addictive way to watch sports; and when you’re in a league of your own, missing a week is simply not an option. If you love fantasy football, but you need a way to cut costs, keep reading because you have come to the right place. 

Continue reading Cut the Cord but Keep your Fantasy Football Team

Could Amazon Fire TV be used as a Cable TV Alternative?

Amazon Instant Video is not Enough.
What Else Can Amazon Fire TV do?

Amazon Fire TV and Amazon Fire Stick offer an unparalleled video streaming experience. Quickly becoming the hottest streaming box and stick on the market, you are hard pressed to even find them available at your local electronics store. Learn why in the below article. 

Fubo TV Amazon Fire TV

A few years ago, Amazon released a media set-top box called the Amazon Fire TV and a streaming stick called the Fire TV Stick. This video streaming box is an Internet-connected device that lets you watch video from services via an internet connection, on your TV.

Definition of a Complete Cable TV Alternative

Before we start dissecting Amazon Fire TV and Stick, let’s talk about what a cable TV alternative is, and or should be.

The greatest weapon in a cord cutter’s arsenal is a video streaming device. For those of you that don’t know;  a video streaming device enables you to watch video streaming services like Amazon Prime, DirecTV Now, Sling TV, Netflix, Hulu, and HBO GO and of course from Amazon Instant Video on your TV.

A Video Streaming box (media set-top box) that aims to be a complete cable TV alternative, should provide:

  1. STREAMING SERVICES – Access to video content from sources as possible. The more options you have, the better chance you have of taking advantage of low prices and new content.
  2. USER INTERFACE – A user-friendly interface for easy searching and navigation. Jumping from show to show or movie to movie, should be as easy as changing channels on a standard Cable TV remote control.
  3. OTA INTEGRATION – Most importantly, and notably ignored by most, a set-top box with this goal integrate broadcast TV into their interface and offer a way to record it via a DVR.

In short, you need a solution that can act as the foundation in which you build upon with streaming services and access to free broadcast television. Let’s look at Amazon’s Fire TV video streamer and see how it matches up to these requirements.

Continue reading Could Amazon Fire TV be used as a Cable TV Alternative?

What is AirTV?

What is AirTV

AirTV Integrates OTA with Sling TV

Making Channel Surfing Fun Again

Sling TVProduced by the company Echostar, this new device hopes to work in conjunction with your OTA antenna and your Sling TV account to give you an untethered OTA experience. Dubbed AirTV, the device is, for all intents and purposed, a re-purposed Sling Box for OTA television.

AIR TV SLING TV

“AirTV’s local TV integration gives it a leg up on similar streamers like the Roku Ultra, which provides 4K video for the same price point but has no way to include local broadcast channels in its interface. Sick of losing local channels when you cut the cord?” January 3, 2017 Mashable Continue reading What is AirTV?

TiVo Bolt Review

Falling in Love with TiVo Bolt’s Slick Features and Elegant Design

TiVo Bolt ReviewTiVo’s top tier iteration to the OTA DVR Streaming Box brings together your OTA signal, DVR and all your streaming options via a single smooth interface. No need to switch from device to device in order to find the show you want to watch.

One of the most valuable assets in a cord cutters toolbox is the OTA DVR. A drawback to over-the-air (OTA) television is that if you miss a show, you miss the show; but DVR’s help restore that balance by helping you record everything. For many cord cutters, the DVR is the bow they use to tie off their cord cutting experience; so making the right choice is always critical.

Most recently, DVR giant TiVo unveiled their next generation of home DVRs, dubbed the Bolt. The Bolt is a product upgrade on their existing, yet similar product, the TiVo Roamio. This latest iteration of the companies home DVR is meant to provide an all in one entertainment experience, replacing all other streaming devices and cable boxes in your home.

TiVo Bolt Features

Continue reading TiVo Bolt Review

Cord Cutting Needs to be Part of your Retirement Plan

How Retirees are Cutting Cable, While Keeping the Shows they Love

Cord Cutting for Retirement

As you start to reach retirement age, one of the things you start thinking about is reducing needless expenses. Whether it’s turning down the thermostat or switching to generic brand cereal, there’s always something that can be done. Most recently, more and more people at retirement age have been looking at ditching cable and seeking out a cable TV alternative; and it’s easy to see why.

Cable television is one of the most expensive forms of entertainment in the United State; costing consumers roughly $1000-$1500 a year. Cord cutters on the other hand spend much less than the average cable consumer; sometimes spending as low as $100 a year. How do they do it? Here’s how: Continue reading Cord Cutting Needs to be Part of your Retirement Plan

Mohu BeBox Review: Why Cord Cutters should take a look

How a Smart Speaker could help fill the void Cable TV left behind

mohu-bebox

When discussing ways to cut the cord and ditch cable, we most often talk about online streaming services and digital downloads. In fact, 99 percent of cord cutting coverage is dedicated to strictly visual mediums like television and film. But despite what you may hear, there’s more than one way to kill the cable bill. 

Introducing the Mohu BeBox

To emphasize this point, in today’s article I am going to be discussing Mohu’s latest device, the BeBox. I have purchased two of these speakers myself and I have been completely blown away with how much I love them. The BeBox is what you would call a smart speaker; essentially a speaker system with an Android tablet built in. This Android based interface opens you up to a word of possibilities.

4 ways a Smart Speaker like the Mohu BeBox, can act as a viable Cable TV Alternative:

Continue reading Mohu BeBox Review: Why Cord Cutters should take a look