Everything you need to know to compare Sling TV to PlayStation Vue
If your cable bill just shot up, you might be eyeballing Sling TV or PlayStation Vue as an alternative for everyday TV consumption.
Congrats, because they are the best two choices currently on the market for live streaming TV. That could to change in 2017, but you probably need to drop your pricey cable bill right now like a three-packs-a-day smoking habit.
You know you need to quit, but it’s kind of hard. Don’t worry.
Our guide to live streaming TV will give you the latest breakdown of channels, features and equipment that you will need to cut the cord.
How does Sling TV and PlayStation Vue work?
Sling TV and PlayStation Vue have many of the same channels that you have enjoyed as a subscriber of a big cable company.
Traditional cable companies like Spectrum, or even satellite TV companies like DirecTV have been middlemen for viewers, a distributor of premium channels to your home. The Internet has changed all that.
So if you have an internet connection, you can make an easy transition. You’re halfway there!
You can read up on how to negotiate a better price for your Internet subscription with this post.
You only need a Roku, Amazon Fire TV, tablet or smartphone to stream Sling TV or PlayStation Vue. If you have a game console in your home like a PlayStation 4, or Xbox One, they can be used depending on the service you choose to replace your cable. You can also use your PC to stream PlayStation Vue and Sling TV. NVIDIA SHIELD TV and Android TV devices work for both as well.
Advantages Sling TV and PS Vue have over traditional cable
By replacing your cable subscription with a live TV streaming service like Sling TV or PlayStation Vue, you have no contract, and no hidden fees that magically appear in your monthly bill.
If you don’t like the service, just cancel it whenever and move on to something else. Here’s the best thing about using Sling TV and PS Vue besides saving some major cash.
Being able to leave behind the vast junkyard of unwanted low-quality channels makes the overall experience of watching TV more satisfying.
When I peruse a live streaming TV service, I don’t have to navigate through a minefield of home shopping channels to get to a premium channel. There are no pockets of blacked out channels that I didn’t subscribe to, where another channel I get is tucked away.
Sling TV is owned by Dish Network. Sony owns and operates PlayStation Vue. Both companies are targeting a younger audience, the coveted 18-to-35 age demographic. Much to the surprise of big cable companies, a whole lot of folks in their customer base are pissed off about their rates.
Customers are figuring out that buying a streaming media player and a cable modem is a lot better than throwing away hundreds of dollars a year by renting equipment from the cable company every year. They are moving on to something better.
Sling TV vs PlayStation Vue channels? Which is better?
Figuring out which live streaming service has the better channel subscriptions comes down to choice. If you’re a big sports fan, you’re probably better off with PlayStation Vue. If you can’t live without a single episode of the First 48 on A&E, you’ll probably want Sling TV. Live Streaming TV has become so popular that even premiere channels like HBO, Showtime and Cinemax are migrating from cable. They’re offering standalone live or on-demand streaming. It’s great for cord cutters and average cable customers. Channels like HBO used to be exclusively part of a top tier cable packages. Those days are gone.
No matter which service you choose, you will also want to look into getting an antenna for your TV or possibly building one. You will be amazed with the over-the-air HD quality that you can get these days. And it’s free for life. Check out our antenna page to get some ideas about what might work for you.
Channel lineups: PlayStation Vue versus Sling TV
Sling TV currently has three bundles to choose from, PlayStation Vue has four. Here’s a breakdown of their channel offerings from the bottom up.
Budget minded fare
On Sling TV, the 25+ channel package is called Sling Orange and costs $20 per month. In my part of tBudget minded farehe country, the channel package actually totaled 29 networks. There are some great channels offered in this lineup, including AMC, A&E, Viceland and the History Channel. Those last three are currently not offered on PlayStation Vue. Having channels like newsy (also available free online) feels like a wasted channel slot. That’s not a criticism of newsy. Anyone with a Roku or Amazon Fire TV can watch newsy for free on its app.
