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Sling TV experiences

Posted: Thu Feb 19, 2015 12:00 pm
by onmyway33
After a recent price increase by my cable provider and only partially successful negotiations to have them lower the price, I am seriously considering dropping my cable service entirely. My plan is to switch to Sling TV ($20/month) for the few cable channels offered and pulling network channels over the air for free. I just heard that Dish is offering an Amazon Fire stick for free or a reduced price for a fire TV box if you pre-pay 3 months of service. I have a relatively slow internet download speed of 5mbps (I'm frugal :D ). I believe that this should be sufficient but would love to hear experiences from people in the field. I would really love to drop pay for TV entirely to limit my TV consumption and expenditures, but this is the compromise I made with my wife who enjoys TV.

Has anyone made the switch to Sling and is willing to share their experiences so far?

Is so, do you also mind sharing your internet speed and if this has any impact on picture quality?


Re: Sling TV experiences

Posted: Thu Feb 19, 2015 12:50 pm
by anil686
I do not have an Amazon Fire Stick - have an apple tv though. 5 mbps sounds too slow - I have 50/50 via Fios and it is good wired but slow via wifi (router dependent). I do not know if you will get a full 5 via a router or not - but via wifi - it is sometimes slow to load and choppy during some parts. I do not have sling tv - please keep us updated with your experience - seriously the only thing that keeps me paying for cable is ESPN...

Re: Sling TV experiences

Posted: Thu Feb 19, 2015 1:09 pm
by onmyway33
FWIW, the current $20/month deal from Sling TV offers the following channels: ESPN, ESPN2, TNT, TBS, Food Network, HGTV, travel channel, AMC, adult swim/cartoon network, Disney channel, abc family, CNN, and I have heard that they will be offering AMC in the near future.

Re: Sling TV experiences

Posted: Thu Feb 19, 2015 1:45 pm
by train42
I signed up for the 7-day free trial last week. I have 6 MBps dsl and use a Roku stick. I watched about four hours of programming during the free trial. Except for a five-minute stretch where it appeared to lose its connection (I don't know if this was Sling's fault or an issue with my dsl) I was happy with the picture quality.

Re: Sling TV experiences

Posted: Thu Feb 19, 2015 2:02 pm
by jhfenton
I've been using Sling TV for two weeks over our 15Mbps DSL. There are clients for Macs, Windows, Rokus, iOS, Android, Fire TV. There's nothing direct for Apple TV yet, but it plays reasonably well on an Apple TV from an iPad or iPhone over AirPlay. The quality is adaptive, but is B+/A- when your bandwidth is good. It can become a little pixelated if the bandwidth gets pinched (wife and/or kids watching Netflix, Hulu, or YouTube at the same time). I've tried it on Roku, Mac, PC, iPad, and iPhone. The clients are a bit less than ideal, but they're functional, and I expect them to get better. They still lack a true program guide or any sort of DVR functionality on most of the channels. They are still limiting users to one stream per household. You can authenticate through Sling to get access to the WatchESPN app or website, so for ESPN you can watch on the Apple TV or ESPN's website or any native WatchESPN app. So far, I haven't seen Sling show up as an approved provider on the TNT or TBS apps, so you can't use those yet.

We've been cord cutters for a couple of years. Beyond Internet access, we subscribe to Netflix ($7.99) and Hulu ($7.99), and I run two in-house Plex Media Servers (upstairs and downstairs) with a large library of recorded TV shows and movies ripped from blu-rays. During NBA season, I subscribe to NBA League Pass Broadband so that I can watch my San Antonio Spurs for 60 or so of the 82 games. But, the games on ESPN, TNT, and NBA TV are blacked out. Sling fills more than 2/3 of that whole and offers some other valuable channels (ABC Family and, eventually, AMC).

We're leaning 60/40 on keeping it, at least during the NBA season. I will probably turn our subscription off during the summer.


Re: Sling TV experiences

Posted: Thu Feb 19, 2015 2:05 pm
by FelixTheCat
I am thinking of switching too. Cable has priced themselves too high. I'll keep paying because I'm a Game of Thrones junkie.

