Sling TV CEO takes shots at DirecTV Now’s streaming troubles

Sling TV CEO Roger Lynch. Image: Dish Network

“You should add @directvnow to that list of things to stay away from!” tweeted Sling TV CEO Roger Lynch today, in response to a Tweet from AT&T’s DirecTV Now streaming service warning customers to stay away from the cabins, woods and masks featured in the Friday the 13th movies. “Try @Sling instead!” Lynch added.

That was one of a series of tweets Lynch issued this morning that appeared to highlight the glitches and streaming errors that AT&T’s DirecTV Now service has suffered following its launch late last year.

@RogerLynch tried the 1 wk w/ @directvnow I have to stay w/ @Sling Better reception better service,” tweeted one user. “Glad you prefer @Sling!” replied Lynch.

It’s difficult to assess the extent of the troubles customers are having in accessing DirecTV Now’s streaming offerings. However, anecdotal evidence indicates that at least some customers continue to have problems accessing the company’s new streaming TV service from several different streaming devices. The situation led one industry watcher to call the launch of DirecTV Now a “total nightmare.”

However, a top AT&T executive said the company’s launch of the service has gone better than expected. “Absolutely there were problems … the problems were not as big as I expected,” Enrique Rodriguez, AT&T Entertainment's CTO and the executive in charge of the technical aspects of the carrier’s newly launched DirecTV Now video streaming service, told FierceCable last week. “I’m so proud of the quality we delivered.”

Moreover, DirecTV Now isn’t alone in dealing with streaming problems. Indeed, Dish Network’s own Sling TV suffered through a number of high-profile streaming glitches in the months after the company launched its own service. For example, during a premiere episode of The Walking Dead TV show, users flocked to forums including Twitter and Reddit to complain about interrupted service. Sling used its @slinganswers Twitter account to apologize to users and advise them to reload their Sling TV apps. Sling individually issued apology tweets to more than 100 users. 

The difficulties of streaming video over the internet are well-documented. Whereas pay-TV providers like telco and cable companies have complete control over their offerings from the point where the content enters their network to the point it is delivered to viewers’ TVs, the online video world is much different. Video providers on the internet have to address a distribution system they largely don’t control, including connections that might suffer from interference, like viewers’ home Wi-Fi networks.