Your Experiences with Sling TV

Based off google searches and Sling TVs’ twitter accounts I don’t think this is unique to me, but curious what others’ experience has been with Sling TV.

I find it to be pretty buggy…in that I can generally expect several freezing moments (a few seconds) during a 30 minute broadcast. It really feels like a Sling bandwidth issue, as I don’t see it much, if at all, when I’m watching TV at 6 AM, but if it’s 8-10 PM and I’m streaming a big event (football game, especially) I see more interruptions and occasionally dead freezes where I have to back out of the app and log back in to restore. I’ve had this happen on a variety or Roku’s, and over multiple connection types - wired, wireless 5ghz, and wireless 2.4 ghz.

I can get around this pretty well by using the Watch ESPN app instead, but that sacrifices the channel surfing experience Sling provides. The fact that my Tablo and lots of other apps (watch ESPN, Amazon Prime, NASA TV, MLB TV) don’t have similar playing issues makes me inclined to believe those issues are Sling-related.

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I’ve experienced the same issues with sling except mine doesn’t always freeze, but it lowers the bit rate and the picture looks pretty bad.

Another issue I have with it is the volume level between channels. With certain channels the TV volume needs to be almost 3/4 of the way up just to hear it and with others it’s normal. It gets pretty annoying. This issue is much worse for my Roku tv than it is for my Roku 3’s.

I’ve only subscribed to sling a little over a month now and am considering cancelling it now that the fall shows are starting up again.

Overall…it’s ok. My current stance on Sling is that it’s great for casual TV watching of CNN, HGTV, Disney, etc…but it tends to fail during what I would consider big events. Football on ESPN, the Presidential debates on CNN, big-viewership TV events (Fear the Walking Dead premiere, for example). It seems the greater the viewership of a particular show…the more likely you are to see buffering, low-bitrates, etc. But…bottom-line: for $20, it’s worth it for me.

It’s also nice that it enables one to sign into WatchESPN. That gives me access to ESPN3, and its streams of ESPN events tends to be more reliable than the Sling app, in my experience.

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I’m glad you brought up the subject - I’m sure a lot of us cord-cutters use both Tablo and Sling so certainly relevant here. In addition to the freezing during big events, I also experience little pops, pauses and reloading during regular shows. Sports look terrible with artifacting during things like a quick scans across the field and crowded fov sequences. This is on a wireless Roku3 - I haven’t had the occassion to test the mobile app too much yet. Overall, for a paid service, I’m disappointed in the quality, especially when a big event crashes it. It’s convenient and nice that the channels load quickly with no buffering - even the ones that allow pausing and rewinding - unlike some other services ;). But to be out from under the weight of Comcash - priceless!

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I’ll also add that the repetitive commercials on ESPN are ridiculous! Like literally the same two EVERY break and sometimes 2 or more times in the same break. Someone mentioned in another forum that they thought they were getting a lesser version of HBO than say someone with cable. I’d venture to say that I’m getting the bargain basement version of ESPN with all the pauses, freezes and repetitive commercials. Just now watching the USC game, I looked up and even though the audio continued uninterrupted, the video has been frozen for the last 3 minutes! Almost as bad as some of those illegal overseas websites I’ve heard about.

I had SlingTV when it first came out. It appears they do not have enough bandwidth if a bunch of people are watching - for example NBA Playoff, Superbowl, etc. Also you can only watch one stream at a time, so if there is more than one person in your house, you both need to be watching the same channel. You can not record.

I’ll try SlingTV again during basketball playoff again and see if they have improved.

I think I agree with just about every comment here. All in all…the ESPN suite of channels and CNN are a must have for me, so I can deal with the interruptions (and as one user pointed out, watch ESPN generally works well), but really hoping Dish views it important to invest in improving the quality, or a competitor emerges. It’s a pretty good foundation and when working compliments Tablo nicely for the cord cutter.

We have had Sling since the day it came out. Our experience has been up and down, but I agree that the bigger the viewership, the more likely you are to be frozen or disconnected. HGTV is always good (on our hard wired Roku 3 with 50mb downstream internet), but the first episode of “Fear The Walking Dead” was a disaster. In their defense, I watched the latest episode of FTWD without a single issue, so maybe they are starting to get it right when it comes to popular shows (see next paragraph).

I added the Sports Pack to get a few more ESPN channels, as well as the SEC channel. IMHO, it is worth the money. I watched an entire football game on ESPNU Saturday afternoon, not one glitch in three hours. Tried to watch the USC football game Saturday night on ESPN and had several issues throughout the broadcast. Again, they need to figure out how to deliver consistent content no matter how popular the telecast is.

I am going to stick with Sling for a while and see how the service evolves and hopefully improves. I want my ESPN, my wife wants her HGTV, and we both equally hate Comcast!

We subscribed to Sling a few months back and I just cancelled it last week. Unfortunately it seemed many times we sat down to watch either TBS or HGTV, it would freeze or just not have them available. I’ve found other ways to get my Seinfeld and HGTV fix’s, so thats $25 back in my pocket. I would certainly try them again in the future when the reviews seem to get better.

