Sling TV's buffering problem is getting really annoying — but there’s good news

Sling TV cord cutting
(Image credit: Shutterstock)

Noticing a lot of buffering in Sling TV lately? It appears we're not alone — and, yes, I said "we" on purpose, as I've been experiencing this issue myself. And it's all the more annoying when Sling has been one of the best streaming services and one of the most affordable of the best cable TV alternatives. Previously, that didn't come at the cost of a stable streaming experience.

As of late, I saw this issue while watching my sport of choice: pro wrestling (on both TNT and AXS). The buffering I saw happened on both the Amazon Fire TV Stick 4K Max and a web browser. I wasn't hearing anyone else vent about the issue, so I thought it was a super-limited problem.

Then, I started to see evidence that this buffering wasn't isolated. On Friday night, a friend told me that Sling on their Xbox was buffering and buggy, while watching local channel Fox 5 in New York City. 

But once the official social media account @SlingAnswers tweeted out that it was aware of an issue, a larger problem became clear:

That tweet attracted a chorus of frustrated users, as it was not the time for buggy buffering: the NBA playoffs are on! Twitter user Donald Parham / @d_parham is practically asking for a refund, quote-tweeting Sling and stating "During the playoffs? We paying y'all money. Y'all gonna repay folks?" 

More anger came from user Signor Vespa / @LilAustinsDad, who dropped some profanity on Sling before saying "I’m trying to watch the playoffs bro."

Wonder if your buggy Sling is like my buggy Sling? I've got some video of the problem:

Then, at 1:15 a.m. ET, the Sling Answers account posted the message "UPDATE: We know how frustrating tonight was. Our teams worked urgently to get your service back and we are happy to say they have resolved the issue. We appreciate your patience."

Analysis: Sling has one job, and its price advantage isn't quality-proof

Hopefully this means Sling's woes are gone. Tom's Guide has reached out for comment and will update this story if we receive it. But this whole incident is a big reminder that no matter how affordable a service is (even if you manage to get a great saving with the likes of a Sling TV promo code), it's not worth the discount if you can't see what you're trying to watch.

I've been testing YouTube TV for an upcoming article, so I had an easy way to try something else. At $65 per month, it's $30 more per month than the $35 Sling TV package I pay for, but not everyone else has that option. And I bet some people would be plenty frustrated that they'd have to pay nearly twice as much for a stable feed.

Henry T. Casey
Managing Editor (Entertainment, Streaming)

Henry is a managing editor at Tom’s Guide covering streaming media, laptops and all things Apple, reviewing devices and services for the past seven years. Prior to joining Tom's Guide, he reviewed software and hardware for TechRadar Pro, and interviewed artists for Patek Philippe International Magazine. He's also covered the wild world of professional wrestling for Cageside Seats, interviewing athletes and other industry veterans.

  • Liandro
    I'm waiting for the good news about the buffering. The buffering and latency problems are no better 3/29/23 than when you wrote this article. My wifi is fine (Arris router, Eero mesh extender, all new or up to date, speed is fine, etc). It's so bad I want to quit Sling, but it's the best choice for me for channel lineup and value. So, any news?
  • ypsiscooter
    Seriously, what the hell is wrong with TNT??? I'm happy (I guess) to see someone else getting the old tope suicida from Sling when trying to watch AEW (love that Danhausen!), but for the love of god, man, 3 shows/week, and I have problems with 1-2 every freakin week. EVERY OTHER CHANNEL WORKS FINE. ALL THE TIME.

    Like, how is that even possible?!?

    I've been resetting my entire network, clearing cache, doing the bloody hokey pokey on MULTIPLE devices, and I'm still ready to do a buckshot on my TNT feed.

    Anymore, I have enough time to watch one thing, and that's the wrasslin'. How am I supposed dance with Prince Nana when the feed skips every three seconds?

    And it's ONLY TNT!!