It might be too early to cut the cord from cable

Some Sling TV subscribers ran into trouble on Sunday night when trying to watch the premiere of “Fear the Walking Dead” on AMC, according to the TV news site TVpredictions.com.

As Phillip Swann, the president and publisher of TVpredictions.com reported, Sling’s customer service Twitter account responded to over 100 complaints of people having issues watching the show.

Sling TV is a a streaming TV service that launched this year and lets you watch select channels live over the internet. It starts at $US20 per month.

It has a history of outages when popular shows air. The “Fear the Walking Dead” premiere illustrates how tough it is to get streaming TV right. It may be possible, but it’s still not as reliable as good old-fashioned cable. At least not yet. For those who want to reliably watch major TV events like this, it might be too early to cut the cord from cable.

Sling TV’s Twitter account continued to respond to complaints on Monday morning. 

Some people posted pictures and video of black screens they saw when they tried to load AMC on Sling. 

A half hour before the show premiered, Sling TV sent a tweet promoting the show, but the account was inundated with replies about the service not working. 

The issue with the “Fear the Walking Dead” premiere isn’t the first high profile outage for Sling TV, which began streaming live TV to consumers in February. 

The service went down during the Duke-Michigan State NCAA men’s basketball semifinal game in April, prompting a blog post from Sling CEO Roger Lynch apologizing to subscribers and writing that the company is “working everyday to continue delivering that great experience.”

Sling is one of a number of new services meant to appeal to the increasing number of people who are ditching their cable and satellite subscriptions for less expensive online services. HBO and Showtime recently launched standalone streaming services, and Sony has a live TV streaming service available to PlayStation 3 and 4 owners. 

Apple is rumoured to be working on a service of its own that it will launch early next year. 

As Sling is learning, delivering live video online to a large number of people at the same time is very challenging, and for now it’s considerably less reliable than traditional TV. 

“Streaming TV is like television in 1951,” Swann told Tech Insider earlier this summer.  “It’s exciting. It’s eye-opening. It makes you wonder what’s next. But it’s also very frustrating.”

Meanwhile, Apple is said to be testing a service similar to Sling TV that could launch in 2016. But Apple has been investing heavily in a content delivery network (CDN) to reliable push media like apps and video to customers. That could help when its TV service launches.

A representative from Sling said the company would have a statement to Tech Insider shortly.

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