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The Cord Cutting Winners & Losers During the “Game of Thrones” Premiere


Last night HBO’s hit show “Game of Thrones” had its season premiere. It is widely considered one of only a few hit shows people absolutely must watch live. As you would expect, this has put a huge strain on streaming services maybe second only to a “Walking Dead” premiere.

So let’s take a look at who won and who lost last night during the “Game of Thrones” premiere.

The Losers

Well maybe it is no surprise, but HBO NOW and HBO GO both had a rough go of it. They both use the same back end and not only did they have cord cutters using it but cable subscribers also. While some said it worked well for them, the majority of our reports say HBO NOW and HBO GO struggled through the launch of “Game of Thrones.” Well for some they stayed up for others the services crashed.

DIRECTV NOW also seemed to struggle, but we are not sure it was just because of “Game of Thrones.” While some areas of the United States reported smooth streaming on DIRECTV NOW yesterday, others reported widespread issues well before and after the “Game of Thrones” premiere.

The Winners

The real winners yesterday seem to be Sling TV, PlayStation Vue, and Hulu. They all seemed to have smooth streaming with no unusual issues during the premiere. This is likely due to many reasons, but in the end when others went down these three services held strong and kept streaming.

One thing to remember here is Sling TV, PlayStation Vue, and Hulu are all older streaming services that had more time to beef up their networks for an event like this. That likely helped them stay ahead of any possible issues that may have come up.

With that said now that HBO and DIRECTV NOW have seen the demand, you should expect them to beef up their streaming services so these issues won’t happen again. I wouldn’t worry if you are a subscriber unless this is still happening a week or two from now.

So how was your streaming of “Game of Thrones?” Any issues I didn’t report here? Leave us a comment and let us know.

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  • Pebo Bryson

    Watched live on Hulu. Streamed perfectly. Hulu FTW! Wondered if you’d post about the DTVN outage.

  • LMan

    I used the feature in DTVN that allowed me to start the show from the beginning about 1/2 hr. after it started. I had no issues with it. I did have trouble with most every other DTVN channel including ESPN that I was trying to watch before Game of Thrones. Nothing by errors indicating trouble loading.

    I’m wondering if they had a DoS attack happening. Perfect timing with the start of one of the most popular TV shows.

    • Mike Stambaugh

      I also had issues with DTVn around 830 when I got on to watch Redsox Yankees on ESPN. Didn’t work, so I tried MTV didn’t work. Switched over to my Vue account which ends this month and Sox Yankees worked perfectly.
      I was informed this morning by DTVn to uninstall and reinstall the app and the error 40 will never happen again.

      • tbird2252

        Never say never! Did the same thing with DTVN several months back reinstalling the app and the issue occurred again this weekend. Had problems starting Saturday trying to load my local ABC affiliate. Also had numerous buffering issues with DTVN. This continued off and on Sunday. Attempted to use their online support but the wait times were in excess of 20 minutes. Today so far, no problems as I HOPE the issues were corrected…

        • Mike Stambaugh

          I repeated it back to chat rep – “you’re telling me NEVER again”?. And he said yes, never again. I don’t like that word either. If it does it during TWD I will be on their bad side

  • chjode

    I watched it on HBO GO at 830p PDT with no hitching via Comcast interwebs. So, maybe it was a bunch of people in other time zones jumping on the early broadcasts in the east causing additional unplanned load on the servers?

  • Collin Miller

    HBO Now and HBO Go do not use the same back end. HBO Now use BAM Tech for it backend and HBO Go uses hbo’s own server for its backend

    • I was under the impressions that was true at launch but later they migrated to the same back end with BAM Tech. I’ll have to look into it again maybe the move has not happened yet.

      • Collin Miller

        I was unaware that they had planed to move to both HBO Go and Now to on to the same back end . I would like to know if this change took place can you look in to this and post some thing about it. Thanks for all your hard work covering cord cutting Luke .

  • Rucknrun

    I watched on HBO Go and had no issues at all.

  • Joseph ewing

    I watched Sunday Night Baseball on ESPN via Vue. Looked great, and the players weren’t dressed up like Shakespearean “actors” doing summer stock.

    • Respected Citizen

      Although the baseball players were wearing kneesocks and pantaloons.

  • Herman222

    Also watched on HBO Go via Comcast. Zero issues. Watched starting at about 9:15 EST.

  • Joe in Virginia

    I watched on Sling DVR (started watching about 9:15) and had no trouble at all. I really love Sling’s DVR because it works just a like a DVR on your TV: you can start about 15 minutes in and fast forward through commercials (if there are commercials). You don’t have to wait for a show to be completely over until you can use the DVR function.

    • Iphart

      I agree, I just wish that they would add pause live TV, fast forwarding and rewind as well.

