Hands-on with Sling TV for Android devices [VIDEO]


Sling TV apps

Sling TV was arguably the biggest announcement at CES this year. It’s an internet TV service that includes a small bundle of popular channels for only $20 a month. For many people the inclusion of ESPN is the big selling point. $20 a month far cheaper than most cable packages that include ESPN. Sling TV is invite-only right now, but I was lucky enough to get an invite.

Android is one of several platforms that support Sling TV right now. The app isn’t available in the Play Store yet, but if you get an invite they send the APK file for sideloading. The app is very simple and easy to use. At first launch it shows what’s “On Now” in scrollable list across the bottom. Just above that is a scrollable list of the 11 channels: ESPN, ESPN 2, TNT, TBS, HGTV, Food Network, Travel Channel, CNN, Cartoon Network, ABC Family, and Disney Channel.

sling tv screens

When you select a specific channel you can see the upcoming schedule. You can even watch old episodes from HGTV, Food Network, and Travel Channel. A few channels also let you rewind and pause. Sling TV also has movies available for rent, which can be accessed by swiping from the left of the screen. In the apps settings you can choose the video quality, which is very important for those of us who don’t have unlimited data.

This is a very basic app that does everything you need right now. Sling TV is expected to go live for all users on February 5th. Hopefully we’ll see more features added to the Android app. Watching TV on every device you own is clearly the future, and Sling TV is a step in the right direction. You can sign up for an invite here.

Joe Fedewa
Ever since I flipped open my first phone I've been obsessed with the devices. I've dabbled in other platforms, but Android is where I feel most at home.

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  1. This isn’t in the form that I would hope for yet, but it is a big step in the right direction. I’m curious as to what backlash this might get from cable providers as they are the ones who stand most to lose.

    1. There’s nothing in the Sling TV lineup–ESPN, ESPN 2, TNT, TBS, HGTV, Food Network, Travel Channel, CNN, Cartoon Network, ABC Family, and Disney Channel– that’s worth $20/month to me.

      I had all those Sling TV channels with my cable TV service and never watched ANY of them–except TNT when it aired “Falling Skies.”

      1. This is a good start for folks like me who mainly watch sports on TV. I don’t want to pay for a bunch of channels that I don’t watch. And Hulu doesn’t have sports, so that wouldn’t do me any good. Having ESPN, ESPN2 and TBS and TNT are huge for me. NBA, NCAA tournament and all other sports are covered on those channels. A bigger sports package will be nice when it comes, but I’ll take those for $20. Sports have been the reason so many people have not been willing to cut the cord.

  2. Are those commercials I see in the video? For 20$ a month I hope not!!

    1. Of course there will be commercials. It’s made by Dish and just a streaming feed of a national channel.

      1. No. Your thinking is fuzzy and confused. No one, including “Dish,” can legally “stream a feed of” (i.e., distribute) ANY channel without a distribution license from the copyright holders.

        There could be fewer commercials or no commercials in Sling TV’s content. It depends on the agreement Sling TV has with the copyright holders.

        A few years ago, some company using your fuzzy logic grabbed over-the-air TV broadcasts and redistributed them for a fee (presumably to people like me who can’t get decent OTA reception). The broadcasters sued for copyright infringement and won–hands down.

        1. But your entire reply is fuzzy because this conversation is not about what Sling can legally do. They are obviously in a legal agreement. No chance though that legal agreement means no commercials. Heck on some of the channels you can’t even fast forward. I can do better with PlayOn for skipping ads. I’m not knocking the service and I don’t even mind commercials when they are geared towards my interests.

      1. It’s Sling TV…

        1. Huluplus already carries most of the shows from NBC, ABC, CW, FOX, and dozens of other popular networks–all for only $8/month, just 1 day after the original broadcast and with fewer ads.

          Sports? I wouldn’t care if I never saw a sports broadcast.

          News? You can get free news from the internet and several free Roku channels.

