Television has gone through a variety of stages since its inception. For years, cable and satellite have competed to keep people connected to their favorite TV shows and broadcasts. The internet has become an additional competitor thanks to services such as Netflix and Hulu among others.

Last week, Sling TV became publicly available. Sling TV is a more traditional television provider than streaming services such as Netflix and HULU. Instead of offering a wide assortment of content via video on demand, Sling TV maintains regularly scheduled programming with its networks. Sling TV strives to act as a direct alternative to cable and satellite services.

Using web-based services for entertainment usually comes with a number of advantages. Netflix streaming offers the freedom of choosing anything you want, whenever you want, and can even be used on multiple devices at once. For college students, this can be useful to plan gatherings to watch a marathon of your favorite show. Another advantage is the lack of advertisements. With Netflix streaming, students can also pause, rewind, or skip forward as often as they please.

Hulu is similar in that you can pick what you want and move through programming at your leisure. Unlike Netflix, Hulu streams still contain advertisements. Hulu seems more likely to have recent episodes of television shows than Netflix, but sometimes lacks complete seasons.

With the newcomer of Sling TV, there is now a more hybrid approach to internet television. The big difference between Netflix or Hulu and your cable box or satellite dish has always been cross-device availability. You can watch Netflix or Hulu on your phone, on your tablet, on your computer, on your Roku, on your gaming consoles, and just about any device you can think of. Traditional television doesn’t allow for that, but Sling TV does.

Sling TV is useable on a plethora of devices, but unlike other popular streaming services you can not view it on multiple devices simultaneously. This could also be considered a disadvantage compared to traditional television services.

Compared to Netflix or Hulu, Sling TV offers the advantage of not needing to wait. With Sling TV, you can see shows as they are aired on a common programming schedule. It is an alternative method of viewing some common channels for those that do not have traditional television services.

Sling TV does also offer a selection of channels with video on demand similar to Netflix and Hulu, but the majority is live television content.

With all of the options available, it may be difficult to choose which television service is right for you. Netflix, Hulu, Sling TV, and Amazon Instant video all offer slight differences with their own unique advantages.

Because these services have no contract and most are a monthly subscription, it is impossible to enjoy multiple services at once. You can pay for Sling TV to satisfy your need for live television and Neflix for a vast selection of movies to stream but still use Hulu for television shows on demand.

With so many video streaming services, it is entirely possible to live without cable depending on your entertainment needs. If you would like, you can have traditional cable or satellite and supplement it with additional services.

Have any questions, comments, or suggestions? As always, feel free to contact us on Twitter @ChantyTech.

Myron Jones
Technology Columnist

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