While HBO’s "Game of Thrones" will probably still be a cash cow by the time AT&T finally closes on HBO parent Time Warner Inc., AT&T is finding that the series is also a useful litmus test for livestreaming technology.
Viewers took to social media Sunday night to complain about livestreaming issues while trying to watch the season seven premiere of GOT on DirecTV Now, as well as HBO Go and the HBO website.
@directvnow we trusted you to be our GOT provider . Waited all year for right now... YOU HAD ONE THING TO DO, ONE THING— Chris Plesco (@navarachi) July 17, 2017
TVPredictions.com was the first to report on the DirecTV Now trouble.
An AT&T representative, however, issued an unclear statement to FierceCable that seemed to deny that there were any technical issues.
An HBO representative did confirm to Variety that the programmer had trouble with its livestreaming infrastructure in Latin America.
Notably, Sling TV experienced service interruptions in April 2015 trying to livestream a season premiere of "Game of Thrones."
“Scaling a database is hard, and not quick,” said Michelle McLean, VP of marketing at database load balancing software vendor ScaleArc, releasing an opportunistic statement. “This is complicated engineering, and it often has to get paired with adjustments to the application code hitting that database. These kinds of meltdowns are common during surge events—like ESPN suffered with the launch of Fantasy Football or when Macy’s suffered last Black Friday."
"You can prep for those events, and you can be sure that HBO prepped. But sometimes, despite all the testing, traffic levels exceed your preparation," McLean added. "As previous website crashes have shown, the weak spot in the technology stack was likely the database. The physics around having an application talk to multiple instances of a database remains a challenge. HBO will likely be scrambling to build more elasticity into the data tier to avoid this kind of catastrophic outage in the future.”