How to watch Sling TV abroad with a VPN or smart DNS proxy

Published by on November 4, 2016 in VPN & Privacy

sling tv

In short:

  • Sling TV’s service won’t work outside the US. You can’t even access their website.
  • If you are on vacation or working abroad or live outside the US, then this workaround will let you watch Sling TV no matter your location.
  • We can confirm this method works to let you watch Sling TV in Canada, in the UK, in Australia or anywhere else.
  • You need to set your IP address to the US, which tricks Sling TV into thinking you are connecting to their website or service from within the United States
  • To do this, use a VPN or Smart DNS proxy. This method is a perfectly legal and legitimate workaround. Using a VPN is much easier because the setup process when using smart DNS can be complex.
  • Use a fast VPN so streaming is smooth. Free ones won’t cut it. We recommend ExpressVPN, which is fast, works with all popular devices and has a 30-day money-back guarantee. Take advantage of an offer for 3 free extra months with 12-month plans here.
  • If you don’t already have Sling TV, a 7-day free trial is included for new customers. Using this and ExpressVPN’s money back guarantee, you can try this method risk-free and cancel both if needed, or if you just want a week’s free viewing.
  • Smart DNS services are harder to setup than VPNs but work on more devices. We recommend using Overplay, which we’ve thoroughly tested for this method.

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In detail:

Sling TV is a godsend for cord cutters that don’t want to commit to an all-on-demand diet of TV shows and movies. In particular, live TV such as sports and other real-time events are still best suited for traditional cable and satellite. And while almost all TV shows end up on streaming sites like Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Prime eventually, most of them still air on plain old-fashioned TV first.

Unfortunately, Sling TV is only available in the United States. Even if you buy a subscription in the US with an American billing address, users who travel abroad are blocked from watching any of the content. They can’t even access the Sling TV home page. Instead, users outside the US are greeted with an “Access denied” error page like this one: “The owner of this website (www.sling.com) has banned the country or region your IP address is in (DE) from accessing this website.”

sling tv error page

Luckily, there’s a simple solution. All you need is a VPN or smart DNS proxy

How to watch Sling TV with a VPN

A VPN, or virtual private network, encrypts all of your incoming and outgoing internet traffic before routing it through a server in a remote location of your choice. In this instance, you would simply connect to a VPN server in the US to get an American IP address. Once the connection is established, you can access Sling TV as you normally would from inside the US.

Modern, reputable VPNs like ExpressVPN make this process extremely easy with very little setup or configuration required. Simply sign up, download, install, log in, choose a location, and hit the connect button.

If you have Sling TV installed on a device that doesn’t support VPNs, such as a Chromecast, Roku, Apple TV, or Amazon Fire TV, then the process is not quite as simple but is still do-able.

How to watch Sling TV with a smart DNS proxy

A smart DNS proxy accomplishes the same result as a VPN by “spoofing” your location to make it look to Sling TV as though you’re in the US. The actual mechanism is a bit different, as DNS proxies don’t encrypt or route the bulk of your internet traffic. Instead, only DNS requests are re-routed to the US.

DNS, or domain name system, is sort of like a phone book for the internet that associates IP addresses with domain names (like www.comparitech.com) and locations. By default, most people use the DNS server provided by their internet service provider. By changing to a DNS server in the US, subscribers can effectively unblock Sling TV.

Setting up a smart DNS proxy is a bit more complicated than a VPN, but you don’t need to install any extra software to do it. To use a smart DNS provider like Overplay, it’s just a matter of changing your device’s internet settings. More devices support changing DNS servers than VPNs, including Chromecast, Roku, Amazon Fire TV, and Apple TV. If you prefer to use one of those devices with Sling TV, a smart DNS proxy is the simpler solution.

Sling TV channels and packages

The basic Sling TV package, Sling Orange, costs $20 per month. It comes with the following channels (bold channels are in Sling Orange but not Sling Blue):

A&E, Adult Swim, AMC, AXS TV, BBC America, Bloomberg TV, Cartoon Network, CNN, Comedy Central, Disney Channel, El Rey, ESPN, ESPN2, ESPN3, Flama, Food Network, Freeform (formerly ABC Family), Galavisión, HGTV, History, IFC, Lifetime, Local Now, Maker, Newsy, Polaris+, TBS, TNT, Travel Channel, Viceland (formerly H2)

Sling Blue is the next step, costs $25 per month, and comes with over 40 channels (bold channels are in Sling Blue but not Sling Orange):

A&E, Adult Swim, AMC, AXS TV, BBC America, BET, Bloomberg TV, Bravo, Cartoon Network, CNN, Comcast Sportsnet, Comedy Central, El Rey, Flama, Food Network, FS1, FS2, FX, FXX (on demand), Galavision, HGTV, History, IFC, Lifetime, Local Now, Maker, Nat Geo Wild, National Geographic, NBC (select markets), NBCSN, Newsy, NFL Network, Nick Jr., Polaris+, regional FOX Sports networks (depending on location), Syfy, TBS, TNT, Travel Channel, TruTV, Uni Mas, Univision, USA, Viceland, FOX (select markets)

Finally, there’s the Sling Orange + Blue package, which has all the channels listed above for a total of more than 60. It costs $40 per month.

A 7-day free trial is on offer if you sign up with a credit card. Be sure to cancel before the seven days is up if you don’t want to get charged.

Genre-specific packages can also be added onto any subscription. They usually cost an extra $5 per month.

Bypassing blackouts on Sling TV

In some cases, particularly with live events like sports, some content will be blacklisted in local markets on Sling TV. That means even if you live in the US, you may not be able to see your hometown teams play in local market games because the rights have been bought by a regional broadcaster.

This is not a problem if you have a VPN or smart DNS proxy. Just connect to a different location in the United States and the blackout should no longer be an issue.

Using a VPN on unsupported devices

Roku, Chromecast, and Amazon Fire TV

Some Android-based streaming devices such as Roku, Chromecast, and Amazon Fire TV don’t have built in support for VPNs, and you can’t install a third-party VPN app to do it for you. In this case, you’ll have to set up the VPN on a wifi router.

There are two ways to do this. The first and easiest way is to use a laptop to create a virtual router. This is sort of like creating a wifi hotspot on your smartphone. Once you make a virtual router, you can connect your streaming device to your laptop, then turn on the VPN on that laptop so all the traffic travels through the VPN.

The second way is to set up the VPN directly on your physical home wifi router. This process varies depending on your router’s firmware.

Learn more about how to set up a virtual wifi router using our Windows and Mac tutorials.

Apple TV

Apple TV doesn’t support VPNs, but it does have AirPlay. AirPlay allows you to stream whatever is on your phone or Macbook onto your Apple TV, similar to screencasting in Chrome. Turn on the VPN on your iOS or Mac OSX device, open Sling TV, and use AirPlay Mirroring to get it on your Apple TV.

Sling TV alternatives

The closest competitor to Sling TV in the United States is Playstation Vue. Like Sling TV, Vue is a subscription live TV streaming service only available in the United States. It’s a fair bit more expensive than Sling TV with the base plan starting at $40 for more than 60 channels.

Vue is available on PS3, PS4, Amazon Fire TV, Roku, and Chromecast. It’s not availble on desktop web browsers, and content is limited on mobile.

Those traveling abroad had best avoid Playstation Vue even if you have a VPN. Sony requires that you always log in from your home wifi network in the US, so we can’t guarantee that it can be accessed from another country even with a VPN.

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