    • GersonT1000

      MOST of the time. A lot of times that hasn’t worked for me. I get some kind of bug and can’t access the DVR version until after the show is finished.

  • rjdriver

    HBO Now through Roku 3. No problems. Smooth sailing for the entire episode. East coast.

  • Zach Jones

    Similar issues were had with Sling TV in 2015. They advertised they would be live streaming a sporting event – a Final Four basketball game between Duke and Michigan. A network overload caused by the sudden high demand on Sling’s servers caused them to crash. They have since buffed their servers so similar crashes don’t occur again. DirecTV Now is still in its infancy, and the premier of Game of Thrones tested the strength of their infrastructure, much the same way the Final Four game put Sling’s servers to the test. While many people were disappointed, I am sure AT&T engineers learned from the failures and are already hard at work to beef up their system, much the same way Sling did two years ago. Probably in a few short weeks they will have all the bugs worked out so they don’t fall victim again, and in doing so, it will help many users that have complained of constant buffering of certain programs.

  • JGaLaXY

    I know DirecTV now had some issues with at least nick jr leading up the 9PM Eastern time. It was the worst I had ever experienced when 9PM came. “HBO EAST IS HAVING DIFFICULTY” popped up probably 7 to 8 times in the first 22 minutes.i quickly hit ok and I was able to get right back in to blurry screen then it quickly going back into HD. No commercials though, so around the 8th time at a scenery scene, I quickly switched to the HBO GO app and it was smooth as butter. DirecTV now has to do waaay BETTER when it comes to this, one of the BIGGEST events of the year and they failed while Sling and PSVUE held up FINE. This all happened on my usually reliable Apple TV 4th Gen

  • iSRS

    I had issues with DirecTV Now all day yesterday, really intensified about 4 PM Eastern

  • jmikec

    I was about 10 mins late for the GoT premier so I tried watching on HBO GO. Told me they could not verify that I had HBO as part of my package. I check DTVN and actually saw a couple of mid-show spoilers as it was working fine there. Tried from my phone, and during the authentication part when it tried to redirect me to log in I got a server not available issue. I think the 3rd party service that HBO Go uses to authenticate either had issues from load, or had issues interfacing with DTVN over authentication. Watched something else and tried again after 9:00 PM (central) and it worked fine for me.

  • craig

    i used hbo go with zero issues tonight, starting around 9:15 which was good but always have issues with watchespn and sometimes hbo go is sketchy. 50/5 connections

    these services need to invest more money in their servers/backbone or just pony up to mlb media.

  • IlliniMick

    I experienced persistent cutout issues yesterday afternoon during Cardinal baseball (on FS Midwest) and evening on HBO on DTVN. I watched the last two GOT episodes from last season on HBO live leading into the season premiere and had 4-5 brief cutouts and then more during the season 7 premiere. Tried the re-start feature and it didn’t work, also tried HBO Go and it didn’t recognize by DTVN sign in and I couldn’t sign in again and I gave up I went back to the live episode. I just ended up watching the encore of the episode immediately afterwards to catch what I missed and only had to hit retry a couple times. I’m glad to hear the other services held up well. My free month of DTVN ends at the end of the week and I’ll probably go back to PSVue.

  • Chris K.

    We started it about an hour late (had to wait for the kids to get to bed), but it was flawless for us on PS Vue via Roku 3.

  • Joe Sosa

    Using HBO Now, opened app on my Roku premiere+ at 902pm. Only saw the splash screen for several seconds. Then reopened app from home screen and all was fine to select and stream the episode. East coast. (earlier that day, streamed the prior season without issue too)

  • Douglas Griffis

    HBO Go on a roku TV. Notice a quick flash during the recap segment before the episode, but playback of the episode was flawless.

  • Jerry Jones

    HBO was not the only problem with DTVN on Sunday night. I tried to watch FX and it got so bad I just turned it off!!!!!!!!!!!

    • Steeler4Ever

      i tried to watch OAN news same thing …so bad turned it off

  • John Burgess

    HBO Now on a laptop…no problems.

  • analyzethis

    I watched at 10pm est on HBO Now and didn’t have any issue.

  • Gardo

    I saw live on Directv Now and only buffered twice during the hour long episode. With that being said the service has been very finicky as of late and yesterday 7/17 was pretty bad. I don’t know if is just that they had a huge bump in subscribers but I hope they fix this soon.

  • Andy

    we watched on HBO Now over a Comcast internet connection and had three short pauses in the stream toward the end of the show. About 30 seconds each time. We started watching about 9:05 p.m. EST (learned to give it a few minutes lag after the live start from past experiences)

  • Pat3332

    I watched using HBO Now on my ROKU Premier at 8:01 CST with no problems.

  • Respected Citizen

    So, no issues in week 2? Was there a significant drop in viewers, and/ or did HBO Go and DirecTV Now fix their issues within a week?