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Why I finally switched from Sling to YouTube TV
April 5, 2023

Why I finally switched from Sling to YouTube TV

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Laziness and convenience always win.

It feels good to make big life changes.

Alright, well, ‘big’ is subjective in this case, depending on how much you care about streaming cable alternatives. But for me, a guy who needs live television in his life, choosing a provider is a big deal. I recently made the switch from Sling to YouTube TV, a move that costs me $20 more each month for a service that ostensibly does the same thing as what I was just using.

Why would I do that? Well, dear reader, sometimes you just get fed up and need something different. And in this case, ‘something different’ is a service that’s better in just about every conceivable way.

A better app

I do all my streaming on a Chromecast with Google TV. It’s not the newest or fanciest streaming dongle, but it’s always gotten the job done with solid performance and a functional user interface. And for the couple of years that I used Sling for my live TV fix, the device and the Sling app did not play nice together at all.

Put simply, Sling’s interface is just too slow for me. Moving around the guide and changing channels is a slow and jerky process. For something I was paying $51/mo for (Sling Blue plus the sports add-on package, for the curious), it didn’t feel nearly as premium as it should.

I’m glad to report YouTube TV, at $73/mo, is an immediate enhancement. Its channel guide is fast and fluid, and there’s hardly any stream buffering at all. Stream quality on certain channels is better (NBA TV and NFL Network, in particular) and it’s just a breeze to navigate overall. This alone isn’t worth a $20 bump, but it doesn’t hurt.

So many channels

Any kind of cable replacement needs a solid channel lineup. Between Sling and YouTube TV, there’s no competition.

Without any add-ons, YouTube TV offers more than 100 channels. That includes all four major networks (Fox, NBC, CBS, and ABC), the ESPN family of networks, TBS and TNT, AMC, and a whole lot more. A variety of add-ons at different prices can get you other things like NFL RedZone, as well.

Sling, on the other hand, is segmented into either Orange or Blue plans, each of which has a different channel lineup. If you combine the two (which costs $60/mo), you get a grand total of…48 channels. That does not include CBS, which is a pretty big omission. Is that still more affordable than YouTube TV? Sure! But for an extra $13, you can more than double the number of channels you have.

Missing channels can also represent hidden fees and added inconvenience. When I used Sling, I had to subscribe to Paramount+ to get a live feed of my local CBS affiliate. I hardly ever used it for anything else. I also had to use a separate ESPN app for anything aired by that network because Sling Blue didn’t carry it. With YouTube TV, everything is all together in one place. It’s just nicer that way.

Oh, and YouTube TV gives you unlimited DVR, too. Sling only offers 50 hours for an account.

There is no off-season

In this age of on-demand streaming, you might wonder why I care so much about live TV. Well, folks, sports exist.

A football game doesn’t have the same juice if you DVR it and watch it later. Do plenty of people do that anyway? Of course, because sports fans are weird and we wouldn’t have it any other way.

Anyway, YouTube TV is a better service for sports fans than Sling for all of the reasons listed above. Having all four major networks is great because every single one of them airs big sporting events. I was able to watch every single March Madness game on YouTube TV, which I couldn’t on Sling due to the lack of CBS. No matter where the Super Bowl airs, I can watch it on YouTube TV.

And when the NFL regular season rolls around, YouTube TV will be the exclusive home of Sunday Ticket, a service that lets you stream any out-of-market NFL game. The only bummer here compared to Sling is a lack of MLBTV, but hey, I can live with a little less baseball in my life.

To be fair, Sling is a very good service. It’s more affordable and it got me through the worst parts of the COVID-19 pandemic. I used it every day for multiple years and more than got my money’s worth out of it. But sometimes you just need something better, and that’s what YouTube TV gave me.


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