Maker and its offshoot Polaris+, which focuses on gaming, pop culture and comics-related content, only adds to the flea market quality of the channel lineup.
Overall, the Orange package on Sling TV offers a fine alternative to cable with a few unique options that could make PS Vue subscribers envy.
On PlayStation Vue, the lowest tier is called Access Slim, which has 55+ channels for $30 per month in most cities. PS Vue has a more robust lineup that could make anyone forget that cable ever existed. There’s a little something for everyone. ESPN is one of four sports channels. Discovery channel, Bravo, Comedy Central, Spike TV and three Disney channels cover a lot of your cable TV bases. The National Geographic Channel being offered in PS Vue’s lowest tier is particularly impressive. That’s generally a premium channel in many cable packages.
A step up
For another $5, the Sling Blue channel package gives you a total for 40+ channels. Bravo, National Geographic Channel, BET and a few more sports offerings like Fox Sports 1 and Fox Sports 2 are added. Movie buffs might appreciate IFC. If Quentin Tarantino ever cuts the cord, he might like a Sling TV subscription so he can hook up with the grindhouse-style El Rey Network.
For another $5 on PlayStation Vue, you’ll graduate to the Core Slim package with 70+ channels. That gives you four ESPN channels instead of two, the Big Ten Network, NBCSN, SEC Network, Fox Sports Network, and the Golf channel. Sundance TV is also added, a channel that’s probably among the more underrated offerings on cable or otherwise. If you’re like me, and want to see everything Michael Kenneth Williams stars in, then you’ll want to check out Sundance’s original series Hap and Leonard.
For $40, Sling’s best deal is offering you 65+ channels, combining their Orange and Blue channel tiers. This is where the value-added question comes into play. Dish TV is simply mashing their two tiers together without offering any other extra channels for being a top-tier subscriber.
If you want more sports channels like Pac-12, that’s another $10. If you want Sundance TV, or Epix Hits, it’s another $5 for their “Hollywood Extra” movie package. There are 8 total add-ons that are woven into some of the PlayStation Vue packages above.
So if you channels that were spread across three add-ons, you’re much better off subscribing to PlayStation Vue.
The Elite Slim package on PlayStation Vue gives you 100+ channels for $45 per month. You will get more sports channels, Epix Hits, MGM HD, the Sony Movie Channel, National Geographic Wild and four BET channels and four MTV channels. If you’re a live music fan, getting MTV Live is no small thing. The channel is loaded with live concerts and festivals from around the globe, and has LATER…with Jools Holland, Austin City Limits and Live from Daryl’s House.
PlayStation Vue just added an extra tier called the Ultra Slim, which adds HBO and Showtime to the 100+ channel package for $64.99 per month in most cities. Subscribers of any tier of PlayStation Vue can add HBO or Cinemax for $15 each. HBO subscribers can also add HBO Now apps to all their supported devices at no extra charge.
Does Sling TV and PlayStation Vue have on-demand?
Sling TV does have on-demand function, but it is fairly limited. PlayStation has on-demand features, but only on Amazon Fire TV devices. You can tap into the PlayStation Vue’s on-demand catalog using a Roku.
Can you authenticate apps with Sling TV and PlayStation Vue?
As a Sling TV subscriber, you can use your subscription as authentication for a very small number of apps and web sites. And even their small selection has limitations. The Fox Now app only works on iOS and Xbox. FXNOW works on Xbox. WatchESPN doesn’t have those limitations. For web sites, you can use Sling TV for:
PlayStation Vue has a wide variety of on-demand programming, and also allows you to authenticate more than 50 apps. Below is a list of apps that can be authenticated through your PlayStation Vue account, according to Sony. Remember, the channel app only works if the channel is part of your subscription. There is also an unofficial app login list compiled by a half dozen hard working Reddit users, which suggests Elite Slim and Ultra Slim subscribers can authenticate about 97 apps.
WATCH Disney Channel
WATCH Disney Jr.
