Sling TV slips during final four, springs back too little too late

how to watch final four in virtual reality ncaa
If you were counting on Sling TV to watch the NCAA semifinals this past weekend, chances are good you wound up disappointed and frustrated as you missed most of the two big games.

By Sling TV’s own admissions, unusually high levels of new user sign-ups and sheer streaming traffic was simply more than the service could handle, and resulted in service interruption for some viewers. Many who wanting to watch Duke take on Michigan St. and/or Wisconsin vs. Kentucky instead received stuttered feeds, buffering icons, or nothing at all.

As the first major sporting event since its launch in January 2015, this was Sling TV’s first real stress test, and if user reactions on Twitter are anything to go by, it appears to have failed. However, the service was reasonably quick to respond, as its traffic load was quickly reworked for better balance among its network partners. Unfortunately, as some subscribers noted in their replies to Sling, the effort was “too little, too late.”

But was the issue as widespread as the vocal minority would make it seem? A statement by Sling TV issued to Digital Trends indicates that not to be the case:

Despite our best planning, we experienced an unprecedented combination of new customer signups and high levels of viewership. These factors stressed our systems. While the viewing experience was spot on for the vast majority of our customers, we were able to rebalance traffic loads for those who were affected and improve the experience for the remainder of the evening. 

As always, we continue to improve how our system performs, including its stability during peak loads.

Part of Sling TV’s appeal as a Web TV product is that it offers access to a wide array of sports programming for just $20/month. In addition to the highly coveted ESPN, Sling TV also delivers ESPN2, TNT, and TBS as part of its core package. A $5 sports add-on package offers nine more sports networks from ESPN, NBC and Univision, among others. Sling TV is available on a wide array of devices, including Amazon Fire TV and Roku set-top boxes, the Xbox One gaming console, and iOS and Android mobile devices.

At a time when IPTV services like Sling TV and the competing PlayStation Vue want to prove they’re ready to compete with big cable, it is important that they perform well under high demands. Indeed, the 2015 NCAA semifinals represented a huge demand, not just on Sling TV, but across all platforms. According to the NCAA, the two games pulled in 41.7 million total viewers for an increase of 24% over last year.

Unfortunately Sling TV won’t get a chance at redemption for a while. The NCAA final game airs tonight on CBS, a channel Sling TV doesn’t carry (yet). Instead, we may have to wait until the NBA finals start heating up in early May, 2015.


These Prime Day deals knock Echo and Ring prices to ridiculous lows

fter weeks of anticipation, Amazon Prime Day deals are finally here, with 24 more hours of non-stop deals. Prime Day is loaded with deep discounts on Echo, Ring Video Doorbells and Fire TV devices
Home Theater

Kill your cable and switch to streaming with our painless guide

If you're going to quit cable or satellite for a streaming TV solution, you're going to want to get it right the first time. We've outlined exactly how to get started, step by step. Follow our lead, and you'll never look back.
Home Theater

Google Chromecast and Chromecast Ultra: Everything you need to know

Google's Chromecast plugs into your TV's HDMI port, allowing you to stream content from your tablet, laptop, or smartphone directly to your TV. Here's what you need to know about all iterations, including the 4K-ready Chromecast Ultra.
Movies & TV

Do you have questions about Hulu? We have all the answers

Not sure which Hulu subscription is right for you? We're here to help. This is your complete guide to Hulu and Hulu+Live TV, including content offerings for each service, pricing, internet requirements, and more.
Home Theater

What is YouTube TV? Here’s everything you should know about the TV service

YouTube TV is becoming an increasingly major competitor to other streaming services. Not sure if the service might be right for you? Don’t worry, we have a guide detailing everything you could want to know about the service.
Movies & TV

Sit down and watch some of the best stand-up comedy on Netflix

Feeling a little funny? There are hundreds of hilarious comedy specials out there, and you can't be expected to comb through them all. Lucky for you, we've compiled a list of the best stand-up specials on Netflix.

Walmart Prime Day sale: 4K TV, Apple Watch, and Nintendo Switch Deals

The Walmart Prime Day sale continues to go strong as the first day of Amazon's 48-hour deals event comes to a close. There are loads of great Apple Watch, Nintendo Switch, and 4K TV deals going on right now.

Best of the best Prime Day 2019 Tuesday deals on Echo, 4K TV, Apple, Instant Pot

The deals keep coming for Prime Day 2019 as we enter the second day of the summer sales bonanza. Here are the very best of the best Prime Day deals for smart home devices, 4K TVs, Apple products, and small kitchen appliances.

The ultimate Prime Day deal? Amazon knocks $700 off the Samsung WH-N950 soundbar

Talk about a cracking Prime Day deal. Amazon has knocked a staggering $700 off the Samsung HW-N950 — a top-rated Dolby Atmos soundbar that comes bundled with two wireless rear speakers and a subwoofer.

Pick up Sony’s best noise-canceling headphones on the cheap on Prime Day

There's never been a better time to snag a pair of wireless noise-canceling headphones. That's because Amazon, as part of its ongoing Prime Day celebrations, has knocked $50 off one of the best pairs out there — the Sony WH-1000XM3.

Amazon is running some killer Fire TV deals to celebrate Prime Day 2019

Amazon has kicked off a number of killer deals on some of its finest cord-cutting devices, including the Fire TV Stick and Fire TV Stick 4K to celebrate Prime Day 2019.

Best Prime Day headphone deals: Bose, Sony, and wireless earbuds on sale

Solitude doesn't always come cheap, but now that Prime Day 2019 has arrived, it's a little more affordable. Amazon has slashed the price of a number of top-rated headphones from the likes of Bose and Sony for its online shopping bonanza.

Best Prime Day soundbar deals: Samsung, Sonos, and more

Searching for a cracking deal on a soundbar this Prime Day 2019? You're in luck — we've rounded up all of the best soundbars on sale, so you don't have to scroll through Amazon's never-ending catalog in search of a diamond in the ruff.

Best Prime Day speaker deals: Bose, Klipsch, and Polk treated to hefty discounts

Looking to spruce up your audio setup this Prime Day? You've come to the right place — we've found Bose, Denon, and Polk speakers, among several Bluetooth offerings, for a fraction of their retail price.