Despite a series of apologies and purported fixes, Dish Network's (NASDAQ: DISH) seminal over-the-top pay-TV product, Sling TV, continues to experience service interruptions.
The latest technical issues occurred during last night's Monday Night Football telecast on ESPN featuring the New York Jets' win over the Indianapolis Colts.
As first reported by TV Predictions, the website downdetector.com, which measures pay-TV service interruptions, recorded 551 Sling TV service complaints from 7 p.m. - 8 p.m. EST Monday. That's a high number for a service that, according to analyst estimates, touts around 250,000 subscribers.
Users complained about the inability to log in to the service, freezing pictures and the broadcast disappearing from the screen.
"It's more than just this outage, it's the slow Roku app, weird loading problems (when Netflix works fine), and subpar service," tweeted @smithinit
Responded @SlingAnwers: "I'm sorry for the frustration this has caused you. This is a known issue that we're working on resolving."
It was less than a month ago that Sling blogged an apology for service interruptions experienced during the series premiere of AMC's Fear the Walking Dead.
"We have resolved the problem," read the blog post from Sling TV staff. "Our team has worked tirelessly to develop a fix and our apps are now behaving correctly. We remain on a path of continuous improvement as our service grows in users and excellent content."
Dish built Sling TV's streaming service in house over the course of about three years. The company has around 100 engineers currently tasked to the service. In a recent interview with FierceCable, Sling TV CEO Roger Lynch noted that the company has been improving its streaming service since it launched earlier this year, and he said that each service interruption has affected fewer subscribers than the previous one.
Nonetheless, amid the discussion about skinny bundles, over-the-top distribution -- and more broadly, the future of pay-TV -- Sling TV has emerged as an important litmus test. The entire TV industry is watching carefully to see if Dish can turn a low-priced, small bundle of channels, streamed over the Internet, into a business that accumulates millions of subscribers and turns a profit.
The quick growth of the service's subscriber base -- and program offering -- has been encouraging. But a series of high-profile technical meltdowns, dating back to the NCAA Mens Basketball Semi-Finals in early-April, has been a troubling, ongoing issue for Sling TV.
Sling TV reps have not yet responded to FierceCable's inquiry for comment on this latest glitch.
- read this TV Predictions story
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