          1. Rickman, my reply was for Joe Fedewa.
            I agree with your comment above. Sling TV is a good start for a la cart TV and the cord cutter’s answer for sports, but I hate commercial just as much as anybody here. If the subscription was under 10$ then it would be easier to justify the commercials. I understand, that currently Sling TV has ESPN locked down and wouldn’t doubt they have a contract for a few years. I personally don’t follow sports, so I don’t care. Although what is most important to me is HBO Go and from what I know the subscription is going live in March the same time Game of Thrones season starts. Now that I will subscribe too!

          2. No cheaper way to get Disney, Disney Jr, and Disney XD.

        2. Every TV channel is basically a constant live stream of content. That content could be a sporting event or an old episode of Seinfeld. Either way, you can’t fast forward or skip commercials into the future.

      2. Pre-recorded “live TV.” They could easily edit out the commercials.

        1. No, it’s not “live TV” with quotations. This is 100% authentic real LIVE TV. It’s the same exact channels you see on regular TV. They can’t edit out the commercials any more than Comcast or DirecTV can remove commercials.

          1. Dude are you listening to what you saying!…”it’s not “live TV” with quotations. This is 100% authentic real LIVE TV.” No offence, but I suggest you look up the definition of live TV (quotation don’t matter). Sling TV is “streamed” and under streamed TV there is live TV (current events, special events and sports) and prerecorded TV just like what you’ll find in Over The Air (OTA) TV or cable.

          2. We are talking about the same thing. The content may be pre-recorded, but it’s not on-demand. That’s just not how TV channels work. It’s a live stream of content. You can’t fast forward through commercials because you don’t have a time machine.

            Your original comment was about why there are commercials. You can’t remove the commercials from Sling TV any more than you can remove commercials from an OTA signal.

        2. It was the same show playing on TBS, tthe same time.

  3. What’s the 12th channel

    1. Good question. I count only 11.

  4. Chromecast support?

    1. Great question! I will get it immediately if I can Chromecast it to my tv.

    2. Not at launch, but they’ve said it will be coming in the future.

      1. Thanks!

  5. Disney, but not Disney XD. Ug, no Rebels.

    1. $5 more for Disney Jr, Disney XD and Boomerang

  6. So is it 12 channels and more will be added later for the same price? Or maybe more channels added for a bit more a month?

    1. It says “12 channels: ESPN, ESPN 2, TNT, TBS, HGTV, Food Network, Travel Channel, CNN, Cartoon Network, ABC Family, and Disney Channel,” but I count only 11.

      I had all those channels with my cable TV service and never watched any of them–except TNT when it aired “Falling Skies.”

      The reason this Sling TV is “by invite only” is to give people the false impression that if they don’t sign up now, they’ll miss out on something really great. It’s just a variant of the sales gimmick “hurry up and buy now while supplies last!”

      1. Obviously it’s not for everyone, but the big selling point for me is ESPN. $20 a month is a lot less than what I would pay for a cable package with ESPN.

    2. Sorry, there are 11 channels right now.

  7. I think this simply shows the direction we could be going, and i like what I see 8)

    1. The concept is good but the current state of sling tv is not so good. I have been using it for the past few days and it constantly buffers or just plain stops streaming(I have a fast connection getting 30 to 50 mbps down on mobile devices).

      can only stream to 1 device at a time
      currently only supports android, ios, mac os and roku
      currently no chromecast support

      I think it wil be a good option once they get all of the kinks out and get rid of the 1 device at a time limit.

      Because of the limitations i plan on cancelling my free trial before i get charged but I will probably try it again in a few months to see if it’s usable at that point.

      1. I’m getting it but man needs more channels like tru TV history channel and comedy central

  8. First, it is from Dish TV, a failure in the market. Second, for a closed beta, why in the world would they be asking me for my credit card information? Major fail. I laughed when I called after getting the invite to “beta test” and they asked for my credit card info. I asked why they wild be asking me for a credit card number for a beta test and they said “so we can automatically charge you after the test”. Uhhhh no… I am not going to be automatical charged after the test and I laughed out loud when they said that. I just want to say right now that I give them an F! It’s a non starter. Want free streaming tv, use an online tv content activator like XBMC/Kodi to get legal content. It won’t be new but it will be the day after and Hulu free is fine as well.

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