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If you’re looking for local channels on Sling TV, you might end up disappointed.
You’re probably used to getting local channels for free. You either have a newer smart TV that picks them up automatically or you’ve purchased an external HD antenna. If you’re a bit older, maybe you remember positioning the bunny ears to get a better picture of a channel.
But if you’ve cut the cord or you’re trying to watch TV from anywhere outside of your living room, it’s a little more difficult than you might expect. While every major live TV streaming service—PlayStation Vue, YouTube TV, FuboTV, DirecTV Now, and Hulu with Live TV—offers some form of local channels, some network standards are often not included, and availability varies wildly based on your location.
Here’s everything you need to know about Sling TV local channels.
WATCH: Is SlingTV worth it?
If you want local channels on Sling TV, you’ll need to select either Sling Blue or Sling Orange + Blue as your base package. Unlike other live TV streaming services, which offer some form of local channels in every package, local channels are not included in Sling Orange.
Sling Blue costs $25 per month comes with more than 40 channels, including AMC, CNN, FS1 and FS2, FX and FXX, NFL Network, and plenty more. It’s the more complete option of Sling’s two basic packages.
Sling Orange + Blue costs $40 per month and contains everything from Sling Blue, plus the eight channels exclusive to Sling Orange, which includes four ESPN-centric channels and the Disney Channel. Sling Orange + Blue also allows you to stream on up to four devices to at once, compared to just three in Sling Blue and only one in Sling Orange.
- Everything you need to know about Sling TV
- Sling TV channels: The complete list for every package
- Sling TV devices: What’s the best device and how many can you use at once?
To see which local channels will be included in your package (it’ll be the same for Sling Blue and Sling Orange + Blue), you can enter your ZIP code here. This feature will also show you which regional sports networks are available in your area. As you can see in the example below, which uses the 20003 ZIP code for Washington, D.C., the local affiliates for Fox and NBC are available, as well as the regional sports network, NBC Sports Washington.
If a local affiliate for Fox or NBC isn’t available in your area, Sling TV will either provide a national alternative or an on-demand version of the channel instead. With the on-demand channel, you won’t be able to watch any live programming, but you’ll be able to watch new episodes of your favorite shows when they’re made available, typically the morning after airing. If you’re stuck with the on-demand channels, it’s worth trying to use your Sling TV subscription credentials with the official apps for Fox and NBC, both of which offer live programming
Note: You may not be able to fast-forward through commercials if you use Sling TV’s cloud DVR feature to record your local Fox affiliate or other Fox channels like FX and FS1. “For these select recordings,” Sling TV notes, “FOX requires that Sling shows you a Video On-Demand version of your recording, which does not allow you to fast forward through commercials.” Sling TV DVR costs $5 per month for 50 hours of storage. You can learn more here.
Sling TV local channels
- Atlanta: Fox
- Austin: Fox
- Boston: NBC
- Charlotte: Fox
- Chicago: Fox, NBC
- Dallas/Ft. Worth: Fox, NBC
- Detroit: Fox
- Gainesville: Fox
- Hartford/New Haven: NBC
- Houston: Fox
- Los Angeles: Fox
- Miami/Ft. Lauderdale: NBC
- Minneapolis/St. Paul: Fox
- New York: Fox, NBC
- Orlando/Daytona Beach/Melbourne: Fox
- Philadelphia: Fox, NBC
- Phoenix: Fox
- San Diego: NBC
- San Francisco/Oakland/San Jose: Fox, NBC
- Tampa/St. Petersburg: Fox
- Washington, D.C.: Fox, NBC
Sling TV local channels: What’s not included
Sling TV does not carry ABC, CBS, PBS, or the CW, and honestly, it’s one of the biggest strikes against the service. Sling TV recommends that you pick up an HD antenna to watch those channels—you can check local availability here—but that doesn’t help you if you’re viewing on mobile.
CBS All-Access, a standalone app that costs $4.99 per month, will allow you to watch CBS live, along with Star Trek: Discovery, which is exclusive to the service. You can watch the CW online a couple of different ways, and new episodes can be streamed directly from its app or website without even having to sign in.
How to watch more local channels on Sling TV
If you prepay for six months of Sling TV, you’ll receive a free RCA HDTV indoor antenna and an AirTV. That’s a $175 value. (You can also purchase the products separately.) The RCA HDTV indoor antenna will help you pick up a lot more local channels, including ones that might not be available on Sling TV.
What’s cool about AirTV is that it integrates with Sling TV, allowing you to watch all of your channels in one place. And it lets you access those local channels from your indoor antenna on all of your streaming devices. That means, for example, you could use it to watch Telemundo or Univision on your phone or laptop. If you’ve added cloud DVR to your Sling account, you can also use AirTV to record you local channels. It also comes with a Bluetooth remote with a built-in feature that helps you locate the remote when it inevitably gets stuck between your sofa cushions.
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Austin Powell is the former managing editor of the Daily Dot. His work focuses on the intersection of entertainment and technology. He previously served as a music columnist for the Austin Chronicle and is the co-author of The Austin Chronicle Music Anthology.