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Sling TV simplifies its confusing interface with a traditional channel guide

Sling TV simplifies its confusing interface with a traditional channel guide


People like what’s familiar

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Sling TV has updated its live, streaming TV app with a straightforward grid of channel listings in an attempt to simplify the viewing experience for users. “Believe it or not, following DVR, the grid guide has consistently been our most requested feature from Sling TV customers,” the company said in a blog post announcing the new feature, which it readily admits is far from revolution.

But in all honesty, it’s pretty easy to believe that customers have been asking for a traditional electronic programming guide (EPG) that’s similar to what you’d find on a basic cable box. Sling TV’s interface has always been under-developed and somewhat befuddling to subscribers. The Dish-owned company tried to address this with an overhauled user experience at CES 2016, but bringing over the tried-and-true guide — a request second only to DVR in popularity — shows that Sling’s own approach wasn’t doing an adequate job for everyone. Customers who prefer the previous UI can easily switch back, however.

Sling TV rivals including DirecTV Now, PlayStation Vue, and YouTube TV already offer straightforward channel guides to make the switch from cable TV to streaming feel a little more familiar. Hulu’s live TV service excludes one by design, however. Before, you could perhaps look past Sling TV’s undercooked UX because of the service’s low price point. A guide should alleviate some of the confusion around actually using the product.

Sling TV is also making the “On Now” screen more useful by sorting live programming based on what’s popular with other users. A show that’s trending with other customers will be surfaced first so you can start streaming it faster. Like the guide, this is something that many cable providers (and Sling’s own parent company) already do. And to better highlight its vault of on-demand shows and movies, Sling TV will also be adding a “Featured” row for each category to the MyTV tab.

All of these changes are available on Android first — right now, in fact — and will come to Sling TV’s app on other devices in the near future.