Sling TV Delays HBO Now Launch to April 118 Apr, 2015 By: Erik Gruenwedel
OTT video service seeks to avoid a repeat of technical glitches that plagued the April 4 Final Four men’s college basketball games
Sling TV’s planned April 8 rollout of HBO Now reportedly has been postponed until April 11 in order to give the Dish Network-owned over-the-top video service more time to prepare for the expected user onslaught when HBO bows the fifth season of “Game of Thrones” on April 12.
HBO Now, the premium channel’s subscription streaming service, will be available to Sling subscribers for an additional $15 fee. HBO Now formally launched April 7 on Apple TV and Cablevision’s high-speed broadband network.
“This will allow us to provide a more seamless experience to all customers during periods of heavy viewership,” Sling TV spokesperson Emily O’Donnell told the Denver Business Journal.
Indeed, Sling TV, which offers subscribers streaming access to 20 channels, including ESPN, TBS and TNT, for $20 a month, found its servers overwhelmed April 4 during the men’s college basketball Final Four games between Michigan State and Duke, and Wisconsin and Kentucky.
Sling said an unusually high number of new customer signups (likely free trials) prior to the Duke game coupled with an extremely high volume of concurrent streams overwhelmed its servers.
CEO Roger Lynch said technicians were able to rebalance the loads delivered throughout its network providers ahead of the Wisconsin and Kentucky game, which he said eliminated the “vast majority” of errors.
“If you had a rough go at it with us on [April 4], please accept my apologies,” Lynch wrote in a blog.
Regardless, HBO Go experienced its own technical difficulties a year ago when user interest in the final episode of dark thriller “True Detective” overwhelmed its servers causing pauses and loading issues.