I tried Sling back when it first came out and thought the performance was pretty good. I didn’t have a good set up for OTA TV at that point, so we cancelled it after a couple months. Last week I purchased a Tablo and reactivated sling. This weekend was our cord-cutting “test” - we disconnected the cable tv box and ran on Tablo and Sling via an Amazon FireTV. We are 1.5 days in, and the wife and kids hate me. :smile:

Sling has been a hot mess. Friday night my son was trying to watch Shipping Wars, and Sling kept crashing and kicking us out to the FireTV menu. When I’d try to get back in it would say ‘check your internet connection’. I have 30mbps service, but I ran a few tests to make sure my internet was ok. I was getting 25ms pings, 30mpbs down and 5bmps up (what I’m supposed to get), VOIP phone was performing fine, and Netflix and anything from Amazon was streaming just fine (we only had one stream going - the Sling stream). We tried for about 2 hours (between about 7pm and 9pm to get shows streaming on Sling. We rebooted the FireTV, reinstalled the Sling application - you name it. Hadn problems again Saturday night during prime time.

Unfortunuately, the Tablo hasn’t been a whole lot better. Everything is hardwired with gigabit ethernet, and the performance of the Tablo has been painfully slow. I just signed on here to post to see if I could find something to speed up the Tablo when I came across this post about Sling. Right now I have wife and three kids voting to return it all and keep the cable TV. :slight_smile: I’m not giving up yet, but things don’t look good so far.



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Figured I’d update and also compare experiences with you all,

I’ve seen moderate improvement in Sling. I have noticed much longer loading times when I go to view a ‘big event’ channel, but better viewing once it does finish loading. Over the weekend the MLB playoffs would take maybe 10 minutes to load the stream (I had to really test my patience to wait!), but, no issues really the entire game once it loaded.

I have a theory…I’m not sure Sling has done anything to add more throughput, but suspect they may have implemented a one-in, one-out type system, so that they’re only allowing the max users in that the stream can handle. The result is that you may see a long loading time (waiting to get in), but once you’re in, they’re throttling the # of users so the buffering/dropping is much lessened. This is not good, though, for channel surfing within Sling.

Have you tried just using WatchESPN and saying that Sling is your cable provider?

WatchESPN (usually I use my Roku3) has been a lot more stable for me than using ESPN (and its networks) on Sling. However, you do have the same one-user limitation like you do with Sling, so if someone starts a Sling session while you are watching a game, it will cut you off.

The commercials that Sling use are the same ones that WatchESPN uses. I agree that they are annoyingly repetitive.

I dropped Sling back in April. It wasn’t worth it to me.

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ESPN was almost unwatchable all weekend for me on their network. WatchESPN was better but I didn’t try it until late yesterday. I noticed a pattern though with the problems. First, I only had a minute or so wait at most to get in. Once on the channel, the pauses and stops were constant. This is on PC, Android, and Roku 3 - all on Sling’s network. Every time, and I mean EVERY time they would show the NBA commercial with the pointing finger coming right at the camera, as soon as it got to the end, it would freeze at the same point! I think it happens at the transition from their ‘in-house’ commercial to the “We’re in commercial break” logo that plays briefly between spots. I have to just hit the remote’s ‘ok’ button twice to clear it but literally 50 times a game is ridiculous! I was about to huck the remote through the screen! Also had to reboot the Tablo 3 times on Saturday due to it throwing me back to the guide every time I tried to change the channel. It was like both tuners were busy but they weren’t. Bad TV weekend all in all.

Sling has been serviceable, but buggy. As most have stated, there are major bandwidth issues on major events, like major show premiers, or Monday night football. If you are experience issues with Sling, you can lookup “is sling down”, and you’ll most likely see a lot of people reporting problems/cursing out Sling.

Like snowcat stated above, WatchESPN works with your Sling subscription. I think you even get ESPN3 and maybe one or two more with the basic sub. I don’t have as many issues using WatchESPN, and they also actually show commercials instead of the looping ESPN logo and music on Sling. It’s just a little less monotonous/making you insane.

I’ve found that some live shows can appear VERY dark. For instance, in Game of Thrones, when Arya goes into the hall of faces, you could barely see anything. Watching it back on the On-Demand version, it was much lighter, and you could make out all the details. Basically like turning up the gamma in a video game.

I find it good enough for my purposes anyways, not perfect and can be frustrating at times.

I have, and I do often, but for events like MLB playoffs that are on the TBS Family I’m sort of stuck with Sling’s interface.

I’ve been using it for the last couple of months now. While it isn’t perfect, it does give me access to shows I can’t get OTA or legally online. Over wifi I haven’t had much of an issue getting streams to start. The one thing I don’t like is the app makes quick work of a battery when using AirPlay. Yikes!

At first, I had my doubts about Sling. Too many delays, too many grainy pictures waiting for the high res picture to become available.

With that said, the service that I receive from Sling has gotten continuously better, and “The Walking Dead” on AMC has been perfect for the last two weeks.

This is enough to keep me subscribing to Sling.

Sling TV is the reason we cancelled our satellite TV subscription.
Stability and performance are both increasing all the time.

Currently we get 23 channels for $20 per month.
Granted, we really only care about half of them, but they’re the ones that count:
Cartoon Network
Adult Swim
El Rey
Food Network
Travel Channel

Not an ESPN in sight!

Life gets in the way of watching sports.

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