Sling TV has been suffering serious problems since around 8PM Tuesday evening, judging by user complaints and official statements from the Sling tech support accounts. The problem appears to be affecting Sling users across the country and across all devices, with only the browser viewing appearing to work for now.
Users have complained of not being able to log into Sling apps, error codes, and incessant buffering on all channels. The Sling Answers Twitter account has been notably devoid of answers; apart from acknowledging the problem several times and directing users to the Chrome browser interface, there’s been little communication from the company.
Update 1900 4/4: Sling has issued a statement, saying that the problem has been fixed:
Our engineers worked through the night to identify the root cause and have implemented a fix. Service has been restored to normal operating conditions. If customers are still experiencing issues, they should restart the app and the service will stream as expected. We apologize for any inconvenience caused by the service interruption.
Problems appeared to start around 7PM last night, and by 8.30PM, the Sling team acknowledged the problem on Twitter:
Since then, we’ve had a handful of updates, but no resolution:
While it’s common for streaming services to get overwhelmed during major events like UFC fights or the Super Bowl, a day-long outage is a much less frequent occurrence. Sling is the biggest live-streaming TV service with over two million subscribers, which means its systems are likely put under greater pressure than most of the competitors.
Reliability and ease of use are commonly cited as one of the concerns that cable users have with switching over to live-streaming services. Normally, those concerns are about how easy it is to find content or problems with the streaming device. However, cable TV runs over dedicated, reserved frequencies on the cable network, whereas live-streaming TV services have to compete with other internet traffic. The reliance on multiple servers and the complexity of the technology also means you’re more likely to get a system-wide outage like this.