Best VPNs for Sling TV

Sling TVSling TV is a stand alone streaming media service that debuted at the 2015 CES that is ostensibly only available to those who live in the United States.  It is currently one of the only ways that you can get access to ESPN programming content without signing up for a costly cable TV package.  However, Sling TV not only gives you access to live sporting events through ESPN but also other programming from stations like Disney, AMC, TBS, Food Network, FreeForm (formally ABC Family), and others.  This is a good deal for those who live in the US but what about those who are in other countries who want to enjoy Sling TV?  Fret not, by using a personal VPN service, you too can watch all the programming that Sling TV offers including many great live sporting events.  Below you will find our list of the best VPNs for streaming Sling TV.

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What Is Sling TV?

A trend that started a few years ago and seems to be growing although maybe not as much as many had predicted is a phenomena called “cord-cutting”.  It refers to the number of households that are severing their ties with established cable companies like Time Warner Cable, DirectTV, DISH, Comcast, and others.  More are going with standalone broadband or cellular services only as they realize that they are watching most of their favorite programming on just a few stations.  Many people have come to the realization that they are paying extra money for stations that they never watch and are now looking for cheaper alternatives.

As part of this trend more online streaming services are beginning to appear in the marketplace as an alternative to classic cable services.  These services offer a smaller, more select number of stations as opposed to the hundreds of stations offered by traditional cable companies.   Originally, these were the on-demand services like Netflix, Hulu Plus, and Amazon Video.  These primarily provided on demand access to movies and older TV series but have recently added their own original content as well.  These original services have been expanded by the introduction of providers like CBS All Access, Showtime, and HBO Now which stream their own programming, live and on-Demand.  Sling TV is different in that it streams a variety of stations live content along with some on demand content.

For the first time, cord cutters can get access to many different prime stations that they watch from one service at a reasonable price.  Specifically, you can get access to the following stations in their Best of Live TV Package:

A&E, Adult Swim, AMC, Bloomberg, Cartoon Network, CNN, Disney Channel, El Rey, ESPN, ESPN2, Food Network, FreeForm (formerly ABC Family), Galavisión, HGTV, History, H2, IFC, Lifetime, Maker, Polaris+, TBS, TNT, Travel Channel

This package sells for just $20/month. This package additionally features access to WatchESPN, including ESPN3 and an extensive library of VOD entertainment.  This will give you access to not only many live sporting events but also many popular television programs.  These include Storage Wars, Bates Motel, The Walking Dead, Better Call Saul, Chopped, Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives, and many others. For those who want more, Sling TV offers add on packages for different genres. These include the following:

  • Sports Extra – $5/month
    • beIN Sports, ESPN Bases Loaded, ESPN Buzzer Beater, ESPN Goal Line, ESPN News, ESPNU, SEC Network, Univision Deportes Network,
  • Kids Extra – $5/month
    • BabyTV, Boomerang, Disney Junior, Disney XD, Ducktv
  • Hollywood Extra – $5/month
    • Epix, Epix 2, Epix Drive-In, Epix Hits, SundanceTV, Turner Classic Movies
  • World News Extra – $5/month
    • Euronews, France 24, Fusion, HLN, NDTV, News 18 India, RT
  • Lifestyle Extra – $5/month
    • Cooking Channel, DIY Network, FYI, LMN, truTV, WE tv

They also have the following Spanish language packages:

  • Deportes Extra – $5/month
    • Azteca, beIN Sports, beIN Sports en Español, ESPN Deportes, Univision, UniMás, Univision Deportes
  • Peliculas & Novelas Extra – $5/month
    • Az Corazon, Cine Latino, De Película, De Película Clásico, One Sony Television, Pasiones, Univision, Univision tlnovelas, UniMás
  • Best of Spanish TV – $5/month
    • Az Corazon, Azteca, beIN Sports, beIN Sports en Español, Cine Latino, De Película, De Película Clásico, ESPN Deportes, One Sony Television, Pasiones, Univision, Univision Deportes, Univision tlnovelas, UniMás

You can also get HBO which delivers both live content and access to HBO’s full on demand library for $15/month.  Cinemax is also now available for $10/month.  Additionally, Sling International currently provides more than 200 channels in 18 languages across multiple devices to U.S. households.

Streaming Sling TV

Sling TV can be streamed on a myriad of different device types.  This includes Smart TVs and video players, phones, tablets, PCs, laptops, and game consoles.  A full list of the devices that can stream content from Sling TV follows:

  • TVs & video players – All Amazon Fire TV Player, Roku LT & higher, AndroidTV, Chromecast, Nexus Player, ZTE, Channel Master DVR+
  • Phones & tablets – iOS 8 & higher, Android 4.0.3 & higher, Amazon Fire Android 4.4.2+, RCA
  • Gaming Console – Xbox One
  • Computers & laptops – Mac OS X (Lion 10.7 & higher), Windows 7 & higher

Although Sling TV can be streamed on many types of devices, streaming is allowed from only one device at a time per account.  It you are streaming content on a device and a family member starts streaming something else on another device on the same account you will get an error message about multiple streams not allowed on an account.  The exception to this is if you add on HBO, you will be allowed three simultaneous streams of HBO content.

Viewing Your Sling TV Subscription While Away

If you have a Sling TV subscription and would like to view your favorite shows from it while vacationing in the Bahamas.  The easiest way that you could watch The Walking Dead while enjoying your vacation is to first connect to a VPN service through a server in the US.  This will mask your current real IP and assign you a virtual one in the US, thus you will be able to keep up with the latest episode of The Walking Dead and other streaming shows from Sling TV and other providers that are geo-restricted outside of the US.  In short, if you currently live, work, or are just visiting outside of the US and have or can get a Sling TV account in the US, then you will be able to watch it from anywhere in the world by connecting through a VPN service.

