My Review: DirecTV Now vs. Sling TV

Cable is not worth over $100 a month to me. I’ve never seen an episode of The Kardashians. My gotta-watch list is short – hockey and football games, a good movie if one is on… that’s about it. Until last week, Dish Networks’ Sling TV was the only game in town offering cable channels over the internet. DirecTV Now by AT&T is the new kid on the block. Both require high speed internet connection (so much for getting ride of cable completely). Both require you have some way to show the internet on your TV – Smart TV, Google Chromecast, Apple TV or a PC hooked up.

They cost about the same. Which one is better? I have used both now for a week and one is definite better choice: DirecTV Now.

The guide for DirecTV Now is a thousand percent better than Sling TV's.

The guide for DirecTV Now is a thousand percent better than Sling TV’s.

For $35 a month, you get about 100 channels. HBO and Cinemax are only $5 more each. And if you sign up for 3 months or more, you get a free Apple TV (that’s worth about $150). They have a mobile app so you can watch your cable anywhere. It works flawlessly.

Sling TV’s interface is terrible. It takes forever to load channels and when they do, at some point they usually start buffering. The channel guide takes forever to navigate. A couple of Sling’s package options are cheaper but you also get far fewer channels (about 30).

Here are the pros & cons to consider:

Broadcast networks: neither have all of the major networks in Tampa. And being a cord cutter in Tampa Bay isn’t easy. Most of the over-the-air broadcast TV signals come from the Riverview area. That was great when I lived on that side but now I live in Clearwater. With a good antenna, I can pick up about 30-40 channels (although many are home shopping channels or Spanish stations). Channel 10 our CBS affiliate is the most difficult to get.

Both DirecTV Now and Sling TV will let you see Rays and Lightning games. But no NFL Sunday Ticket yet.

Both DirecTV Now and Sling TV will let you see Rays and Lightning games. But no NFL Sunday Ticket yet.

Sports: Neither have Sunday ticket yet. But both have Fox Sun Sports, giving you Lightning and Rays games. Other sports channels you can get include ESPN, NBC Sports, and Fox Sports.

On Demand: DirecTV Now is the clear winner with On Demand content. Sling has some, but it’s a fraction of what DirecTV Now has. If you add the $5 for HBO and Cinemax on DirecTV Now, you get a lot of On Demand movie choices.

DVR features: Neither has a DVR yet. DirecTV Now does let you pause I’ve noticed though.

No commitments: Neither makes you sign up for a year or two like cable. Cable companies are sleazy in how they do business – sure sign up for service and they’ll give you a great package of options for under $100. But once that year is up, wham! You start getting charged for all those features you thought were free because they were during that first year. Both Sling and DirecTV Now let you cancel anytime.

Update: It’s been 2 weeks with DirecTVNow and I am 110% satisfied. My free Apple TV arrived last week and I don’t always buy into Apple hype, but this product is awesome. Never saw a reason to get one but now that I have it, would miss it if I didn’t have it. Apple has a way of creating a need you didn’t know you had. The DirecTV now app is quick. It’s almost like switching channels on a regular TV. Sling took forever to go from one screen to the next.


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