Sling TV app - initial impressions

Discussion in 'Apple TV Apps' started by Macwick, Jun 13, 2016.

  1. Macwick macrumors 6502

    Dec 9, 2008
    Just tried the new Sling TV app to see if it would be a better alternative to Channels app + HDHR tuners + HDHR DVR beta.

    Close but no cigar. I love that you can stream from a relatively complete package of channels. I also love that when you tune in to a show, it gives you the option of watching live or starting from the beginning. That said, a few deal breakers (in order of importance):

    1. Video on Demand is almost impossible to access and the selection is sparse. You'd think you could favorite a show and then have easy access to the available VOD episodes for that show. No - the only way to get there seems to be to search for the show *every time* you want to watch it. You can favorite a specific episode of a show (which then shows up in favorites on the home screen). But that only gives you access to that specific episode. Am I missing something? Without DVR, intuitive VOD is essential.

    And when you do find VOD for a particular show, it'll be a smattering of episodes across multiple seasons - no rhyme or reason to it. I suppose this is because they can only include the episodes that are in the current schedule lineup?

    2. Slow buffer time. When 'tuning' to a channel, it takes 5-10 seconds to start playing (my ATV has a 100MB/sec wired connection). I know this is a reasonable buffer time for streaming video, but keep in mind that cable boxes (and on-network tuners like HDHR) start within a second or two. This may not pass the wife test.

    3. 'Channel surfing' when watching a live show isn't limited to favorites. I actually really like the 'swipe up' channel surfing bar that allows you to scroll horizontally through other channels. But surprisingly, they don't limit the channels to your favorites.

    4. Pause doesn't work for all channels. No more bathroom breaks for me.

    5. Cluttered interface. Just a lot going on, small font, looks ugly and crowded.

    All these issues are 'fixable', and I do believe that these sorts of streaming TV apps are the future. The 'watch live' Siri feature in the upcoming tvOS is compelling as well - saying 'Watch CNN' could launch the Sling app and tune to CNN (or will it launch the CNN app? I'll be curious how they manage the Siri 'namespace' for this).

    Anyway, just my 2c. I'll be sticking with the Channels app and HDHR for live TV on my Apple TVs (for now).
  2. benjitek macrumors 6502a


    Sep 23, 2012
    The streaming performance is just as bad on the tvOS as what I've experienced with SlingTV on iOS, macOS, and Roku. I could deal with the cluttered UI if it didn't keep skipping, stopping, audio cutting out, etc. Given these issues have been around since the service started, I'm not holding my breath that one day it'll stream like Netflix. Oh well...
  3. besler3035 macrumors 6502a

    Oct 29, 2004
    Grand Rapids, MI
    Absolutely hate the interface. Hard to find stuff.
  4. aced411 macrumors 6502

    Jun 2, 2007
    It's working really well for me (so far). I've been streaming all morning and last night with no skips, no buffering and a clear picture. Maybe because I have 250mb internet speed idk. The UI on the other hand is garbage. Vue is so much better, but we use Apple TV so it looks sling will have to hold me over.
  5. benjitek macrumors 6502a


    Sep 23, 2012
    Skips have cleared up somewhat this morning, but pre-buffering continues. My connection speed is 100 Mbps and handles all other streaming services without buffering issues. Hopefully they'll improve that -- it's always worse in the evenings, so must be related to volume of users at a given time.

    I'm actually liking the new UI much more than the previous one. The My TV screen is quite useful, especially once you start adding to My Channels and Favorites. My Channels can be accessed while you're watching something, making switching between channels you watch much quicker. A lot nicer than the mess I used to have to navigate. Consistent streaming performance, further UI refinement, DVR functionality, and it'll be a great service.
  6. AL2TEACH macrumors 6502

    Feb 17, 2007
    Denver, CO.
    I'm really liking Sling on both ATV4 and Roku. The buffering issue could be more of a router thing for me.
  7. aced411 macrumors 6502

    Jun 2, 2007
    Well I've already cancelled the trial. I just can't get past the horrible UI, lack of content, slow navigation not to mention it's a little slow to start each stream. I was hoping I could cancel Vue and finally get TV on Apple TV but going from Vue to Sling is like going from an iPhone 6S to the original Samsung Galaxy.
  8. OutGolfn macrumors regular

    Aug 8, 2010
    Sling TV is a good idea but they definitely need to work on their apps/backend for both Apple TV and iOS. There is night and day stream connection differences from the stand alone network app streams and Sling TV. i.e. ESPN's standalone app is almost instant, whereas Sling TV's buffers for a good amount of time on ESPN or ESPN2.

    The Sling TV Apple TV app during primetime prompts random errors or pauses multiple times. If it's brief once or twice its understandable for individuals different internet connections and latency, but the product Sling TV has out now with Apple needs major work. (Disney buying a 1/3 of MLB Advanced Media is telling Disney wants/needs future help on the backend streaming demands coming in the near future)

    I really wanted this to work as the idea of 100% streaming and the content selection within one application makes it compelling. However with Playstation Vue one can use your credentials to log into most of the networks stand alone Apple TV apps for better performance.

    Hopefully with Directv entering this area with their upcoming Directv Now app this fall, the competition will help improve these services. The demand is certainly there and Apple's roadmap with TVos will just get brighter as the content comes and the ability to interact within programs/apps becomes more popular.

Share This Page