Streaming, data limits, wifi and SlingTV

This is long, but please read everything because I’ve tried to ask my question as clearly as possible. Thank you.

I have AT&T internet service. Not their cable tv package–just wifi. I watch TV with my Roku (which, in case you don’t know, is a device that uses wifi to facilitate streaming internet content to your TV). It has “channels,” like Amazon Prime, Netflix, Hulu, and like that.

SlingTV is something I just signed up for. It’s also a streaming service, but it’s a “live streaming service.” It does have a Roku channel (which I’m using), plus “apps” so you can watch stuff on your phone, iPad, etc. I don’t use apps. I only plan to use the SlingTV Roku channel on my TV.


When you watch something on Amazon Prime or Netflix, when you navigate away from that channel, the movie or whatever stops. It stops streaming. When you go back to the channel, the icon of the movie you were watching is there and you can click on it and usually it will say “resume” or something.

When you go to SlingTV on the Roku, movies and TV shows are in progress, just like regular live TV. For example, when I first went to the channel after I signed up, the movie The Hunt for Red October was on. [One of my absolute faves. Was Alex Baldwin skinny back then, or what?] And then I navigated to some other tv shows and films, and when I came back Red October had still been running in the back ground (unlike other Roku channels, which stop streaming when you navigate away from the program you’re watching).

So I thought: Holy crap is this channel just going to be streaming movies in the background day and night 24/7 even if the TV isn’t on? As long as the Roku is connected to wifi? EEK!! How do I make it stop??

Then I went to the AT&T site and tried to find out what my data limit is on streaming. After chatting with someone in a chat window, she told me that starting at the end of my May my limit for devices using wifi will be 600 GB per month. I know that’s a lot… but streaming around the clock for a month??

Then I got on SlingTV’s twitter page and tweeted my question: does SlingTV just stream in the background 24/7? The person replied to “close the app.” But I’m not using an “app.” The Roku channel isn’t an app.

So then they told me to unplug the Roku. But if I do that, I can’t watch other Roku channels.

Then they said, “log out.” I navigated all over the SlingTV Roku channel and can’t find any place to log out.

I will probably phone the SlingTV people, but I wanted someone here to explain this to me first if possible, so I don’t get a bunch of stuff thrown at me that I don’t understand.

Aside: a friend told me that wifi streaming doesn’t count against your data limit, “because it’s wifi.” But isn’t it still internet data?

I just got a reply to a tweet, and the SlingTV person is saying that the channel stops streaming in the background when I navigate to another channel. That the SlingTV Roku channel IS an “app.”

Then why did someone an hour ago say “unplug the Roku” to make it stop streaming?

Someone was just misinformed apparently. You don’t have to worry, sling doesn’t stream everything at all times. It only streams what your watching and stops streaming a soon as you leave the sling channel on your roku.

I have the same combination sling/roku as you.

Thank you for that sane response. <big wet kiss>

And thank you for understanding my question. I’m still not able to make the SlingTV twitter person quite understand. :smack:

It’s still common for home Internet connections to not have data caps (or for them to be so high that people never notice them), so your friend was probably thinking of mobile data.

Just wanted to chime in that I have the same, and this answer is 100% correct. I’m sorry, but not particularly surprised, that the SlingTV people are confused and giving you incorrect information.

Can y’all give me some Sling tips? For example, how long can you pause a live program? An on demand program?

Sadly, doesn’t sound like I can. I don’t use on-demand (Sling has on-demand?) and the two channels I use, ESPN and CNN, don’t allow pausing at all. And I find the roku app to be a POS, but it’s still better than paying Comcast every month.

Yes, it does have on demand.

I’m watching The Night Manager that was on last night right now.

The Guide is VERY confusing and hard to navigate.

If you go to the main menu (the three horizontal lines-top left) and choose “movies,” there are lots and lots. An article I read said they have the whole HBO catalog. Don’t know if that’s literally true.

ETA, why do you only watch 2 channels?

Sling is finicky. It doesn’t stream the same quality all the time. It’s not your Internet connection speed, it’s just that sling isn’t perfect. It’s a lot better than it used to be though. Also each channel is different as to what they do and don’t allow. Some channels allow pausing and rewinding, some don’t. Some offer a back catalog of shows over the last 7 days that you can watch from the beginning, some only 3 days and some don’t allow any back catalog and will only allow you to watch what’s currently live. Some channels have entire seasons. It’s a little hard to get used to what you can and can’t do on each channel,in fact I don’t think I even know what each channel offers except for AMC (can’t miss “Better Call Saul”), TBS (Big Bang Theory) and HGTV.

If you have multiple Rokus and you change rooms, always exit sling from the first TV. You only can stream on one device at a time. Some shows allow you to pause and resume in another room. Other channels force you to restart from the beginning, and that’s annoying.

I like sling. It has its problems and it will probably p*** you off occaisionally but I think it’s one of the better streaming options available.

Thanks, erocked. I only watch stuff on my TV. Period. And I live alone, so no multiple devices. I mean I have a computer, tablet, and phone, but only watch on my TV. Thanks for the tips about the uneven quality.

Apparently the HBO option costs extra, but there are still a lot of movies in their catalog. With SlingTV, Amazon, Hulu, and Netflix, you can get a lot of movies–but, oddly, not usually the ones I want to see. The same thing used to happen to me at Blockbuster Video. I’d go into a store that prolly had 5,000 videos and I couldn’t find even one I wanted to watch.

Sling has HBO for $15 / mo and it includes the whole HBO catalog, but for the same price and a better interface, subscribe to HBO Now instead. I don’t think we’re left with any devices that support Sling TV but not HBO now.

And yes, Sling has on demand (movies and per-channel TV), but to get to the on demand for each channel it requires something like selecting the channel, then pressing up , then down, to get the “available now” list of shows. I can’t remember the exact combinations, and I’m not subscribing right now so I can’t check.

During the outage, I canceled SlingTV AND I HAD NO ONE TO TELL!! That was the hard part.

I don’t watch sports or TV news and there weren’t that many channels that I liked. But the last straw was when I found out that there was a separate charge for every single movie. WTF. Even HuluPlus at ~$4/mo has hundreds of free movies. Wasn’t worth it to me.

Roku has some free b-movie channels, too. I can’t remember their names, so just look for them in the place where you add channels.

Oh yes…periodically I scroll through ALL the Roku channels.

IN that case, do note that there are some unlisted ones out there. You have to add them manually.

For a while, that was the only way to get the YouTube channel–until they finally made an official one.