Likes: Live programming, though not as lively as most subscribers would want.
Dislikes: Not enough big-ticket channels, though ESPN/Disney helps. Your monthly smartphone data allotment could take a hit if you overindulge in live streaming.
Best for: Bedtime viewing of "Gator Boys."
The app: SlingPlayer
Works with: iPhone/iPad/iPod Touch, Android, Windows Phone (smartphones and tablets), Web browsers (Mac or PC), Western Digital and Boxee Box media players, Google TV. The app requires a Slingbox 350 ($178) or Slingbox 500 ($298) connected to a high-definition cable box or satellite dish.
Where/how: Anywhere with a mobile or Internet connection.
Inventory: Everything that's available on your home cable or satellite service, including on-demand, at up to 1080p resolution.
The look: Basic cable/satellite program guide.
Likes: The SlingPlayer is the app every cable company dreams of but can't have because of rights payments or conflicts with networks. Sling Media, owned by the Echostar satellite service, can stream live television of every channel a customer receives at home via cable or satellite dish. (That includes pausing or rewinding live programming, like an in-home DVR.)
Why is it legal? It's considered a variation of time-shifting, a method upheld by courts that allows consumers to record a program for later viewing for personal use.
Dislikes: The price of the box and the app. (A similar product, the Monsoon Vulkano Flow costs less than $100, with a $12.99 app.) The SlingPlayer app does not work with all your devices either. If you own an iPhone and iPad, you must buy an app for each.
Hi-def programming needs a wired connection or superfast Wi-Fi for best quality and a sputter-free video stream.
Best for: Reproducing at-home television access. No cable app can touch it.