Monday, November 16, 2015

Sling TV -- It's good...until it's not

Sling TV -- It's good...until it's not

Recently I took Sling TV up on an offer of two weeks of free service.  We don't have cable, just a mohu leaf antenna (love it!) so the idea of receiving a number of cable channels for $19.99 a month (plus tax) was attractive.  Unfortunately I have been unimpressed so far.  When we actually receive streaming in HD, it is great.  I know many people subscribe just to access ESPN.  However, most of the time we can only watch in extremely low resolution and the viewing is painful.

Oceanic Cable is my internet service provider and over the last three months service has been quite reliable with only one outage during severe weather.  
We have a Roku and routinely watch Netflix, Amazon, Ustream, and PBSs without issue and generally in HD (when applicable).  The Sling TV, channel, however often is nearly impossible to watch due to low resolution.  Television show credits are impossible to see due to pixelation.  I have tested my download and upload speeds and the numbers are usually on the north side of 35mbps, plenty of speed, according to Sling TV.  They have been showing my speeds (within the Sling TV app on the Roku) as only 0.3 mbps. I know many factors can be involved, but I find it hard to believe it is an issue with my provider since I have no issue running a number of devices simultaneously and streaming.  

One other issue to be aware of with Sling TV is that there are very few channels that allow you to rewind or play programs that are not currently running real time on television.  If you want to watch The Walking Dead on AMC, you need to clear your schedule and watch it at the same time as broadcast tv.  This is something I am no longer used to doing after years of streaming my television shows.

So while your mileage may vary, I do not think I will be signing up for this service after the 14 day introductory period.  If you have a Roku device, you may wish to give it a try.  You can sign up for two weeks free directly through the Sling TV channel on the Roku.  

If you do give it a try, let me know what you think in the comments below.

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