Both services offer multiple pricing levels. Levels determine which and how many channels you get to stream.
At the time of this writing, Sling starts at $20 per month for 26 channels with the option to add “extras” (packs of more channels) for an additional $5–$15 per month.
Vue is a bit pricier, starting at $29.99 per month for their Access Slim package which includes 55+ channels. Vue also offers a Core Slim package which has 70+ channels and costs $34.99 per month and an Elite Slim package for $44.99 per month. Additionally, Vue has several standalone channels which can be added for $3.99–$14.99 per month.
When comparing channels, Vue has a lot more to offer. Some major channels like AMC, ESPN, and HGTV are available on both platforms, but Vue includes a lot of channels that you just can’t get on Sling. Channels like FXX, Comedy Central, and Nickelodeon can’t be added to Sling with any of the extra options.
You do pay a little more for the extra channels that Vue provides. Vue comes in at about $1.83 per channel for the cheapest plan (55 ÷ 30). Sling, on the other hand, comes in at about $1.30 per channel (26 ÷ 20).
In my opinion, Sling is the clear winner here. While Vue does allow you to stream on devices other than PlayStation, it’s more limited. Here’s a breakdown of the devices each service supports:
| | Vue | Sling | |-----------------|-----|-------| | iOS Devices | ● | ● | | Chromecast | ● | ● | | Amazon Fire TV | ● | ● | | PS4 & PS3 | ● | | | Mac & PC | | ● | | Android Devices | | ● | | Roku | | ● | | Xbox One | | ● |
Additionally, Sling allows you to stream regardless of your location, while Vue uses your device’s location to determine whether or not you are at home. If you’re not at home, your streaming options are more limited.
One nice perk that Sling offers is a free or discounted Roku or Fire TV device if you prepay for three months of service when you sign up. I actually used this offer twice (once for a free Roku Stick when I set up my initial account and again for a free Roku 2 when I reactivated my account after canceling it for a couple months).
Here’s where I think Vue really got it right. I had streaming problems with Sling from day one and I know that I’m not alone. The first weekend that I had Sling, my wife and I tried to watch The Walking Dead. We found that we weren’t able to access AMC and a quick Twitter search showed me that there were a ton of people facing the same issue. This happened pretty regularly when we were trying to watch popular shows.
I have had a couple similar issues with Vue, but most of them appear to be related to my terribly unreliable internet connection which is provided by a company that I won’t mention but that everybody hates.
Interface and Features
Vue really excels here, too. Sling’s interface has always felt quite clunky to me and pretty slow. Vue offers things like a live TV guide and the entire app feels much more responsive than Sling.
Vue also allows you to automatically have your favorite shows recorded and saved for later viewing. Sling doesn’t have any similar features — or they didn’t when I was using it.
I’ve only been using Vue for a month or so because it just became available everywhere. So far I’m really loving it. The interface and the channel selection alone are enough to set it apart as the winner in my mind. The biggest complaint that I had when I used Sling (aside from the connectivity issues) was the fact that I couldn't get FXX, which airs several shows that I watch.
I will say that if I didn’t already own a PS4, I wouldn’t have even considered Vue due to its limited device support. If you happen to already own a PlayStation console and you’re looking for something more reliable than Sling and with more channels, then Vue is the way to go. Otherwise, I would say Sling is your best bet — at least until Vue becomes more widely available.
Update: May 3, 2016
Twitter user @ultramookie pointed out that I neglected to mention one of PS Vue’s killer features: DVR. Vue offers DVR functionality which automatically records shows that you save to your favorites. Any show that is added to “My Shows” gets stored in your DVR for up to 28 days. I’ve used this feature a ton so far and I can’t believe I forgot to include it in my original post.