When I last wrote about Sling, I was not overly optimistic about this service. It offers some compelling programming for a decent price but has drawbacks. One was lacking the dvr capability of a TIVO. And the other I now realize is the technical aspect. In other words, delivering the product.
ESPN and ESPN 2 is part of the basic bundle and I decided to try it out again so I could watch MLB baseball. Thanks to exclusive content contracts, all MLB programming goes to specific sports channels and the blackout restrictions are pretty heavy. Unless you pay for full cable or satellite package, you will not be seeing much MLB baseball on local broadcast channels. MLB Premium allows you watch just about every game except for the local teams you are excluded from watching. So ESPN gives me a chance to watch some baseball without costing an arm and leg.
Except they are having serious problems. Not only are there occasional feed problems, the infamous “You are Not Allowed To Watch” sign pops up and the game you are watching is gone. I had it more than once and contacted Sling about it. This is their reply:
We are aware that when volumes are high, some programming becomes difficult to stream. We at Sling TV are working as hard as we can in order to provide you with the best or services to our customers. Thank you for giving us this feedback so that we may better accommodate you
It is being reported on other forums as well and seriously angering sports fans. And for good reason. The draw for many is to be able to watch ESPN for as low cost as possible. $20 is a decent price but if the content is constantly being interrupted by technical problems, people are not going to be patient. They will, like me, finally give up in frustration at these problems. Why bother watching a game when it becomes a exercise in frustration with stuttered picture quality or the infamous you are blocked from watching the game sign? Sling is not ready for prime time is my assessment. Sad to say but if you want reliable sports programming via ESPN cable and satellite is still the way to go.
According to engadget.com, there was a major problem on Sling TV. Many tuned in to watch the NCAA Final Four games only to have them unwatchable or blocked. According to engadget:
” a combo of “extreme sign-ups and streaming” triggered the meltdown — Dish wasn’t prepared for the flood of new customers, and had to juggle the load across its networking partners to get things back to normal. That’s an auspicious sign for Sling TV’s future (there’s clearly a lot of demand for live sports online), but let’s hope that it’s better prepared for the next big wave of cord cutters.”