HBO on Sling TV: a sub-standard version on purpose?

Discussion in 'Sling TV' started by Video_Fan_Boy, Sep 4, 2015.

  1. Excellent - as good as HBO Go or HBO Now

  2. Its Okay, but could be better

  3. Its a sub-standard version of HBO

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  1. Video_Fan_Boy

    Video_Fan_Boy New Member

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    I got SlingTV in June expressly to watch HBO and ESPN, however I've been really frustrated with Sling product, and in particular its version of HBO. Because of the upcharge for HBO, it is truly shocking how Sling seems to pass on what seems like a sub-standard HBO version to its customers. Several problems observed:
    1. new HBO releases/shows do not consistently and timely appear on Sling's listing or searches. I've seen this with a few HBO programs, sometimes the night of release the show is available as it should be, but other times it does not (and its getting worse). Of the shows I watch at least half are not available the night of the release, and it may take a few days and at least in one case I had to call Sling to open a case a week after the show!! When I called support, they put you through a rigamarole of ridiculousness trying to pin the problem on your home network etc. When I asked for a manager and she checked their own HBO line up, she confirmed the show was not available, it still took TWO MORE DAYS after that for it to show up.
    2. Several on-demand HBO shows get chopped off or pixelated while the show is playing (repeatedly, IOW if you rewind the video the problem is visible again and again, that means it is inherent to the video file). Based on this, it would seem that Sling is recording the HBO stream (and using a bad connection to do so), Sling is not actually getting a fresh copy of the material from HBO, nor is this a direct connection to HBO. In John Oliver's Aug 29th show, there are a few places where the stream cuts off and skips ahead 30-60 seconds!! You can rewind and this is consitently repeatable.
    3. The Sling GUI interface on Roku is one of the most cluter-F@#$@#$@ I've ever seen. It is totally non-intuitive, the back arrow takes you to another channel not to the previous action. To see the HBO content on-demand, you go up arrow and THEN down arrow to see an incomplete list of HBO shows (most, ~90%) are missing. YOu ahve to do a "Search" to find the shows. The GUI interface is in serious need of a design person to come in and redo the whole thing.
    I am a cord cutter (for ~4 yrs now). I am an avid tester of all streaming media. Started with Tivo way back, have done Roku, Chromecast, various smart TVs and their little OS brains, apple TV, hooked up laptops to HDMI ports, TV everywhere solutions (testing my friends' accounts), etc. etc. . IOW: not a noob. I've had the opportunity to use HBO on other services, so I know how good it can work. Overall I am dismayed at how much Sling charges for a product that seems Alpha at best, to call it Beta would be too much credit. It also doesnt seem like they acknowledge this fact, when I asked for a refund for all the issues and time taken to call Sling and open cases about these problems the best i got was a $5 refund. I get the feeling they just dont care, and seeing how these fundamental problems do not get fixed I would guess the really dont.
     
    Pascual and Rob Lister like this.
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  3. Rob Lister

    Rob Lister Staff Member Community Leader

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    What a detailed review! Thanks! I was impressed with what Sling was offering when they first came out. Now it looks like it was only a little better than vaporware. But they got their billing department working just fine.
     
  4. olandir

    olandir Well-Known Member

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    I use Sling but do NOT have HBO. I have only the basic package.

    I watch Sling through a Roku3 box and will agree, the interface needs help. As does the On Demand viewing of shows. Going backward in a channel to a previous show (if the channel has that option) is pretty intuitive

    Searching for shows can be a little weird. I had problems playing shows that I found at the very beginning, not so much now, but it's still not "apparent" sometimes that you can even search for shows.

    All and all I like Sling but it definitely has some room for improvement and needs to get through its growing pains. Dish needs to be more aggressive with it as well. I feel like they lost steam after the HBO thing.
     
  5. briannagodess

    briannagodess Well-Known Member

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    That's really frustrating on your part. We subscribe to online streaming sites to be able to watch our favourite shows or movies on time. It can be a waste of money and time if you aren't able to enjoy the service that SlingTV is giving you. And again, they're using that line about customer or network problem. They cannot accept that they do have issues and they need to fix these issues ASAP.
     
  6. bleblanc10

    bleblanc10 Well-Known Member

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    I prefer HBO more than Sling personally.
     