WATCH Disney XD
Esquire TV Now
Fox (FOX NOW)
FOX Business News
FOX News Channel
FOX Sports GO
NBC Sports Live Extra
NCAA March Madness
WATCH One World Sports
Turner Classic Movies
Can you record shows on Sling TV? How about on PlayStation Vue?
No, Sling TV has no way to record shows. PlayStation Vue has a Cloud-DVR feature that allows users to save hundreds of movies and shows. The capacity is at about 500 shows. The Cloud-DVR essentially is like bookmarking a favorite web page. Viewers just need to select the add button when they find a favorite show and the whole season is saved to the “My Shows” section of the Vue menu.
Can I watch Sling TV on more than one TV or other device? How does it compare to PlayStation Vue?
No. Sling TV is restricted to one TV or device at a time. So if Mom wants to watch The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills on Bravo, and Dad is on the road hoping to check out Fox Sports… Well, Dad is shit out of luck. PlayStation Vue allows simultaneous streaming on up to five devices in the household. You can even take PlayStation Vue with you. Sony recently expanded PS Vue web streaming to PC and MACs. Channel selection for PS Vue away from your home will be somewhat limited due to licensing agreements. But that’s one of the reasons why being able to authentic apps with your PlayStation Vue account is so worthwhile.
Do I need a fast Internet connection for Sling TV or PlayStation Vue?
No. Sling TV recommends a constant speed of 25 Megabits per second (Mbps) or more for households that have multiple devices using the Internet. Sling TV also recommends 5Mbps to stream to a TV, PC or Mac, and 3.0 Mbps or more for streaming non-HD video content on tablets and phones.
Sony recommends at least 10Mbps of an Internet stream for PlayStation Vue, and 5Mbps for each additional stream.
There’s a lot more to be said about having an affordable Internet connection, especially if you are planning to sever ties with your cable provider. That’s especially true if you plan on using your current cable provider for Internet. Lowering the cost of your Internet subscription is the most important, but often overlooked, aspect to real savings. Check out our cord cutting guide if you want a lower price from your current Internet provider. Read our guide on How to get the best deal for Internet without cable to help you search for other providers.
What are the best streaming media players for Sling TV and PlayStation Vue?
Sling TV used to work on more devices than PlayStation Vue. But Sony has changed all that in 2016.
Both Sling TV and PlayStation Vue currently have apps for Apple TV, Amazon Fire TV, NVIDIA Shield TV. all Roku devices and Chromecast. Viewers can also use an XBox One and Channel Master to watch Sling TV. iOS and Android tablets and smartphones work for PS Vue and Sling TV as well.
People often believe that PlayStation Vue only works on PlayStation 4 or PlayStation 3.
Android TV devices like a NVIDIA Shield TV and Mi Box got their own PlayStation Vue app in October. The interface of PS Vue on Android TV devices is similar to what you will find on Fire TV.
I use an Amazon Fire TV with an Ethernet connection. It has the best interface for my needs, and you can read a review of why Amazon Fire TV is the best device for live streaming TV.
Is PlayStation Vue better than Sling TV?
PlayStation Vue is hands down a better deal overall. The entry level $30 price for 55+ channels has a superior, well-rounded lineup of programming for children and adults. If you follow our guides to lowering your Internet bill to the $35 range, you’ll be saving hundreds of dollars a year. I personally subscribe to the Elite Slim plan and stream it to an Amazon Fire TV via Ethernet cable.
I have a friend who pays about $25 per month for a minimal Internet subscription, and remains a very happy Sling TV subscriber. He watches basketball on TBS on his living room TV. He has the TV in his living room hooked up to a desktop computer. He enjoys having A&E and a couple other channels. So as I said earlier, it boils down to personal preference and needs. The best way to find out what you like is to try it. Check out the Sling TV web site for their free 7-day trial, or the PlayStation Vue site for a free 7-day trial as well.
And if you did cut the cord and opt for live streaming, let our readers know how it worked out for you in the comments section below.