Criteria You Should Consider When Choosing a  VPN for Sling TV

When choosing a VPN for the Sling TV, there are a few criteria that you need to look at to help you select the best one.  Additionally you should think about the other uses you may also have for the VPN before making your final choice.

  • First is do you trust the VPN provider and do they value your privacy?
    • How much of your personal information do they collect and how is it used?  Do they share it with third parties?
    • Do they have a good reputation? Examine some peer reviews.
    • Do they have more anonymous ways to pay like bitcoin?
    • Where are they incorporated at?
  • Second is how big is their network of VPN servers?
    • Multiple servers in the US (on both coasts), the UK, Asia, and Europe are ideal for most.  This will ensure greater speed and reliability when accessing content in the US.
  • Third, what is their logging policy regarding VPN usage?
    • A no-log policy is ideal.
    • If they do log, is their logging policy well defined and transparent?
  • Fourth, how does the VPN perform for your purpose?
    • How fast is the VPN service from your location?
    • Can it help you scale your government firewall if that is necessary?
    • Can you access and configure it from your location?
  • Fifth, how reliable is the network?
    • You want to choose a VPN which is stable.
    • You will also want to choose a VPN whose servers are not over crowded.
    • Does the service have a good reputation for service and support in case you have any questions?
    • Do they offer a kill switch to protect your privacy if the VPN drops?  This can be important when accessing Sling TV from outside the US as it can protect your true IP from being seen by the service which could result in disconnection or even cancellation.
    • Do they support DNS leak protection?
  • Sixth, always look for a VPN which offers unlimited downloads.
  • Seventh, is it compatible with desktops, phones, tablets or other devices you might want to use with it?
    • Does it support Windows? Mac OS? Linux? iOS? Android?
    • How many simultaneous connections does it allow? Two or more is better.
    • You should thoroughly test the VPN with all of your devices to make sure that they provide the performance and reliability that you want.
  • Eighth, is it secure and private to protect your traffic from prying eyes: be they ISP or the NSA, or cyber criminals?
    • What kind of protocols does the VPN use?  Protocols are rules for transmitting data.
      • A VPN service that supports all three protocols: OpenVPN, L2TP/IPsec and PPTP is best.
        • OpenVPN (UDP/TCP) (For Sling TV , provides the best mix of security and speed)
          • It is highly configurable, fast, and secure.
          • Port forwarding helps increase its utility and help scale firewalls.
        • L2TP/IPsec – Layer 2 Tunnel Protocol / Internet Protocol Security is the encryption protocol for traffic.
          • It provides excellent security.
          • It has slower performance than that of other protocols which could introduce buffering when streaming live HD from Sling TV.
          • It has built-in support on most devices which makes it easy to implement.  Like OpenVPN, it has greater utility if it supports port forwarding.
        • PPTP – Point to Point Tunneling Protocol
          • It is considered the least secure and probably better suited for devices that can not use other protocols or where speed, not security is the main concern.
          • Like L2TP, it is built into most devices and very easy to setup.
          • This could be a good choice to download streaming media from Sling TV as it uses less encryption overhead.
    • Encryption is usually AES or Blowfish based.
      • It should use at least 128 bit which is not as secure but provides faster speed.  This should be sufficient for Streaming from Sling TV.
      • 256 bit is better for security but provides slower performance.
    • Other protocols include proprietary stealth ones to scale the Great Firewall of China, SSTP which is primarily for Windows, and IKEv2 which provides for automatic reconnection for mobile devices.
  • Ninth, how easy is the VPN to actually use?
    • Does the VPN have clients and apps to make accessing their service easier?
    • Does the client software have an intuitive user interface to easily connect and change servers?
    • Does it have well written, easy to follow manual configuration guides?
  • Tenth, how much does the VPN service cost?
    • As always, you should spend what your budget can afford.  Trust, security and performance should be weighed against cost before choosing a VPN to make sure you will be happy with it.
    • Remember to use the money-back guarantee to thoroughly test the service to ensure it suits your intended purpose.

Each of the above criteria were examined for all of the VPNs in our best VPN for Sling TV list.  Care was taken to look at the purposes that you might need a VPN that can provide you with an IP address in the United States.  We also looked at other countries in the world you might want access to like the UK.  Additionally, we looked at users from outside the US, as well as, those inside it.  All of our chosen VPNs satisfy most of these criteria for their users. You should always verify that your chosen VPN satisfies your main purpose and that it can do everything that you need it to do.

Final Thoughts

As always, you should look at your reason for needing a VPN and match it with the best VPN for the job.  Whether your goal is to watch Sling TV while on vacation or while living or working in another country, a personal VPN service is your best way to accomplish it.  Remember to always connect to the VPN service before logging into and using the Sling TV service.  This will allow you to stream live events and access all of the on demand content that Sling TV has to offer from anywhere in the world.  If unblocking Sling TV is your primary purpose, you should place more emphasis on network size, reliability, and speed to ensure that you will be happy with the VPN’s performance while enjoying the latest episode of The Walking Dead or Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives.

A personal VPN service can not only let you enjoy your subscription to Sling TV from anywhere in the world, but also help protect all of your personal information while surfing the Internet.  This can keep you from becoming the next victim of identity theft.  It can also keep your Internet traffic safe from surveillance while using you local restaurant Wi-Fi hot spot or hotel network by encrypting it.  All of the services in our best VPNs for Sling TV offer money back guarantees so test them out and see which one works best for you.