I Tried Using Sling to Watch the Olympics

It worked fine for the Olympics. Not super great for anything else.

So I feel like that screenshot pretty much tells my entire Sling story, but I’ll explain anyway: after chatting with Ester and Mike about how I wasn’t watching the Olympics in real time because I didn’t have a TV, Mike suggested I try Sling, the “stream live TV to your laptop or mobile device” service that gives you access to network and cable channels in package combinations that range from $25–$40 a month.


I didn’t pay anything for Sling, because there’s a seven-day free trial, but I’m also not going to pay anything for Sling after the seven-day free trial.

Sling shows some channels in Eastern Time, like Cartoon Network and Comedy Central, and other channels in Pacific Time, like Disney and BBC America. This is less “live TV” than it is “memorize every channel’s time zone, I guess, so I know when I need to watch the shows I want to see, even if that means watching Steven Universe three hours early because I’m on Pacific time.”

But, I mean, of course I was going to watch the new Steven Universe on Sling instead of waiting to watch it on Amazon 24 hours later, this is what a seven-day free trial is all about, and there was this one point where I was all “did I hear that correctly,” and then I realized you can’t go back over the last 10 seconds. (Some Sling channels, like Bloomberg Television, do allow you to go back over the last 10 seconds, but Cartoon Network does not.) Also, I have apparently become so used to television on demand that I am frustrated by the mere thought of having to time my life around a 10-minute show that should air at 7 p.m. but Sling wants me to watch at 4 in the afternoon.

(Also: commercials. TV has a lot of commercials. Even more than YouTube.)

But I’m supposed to be describing how I used Sling to watch the Olympics, which… yeah, I did that too, and it works great for that. I am literally watching fencing right now. I just learned that a “flunge” is a flying lunge, which is something Pearl never mentioned in her fencing classes on Steven Universe, so I guess that’s worth the seven-day free trial.

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