  7. Ferd Burfle

    Ferd Burfle New Member

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    Billing works for them, not as well for us. Using the Sling TV Web site to cancel my HBO add-on I was informed that the unsubscribe would go into effect at the next billing cycle, but that did not happen. I noticed the overcharge on my CC bill a couple months later, and I logged back into SlingTV.com to check the status. Sure enough, I was still subscribing to HBO. A second try (I figured I must have done something wrong) produced the same result for this month.

    It took a few choicely-worded email exchanges to get Sling to refund a portion of the unwanted monthly charges. I got three emails in a row telling me that the Terms of Service don't allow for refunds, but eventually they saw I wasn't going to give up and managed to straighten things out.

    I really like the idea of Sling TV; I'm just not thrilled with the execution.
     
  8. njmurvin

    njmurvin Well-Known Member

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    I didn't consider HBO via Sling:

    1) You can only watch Sling from one device at a time. I believe HBO Now allows 3.

    2) As pointed out in your review, the user interface is HORRID. With HBO, I don't use FFWD/REW as much as it's already non-commercial. But, those functions are virtually useless on Sling (at least they are on my 2 Rokus).

    The ONLY reason I'm thinking of staying with Sling is because I can't find its content anywhere else. Maybe that will change in the future if Netflix, Amazon and Hulu make better deals with those cable providers.
     
  9. pwarbi

    pwarbi Well-Known Member

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    It's an interesting idea that some of the cable channels on various streaming media are purposely bad so we revert back to the original format but these days I'm not sure if that would work.

    No matter what cable channels say, I think they are slowly accepting the fact that if they don't embrace streaming, then people simply just won't watch their channels, so to purposely run a poorer version is just detrimental to themselves more than it is to us.
     
  10. Double D

    Double D Well-Known Member

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    I just cut the cord a week ago. I have been surprised at the weak HBO version myself. I only have it for Game of Thrones but still, I feel like I need to watch it live or I won't get to see it later in the night. Finding their on demand options is not user friendly at all either. I'm going to call sling to drop HBO and get it through my Roku instead. I hope that is better.
     
  11. DustnBones001

    DustnBones001 Well-Known Member

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    My main issue with the HBO on Sling is that we only get one live channel for the $15. We should have access to all the HBO channels but greedy copaines are gonna greed.
     
  12. Lost in Delaware

    Lost in Delaware Well-Known Member

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    HBO via Sling TV at least has a live feed....(I love Sling TV BTW), HBO Now for Roku is garbage ...pure and total garbage. No live feed. You can not add seasons to a watchlist, just individual episodes. The selection is weak. The interface is bad. The closed captioning stays on screen even after the conversation is done, until someone talks again. It's a joke.
     
    DustnBones001 likes this.
  13. Lost in Delaware

    Lost in Delaware Well-Known Member

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    $15 for HBO Now on Roku and you get NO live channel
     
  14. DustnBones001

    DustnBones001 Well-Known Member

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    Exactly its ridiculous not to mention the poor interface, constant freezing, and other annoying issues. The HBO on Sling at least includes a live feed with the full on demand library and while it still sucks to not be able to add shows and movies to a watch list its pretty easy to navigate. Now the HBO on Sling does have some issues the resolution is ok HBO Now does stream in much better resolution. And it sucks to only get the main linear channel I would love to have access to all the live HBO channels with the subscription.
     
  15. Lost in Delaware

    Lost in Delaware Well-Known Member

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    Agreed...... but for the picture quality, HBO Now image looks very compressed to me.
     
  16. DustnBones001

    DustnBones001 Well-Known Member

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    Yeah HBO Now did look very compressed. The entire app is pretty much a letdown. I'm going to stick with HBO on Sling. I prefer to have the live channel and on demand.
     
  17. Lost in Delaware

    Lost in Delaware Well-Known Member

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    Live stream makes a world of difference. Sometimes I don't want to start watching a whole movie from beginning to end, I just like to jump around and catch parts of movies. It is also a great way to discover shows/films you would never have known about.
     
  18. DustnBones001

    DustnBones001 Well-Known Member

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    For me I spend so long browsing through the on demand I can never decide what to watch lol. It's nice to just watch whats currently airing and like you said its a good way to find hidden gems that you would've probably never gave a chance if you were just browsing the on demand content. I do wish it was possible to just subscribe to HBO on sling directly without the core package but with their new multi stream package it has given it more value. $35 is much cheaper than a cable package.
     
    Lost in Delaware likes this.

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