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Sling TV programming packages: Orange vs. Blue

Dish Network’s Sling TV service offers something cord cutters have dreamed of for years: Live TV and sports without the need for pricey cable or satellite packages. One major strength of Sling TV is that it offers programming in relatively bite-sized packages, rather than one major glut of channels, letting users pick and choose the channels best suited to them. The only problem is that it isn’t always easy to figure out which package is best for you.

To get started with Sling TV, you’ll need to choose between two base packages: Sling Orange and Sling Blue, each of which cost $25 per month. Which one do you pick? Or should you bundle both for $40? The answer really depends on your needs and preferences. In this quick guide, we’ll explain the benefits of each so you can make the right decision and raise your cord-cutter game.

What you get

If your channel needs are fairly simple, the choice between Sling Orange and Sling Blue could be an easy one, as there are a fair amount of channels included in both packages. These include coveted cable news channels like Bloomberg and CNN, lifestyle programming like the Food Network and Travel Channel, and popular cable staples like AMC, IFC, TBS, TNT, and History. There are also some essential differences between the two.

How many streams?

Before we get to programming differences, there is one major difference between Sling Orange and Sling Blue that potential customers need to be aware of at the outset: The number of devices that can stream Sling TV at once. Sling Orange is limited to a single stream, meaning you’ll be limited to watching on one device at a time. Sling Blue offers up to three streams, making it a better option for larger households. If you’re only ever watching on one TV or mobile device at a time, this may not matter, but it’s definitely worth keeping in mind.

Sling Orange programming

The number of streams aside, if you’re a fan of all things sport, Sling Orange may be your best choice. That’s because it’s the only one of the two to feature Disney’s suite of ESPN channels, including ESPN, ESPN2, and the generally online-only ESPN3. Speaking of Disney, Sling Orange will also land you other Disney properties, including Disney Channel and the family-friendly Freeform (formerly ABC Family) network.

Sling Blue programming

While it may not have the coveted ESPN lineup, Sling Blue makes up for this in terms of its sheer wealth of channels, not to mention the multiple streams mentioned above. In place of ESPN programming, Sling Blue offers NFL Network, as well as multiple Fox sports networks. Also, and this is key, Sling Blue is the only way to get the NFL RedZone channel, available as an add-on in Blue’s add-on Sports Extra package, which we’ll discuss below. A substantial number of popular channels like Bravo, FX, FXX, Syfy, and USA are also included — so, while you give up ESPN, you get a lot in return.

Extra channel packages

Now that we’ve looked at Sling TV’s core packages, it’s time to start thinking about add-ons for the perfect blend of content. Some packages, like Hollywood Extra — which offers movie channels like Sundance and Turner Classic Movies — are exactly the same. Others, like Kids Extra, vary based on the package — you’ll need Sling Orange in order to access extra Disney children’s channels, for example.

Sling Blue also offers fewer channels in its Sports Extra package, but it costs twice as much as Sling Orange’s Sports Extra Package, at $10 per month. That’s due to the inclusion of NFL RedZone channel, which lets you watch a smorgasbord of scoring plays from every NFL team every Sunday, without commercials. Meanwhile, Sling Orange’s $5 Sports Extra package grants customers even more ESPN channels, including ESPNEWS, ESPNU, and a handful of seasonal sport-specific channels, but no RedZone.

Best of both worlds

A lot of Sling TV’s marketing focuses on how little it costs per month, but if you want the best of what it has to offer, you’ll want to subscribe to both Sling Orange and Sling Blue, bringing the price a lot closer to what you’d pay for cable, at $40 per month (plus your internet fees, of course).

For a full rundown of the base channels available in either Sling Blue, Sling Orange, or both, see below.

If you’re still wondering if Sling TV is right for you, make sure to check out our complete guide to the service, which includes a full channel list and other info, including which channels allow for time-shifting, and more.

Full channel listings by package

Sling Orange Sling Blue Sling Orange and Blue
A&E  Yes  Yes  Yes
ACC Network Extra  Yes  No  Yes
AMC  Yes  Yes  Yes
AXS TV  Yes  Yes  Yes
BBC America  Yes  Yes  Yes
BET  No  Yes  Yes
Bloomberg TV  Yes  Yes  Yes
Bravo  No  Yes  Yes
Cartoon Network / Adult Swim  Yes  Yes  Yes
Cheddar Business  Yes  Yes  Yes
Cheddar News  Yes  Yes  Yes
CNN  Yes  Yes  Yes
Comedy Central  Yes  Yes  Yes
Comet  Yes  Yes  Yes
Discovery Channel  No  Yes  Yes
Disney Channel  Yes  No  Yes
E!  No  Yes  Yes
Epix Drive-In  Yes  Yes  Yes
ESPN  Yes  No  Yes
ESPN 2  Yes  No  Yes
ESPN 3  Yes  No  Yes
Food Network  Yes  Yes  Yes
Fox  No  Yes  Yes
Fox Sports  No  Yes  Yes
Freeform  Yes  No  Yes
FS1  No  Yes  Yes
FS2  No  Yes  Yes
Fuse  Yes  Yes  Yes
FX  No  Yes  Yes
FXX  No  Yes  Yes
HGTV  Yes  Yes  Yes
History  Yes  Yes  Yes
Investigation Discovery Yes Yes Yes
IFC  Yes  Yes  Yes
Lifetime  Yes  Yes  Yes
Local Now  Yes  Yes  Yes
MotorTrend  Yes  No  Yes
National Geographic  No  Yes  Yes
Nat Geo Wild  No  Yes  Yes
NBC  No  Yes  Yes
NBC Sports  No  Yes  Yes
Newsy  Yes  Yes  Yes
NFL Network  No  Yes  Yes
Nick Jr.  No  Yes  Yes
Paramount Network  No  Yes  Yes
Stadium  Yes  Yes  Yes
SyFy  No  Yes  Yes
TBS  Yes  Yes  Yes
TLC  Yes  Yes  Yes
TNT  Yes  Yes  Yes
Travel Channel  Yes  Yes  Yes
Tribeca Shortlist  Yes  Yes  Yes
Tru TV  No  Yes  Yes
USA  No  Yes  Yes
Viceland  Yes  Yes  Yes

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