Does anybody have buffering issues when watching sling tv?

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Donna Kaurich

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Posted 6 months ago

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Jim16

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Donna, here is what Sling TV recommends for streaming on their site.

Check our list below to see what we recommend for a constant speed based on how you'd like to watch:

  • Constant speed of 3.0 Megabits per second or more - Streaming video content on portable devices such as, tablets and phones. 
  • Constant speed of 5.0 Megabits per second or more - Single stream of video content on a TV, PC, or Mac. 
  • Constant speed of 25 Megabits per second or more - Recommended for households who maintain Internet use on multiple devices.

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Donna Kaurich

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Thanks, I saw this, my speeds are 25 or better and it is still buffering. Netflix has never buffered except at the beginning never during the show.
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VeteranSatUser, Champion

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Your speeds are 25Mbps or better? You must be on a high density Viasat 2 spot beam.

It is the video resolution downgrader that is causing your issues.

Not sure if Sling is a device or what, but I would try running it through a VPN if you could.
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Donna Kaurich

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Thanks will try that.
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GabeU, Champion

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Donna,

Depending on the plan you have, your streaming may be restricted to a specific definition.  If Sling is trying to stream in a definition higher than this restriction, you'll most likely experience buffering.  I don't have ViaSat, so I can't tell you where to look for your plan, but for the Unlimited plans that are available to me, which are the Bronze 12, Silver 25 and Gold 30, those definitions are 360p, 480p and 720p, respectively.  

Hope this helps.
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VeteranSatUser, Champion

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Sopranos, Breaking Bad, and what ?

Never been a Game of Thrones guy though.
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GabeU, Champion

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Never been a Game of Thrones guy though.
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Casual Observer

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What's Game of Thrones? ;)
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Brad, Viasat Employee

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I believe HBO GO/HBONow is pretty well known to have a issue as of late across the board which hopefully fixes before April. 

In my experience I haven't tried SLING but I did a trial of DirecTVNow and found it to be choppy and haven't heard enough about Sling from our customers to know how it works. Typically the data point gets hit a lot sooner with cord cutting programs like that. 
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VeteranSatUser, Champion

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I have never tried DirectvNow at home so I couldn't say for Viasat.

I have used it at hotels, and it struggled to stream properly there, so my guess is no on Viasat.
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aabbcc

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"No more choppy video streaming", so it has to be a setting. Commercials wouldn't exaggerate, would they? https://www.ispot.tv/ad/dKw1/viasat-w...
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Casual Observer

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In short it's working the way Viasat designed it to work, regardless of whether we like it or not or what that commercial states and I'm not looking to debate that but rather give you the info needed to decide what to do... it's your choice and knowing how it works will help make an informed choice in coping with it.

From the unlimited data policy (click here):



What that really means – detected video streams are throttled to an arbitrary speed that is typically capable of delivering those qualities. Some, myself included, suggest that those throttled speeds are too to deliver the stated qualities except under the most favorable of conditions. Other factors also influence the rate at which video content is delivered including current network conditions (congestion) as well as the content provider.

What is undeniably true is that only the content provider can determine the quality of video that will be delivered to you and that it is often based on current network conditions. Most utilize adaptive streaming algorithms to determine the quality and some even vary the quality as the stream progresses and as network conditions change. Some content providers adapt better than others - Netflix being one of them that's typically better at it due to their per title optimization.

The buffering rate is determined by the receiving device  (how much data to request in chunks and when). Buffering always occurs, typically in spurts, but what you’re most likely referring to is the video pausing when the network speed is insufficient for the buffering rate (typically when the network is busy).

If on an unlimited plan there is no Viasat  magic plan setting other than to avoid video stream detection altogether by using a VPN. For some that would require a VPN solution on their routers and not sure the Viasat modem/router combinations actually support that. But then with VPN,  you’ll also be using a larger quantity of that “unlimited” data.

On "limited" Viasat plans there is a magic setting to turn off the Video Data Extender as it's called there and always delivers at "up to" typically 480p whatever that means when on.   

You may be able to force your content provider or device to always deliver lower quality through one of their settings – but that would be provider dependent. Some have worked around the issue with PlayOn Cloud.

The only way Viasat could offer "unlimited data plans" - was to place limits on how you use that data. They were selling unlimited data, not unlimited internet on satellites that have a fixed capacity at launch. Even now some of the legacy customers having those unlimited plans on Viasat-1 suddenly  and recently woke up to even more limits.    

Go to fast.com and it will tell you what your "typical" speed is for detected video streams. Go to others (e.g. testmy.net) to determine what your speeds are for other categories.

TL;DR

Just cancel to preserve your sanity ;)
(Edited)
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VeteranSatUser, Champion

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Interestingly enough, Hughesnet offers an option now to turn off the video resolution downgrader on all its plans. They were the first to have throttling of streaming. Must have not worked so well to now give the customer an option.

Well it seemed like a good idea at the time!
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Casual Observer

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Viasat would be wise to do so now with those stunted data usage thresholds. Let people turn it off and let them burn through that data quickly as they hurtle towards de-prioritization as they unconsciously stream in 1080p ;) Then offer buy more on unlimited...

Much easier to just go back and have "classic" like plans where the only decision to be made is how much data you want and give folks options on how to manage it wisely?
(Edited)
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VeteranSatUser, Champion

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True. Since many people are slowed down now, regardless of how much data is used, what makes the difference whether the video resolution downgrader is on or off. They use to say after your priority data is used, streaming might be difficult in primetime. Now they can say, got "unlimited" or Freedom plans, streaming might not work anytime no matter how much data is used.

But there is always PlayOn Cloud!
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Donna Kaurich

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Thanks for the input. In saying what said do you know why? Is viasat slowing the video or is it something in sling?
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VeteranSatUser, Champion

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Viasat slows the speed on all "unlimited" plans when streaming content. Their intent is to reduce the amount of data transmitted by lowering the resolution. In theory, it sounds great! In actuality, it doesn't always work well as not all streaming services work the same. Sling might be one of them that doesn't agree with throttled video streaming.