Re: Sling TV experiences

Posted: Thu Feb 19, 2015 2:25 pm
by jebmke
I am interested in this as well. May be a good wedge to negotiate with cable company. Up til now have no leverage in our market due to one cable monopoly and no alternatives like FIOS.

Need to see what we get for main networks using an antennae. We are pretty remote from urban area so may still be stuck.

Re: Sling TV experiences

Posted: Thu Feb 19, 2015 2:53 pm
by tbradnc
Sling/Netflix/Hulu/Amazon/HBO streaming... it's getting expensive to be a cord cutter!

Re: Sling TV experiences

Posted: Sat May 30, 2015 2:05 pm
by Barefootgirl
Any updates on this relatively new service? Any users who are happy with it overall?

Re: Sling TV experiences

Posted: Sat May 30, 2015 3:24 pm
by stevewolfe
We had sling for a 7 day trial period right after launch and canceled it. We have comcast performance cable internet. The service was having buffering issues intermittently. The picture quality was very good.

Then Game of Thrones started and they have the $15 add on for HBO, so we thought we'd try it again for a month hoping that the issues with buffering were resolved. It appears they are largely resolved. We have found that streaming seems to work flawlessly from the following devices:

1) Roku 3 (wireless).
2) Google Nexus 7 tablet (wireless).
3) Mac Mini (wireless)

However the device that seems to have the most interruptions or "hangs" where we have to press "OK" on the remote to get the channel to "load" again - is the Roku 1 (wireless) device. I don't know if it's just the internal antenna that is the issue, some interference or it's placement, but for what it's worth, we've had much better success with the Roku 3 model, YMMV.

We'll likely have the service for 5-6 months a year and not for 5-6 months a year. i like that I can turn it off monthly or turn up / down the features monthly. Picture quality is nicer than the compressed garbage Comcast sends down the pipe... :beer

Re: Sling TV experiences

Posted: Sat May 30, 2015 3:40 pm
by tbradnc
I think just the fact you can subscribe/unsubscribe with the click of your mouse is a huge plus. Calling a cable company, being on hold, talking to a retention specialist and *maybe* getting a bit of a discount only to have to repeat the process every 6 months is a huge PITA as far as I'm concerned.

Re: Sling TV experiences

Posted: Sat May 30, 2015 3:48 pm
by JoeJohnson
I use it for the NCAA basketball March Madness as well as NBA playoffs through a Roku 3.

My connection speed is 20 and buffering is good 99% of the time. As somebody mentioned, the picture will hand occasionally and have to use the remote to get it going again. I do not find the picture quality to be superb all the time. The colors look downright terrible at times. I usually plenty of other services e.g. Netflix and have no issues with those services.

Overall, cheap way to access March Madness and NBA playoffs. Might use it for MLB playoffs in the fall as well. If they ever create sign-up fees or cancellation fees similar to cable, I will never subscribe. The fact I can use it 2 or 3 months every year is a huge perk.

Re: Sling TV experiences

Posted: Sat May 30, 2015 6:43 pm
by bloom2708
Before you sign up, know two things:

1. It is single user. 1 stream. If another TV starts watching the other stream is kicked out.
2. To get a good picture quality you will download a lot of data. Make sure you don't have a bandwidth limit.

Our cable provider has a 300GB/month limit. That is ~10 GB per day. If you watch several hours of HD/top quality programming you will rip through 10 GB quite fast. A 2 hour HD movie might be 5-6GB. If you go over 3 times (exceed your monthly limit) you have to move up to the next package. $50 up to $80. $80 gets you 400 GB.

I find it interesting that their "top tier" $100 internet package has a 500 GB download limit. They advertise faster and faster speeds (now 100 MB/S) but you can't download past a certain point. It is like giving me a red Ferrari but only allowing me to drive it in a 20 mph school zone. :oops:

Super HD content on Netflix is close to 7 GB/hour. That will rip into your download limits.

If you only need 1 stream and have no download/bandwidth restrictions on your internet service, then it is a good bargain.

Set it to the top quality picture and stream away.