Sling TV vs. DirecTV Now | Is this REALLY the future of TV???


Sling only added 7,000 subscribers in Q1 of 2019. And DirecTV Now lost 83,000 subscribers! Have the kings of streaming TV finally reached their end??

So, you were all correct! You’ve said it in the comments for months now, these streaming services are starting to look – and cost! – a whole lot like our old cable subscriptions.

This is probably why Sling’s growth has slowed to a trickle and Directv Now is shrinking at an alarming rate. But are the former kings of streaming TV really not worth it anymore? And if they are, which one is better these days?

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Let’s start with a nice, boring quote: I recently saw a blog post from BTIG analyst Richard Greenfield, who said, “legacy media’s forced bundling tactics continue to put business models and profits ahead of the consumer which is ALWAYS a long-term losing proposition.”

Translation: They’re not giving you what you actually want, and they’ll continue to suffer the consequences.

Sling added 7,000 subscribers in Q1. Not the growth they are used to seeing, but hey- growth is still growth. In the same time period, DTV Now LOST 83,000 subscribers. The Q4 shock wore off (-267K), but the product didn’t get any better, so the losses continue.

So do the numbers tell the right story? Well, let’s look at the state of each:

● $50/mo for 40 channels (or $70/mo for 50)
● Includes HBO! That’s good!
● DVR is STILL IN BETA after 2 years (all-time favorite thing). 20 hours, for 30 days
● 2 streams, a third for $5/mo
● Added Viacom channels like MTV, VH1, and Nickelodeon

DTV Now’s front page includes a chart that helps you compare it to its competitors, and … it didn’t go too well. Sling actually comes out looking pretty good. Plus, fun fact: They screwed up the numbers here. They cite Sling Blue, which has 3 simultaneous streams, not 4…

And that brings us to Sling:

Sling TV:
● $25/mo for 49 channels with Sling Orange or Sling Blue (or $40/mo for 56 channels with Sling Orange+Blue)
● No HBO, since AT&T owns it now
● $5/mo for DVR, 50 hours, keep it forever (unless you cancel)
● 1 stream on Sling Orange, 3 on Sling Blue
● Also has some Viacom channels (Comedy Central, BET, Nick Jr)

It’s easy to see that Sling is the better value, by any objective measure. (Of course, if your subjective measure is HBO or MTV, that’s a different story.)

So, head to head, I easily give the nod to Sling. Even if it’s not QUITE what we were all looking for when we decided to cut the cord, at the very least it still gives us the option of a $25 package, which is more than its major competitors can say.

All that being said, if you’re a die-hard DTV Now subscriber — and I say this with no judgment — I would love to hear from you in the comments below about what keeps you with them. Is it the included HBO? Pure inertia? Something else?

Let me know in the comments below.