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Sling TV: Why the Screen Goes to Black

Q. I’ve had an issue with Sling TV the last week or so. I will be watching a live channel and suddenly the picture goes black for a few seconds and then goes back to the show. It doesn’t happen all the time, but it’s making me crazy when it does. Any ideas how to fix this? — Joy, Hollywood, California.

Joy, you are not the only one who has noticed this. I have seen it happen, too, and I have received several e-mails from readers complaining of the problem. You are watching a show when suddenly the picture flickers and goes to a totally blank screen. Then, after a few seconds, it goes right back to the program.

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I’m not sure why this is occurring at this time, and it doesn’t seem to be affecting the entire Sling audience. But Sling has experienced this issue a few times in the past, suggesting it’s just a temporary technical glitch that should be resolved soon.

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Still, it can be annoying so here’s a few ideas on how to handle the issue yourself until Sling finds a permanent solution.

Sling says the picture flickering is most commonly caused by a temporary lapse in bandwidth being delivered to your streaming device. Basically that means the stream is being temporarily interrupted by either a glitch in your Internet service or Sling’s servers.

The live streaming service suggests a few things to fix it.

One, click on the ‘My TV’ feature on your screen. Then, go to ‘Settings,’ and then ‘Connection.’ Try setting the Connection limit to ‘High’ and then go back to your show. If the flickering to black screen continues to occur, Sling says try setting Connection on Medium.

If that doesn’t solve the problem, try watching another channel for a minute or so. If you don’t see the picture go to black there, then return to your original show to see if the flickering has stopped there as well.

I have found that has worked for me.

Joy, hope that helps.

Happy viewing!

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The TV Answer Man is veteran journalist Phillip Swann who has covered the TV technology scene for more than two decades. He will report on the latest news and answer your questions regarding new devices and services that are changing the way you watch television.

19 Comments on Sling TV: Why the Screen Goes to Black

  1. Duke Sweden // April 9, 2018 at 7:51 am // Reply

    This happens with Directv as well, only on the 4K channels. And it goes black twice. Once, then a second of picture, then black again, before returning to picture. It never happens when watching youtube videos or Amazon Prime, only when watching Directv 4K.

  2. Kimberly // May 2, 2018 at 1:09 pm // Reply

    Has Sling updated their info on this? I’m on a trial right now and it happens to me whether I’m watching on my Amazon Fire TV or on my phone, both at home on WiFi and out and about. I have a hard time believing it’s being caused by a glitch in my internet service.

    • Sooo…since this post says it’s a year old, we should expect this as status quo with sling and not “temporary”?

  3. Signed up for Sling yesterday, switching off of PS Vue because I got tired of it prompting to sign in randomly (and I have 2 factor on due to it using my Playstation creds so it was a pain). Last night while watching it for the first time was watching about 30 min of a show on HGTV and had the same black out issue. Had to switch to another channel then back to get it to play again, annoying, hopefully doesn’t become a normal issue.

  4. My Slingtv has been dropping out for sometime now. It is really annoying because it throws me out of the show(doesn’t matter which one) and takes me back to my app page, and I have to relog on sling. 100mb connection, and my other apps have no problem!

  5. Derrick Daffin // July 26, 2018 at 7:44 pm // Reply

    So this just happened to me. Called sling customer service was instructed to unplug my tv with the device on and it worked fine!

  6. This is stupid that Sling just tells us to do something but they never do a thing, and always blame the users and not do a thing, so it does nothing at all but continue to be a problem. So sick of companies blaming someone else over what the real problem is, and that is their service.

  7. The main problem I have been experiencing is I will be watching a program and it switches to the Netflix or Google YouTube app for no reason. Just switches on its own. Then you have to go “back” and find the show and “resume” watching. It happens at least 2-3 times a day. Sling needs to really get this resolved or I’m cutting the ‘Sling’.

  8. I tried what Joy suggested. “One, click on the ‘My TV’ feature on your screen. Then, go to ‘Settings,’ and then ‘Connection.’ Try setting the Connection limit to ‘High’ and then go back to your show. If the flickering to black screen continues to occur, Sling says try setting Connection on Medium.

    If that doesn’t solve the problem, try watching another channel for a minute or so. If you don’t see the picture go to black there, then return to your original show to see if the flickering has stopped there as well.

    I have found that has worked for me, at least for now. It was set on “The Best” in my connections so I set it to “High” and it’s only been about 40 minutes and hasn’t cut out yet. Which isn’t long but it was cutting out every 5-10 minutes before…so hoping it is resolved. Worth a try on the 7 day free trial if it doesn’t stay fixed then I won’t be paying for Sling TV

  9. I have had this issue for a couple of weeks now. This issue would occur almost by the clock. I called sling and we went through a few tech solutions but the issue prevailed. The tech then said it was an issue with my tv. When he asked what tv I had I first said Samsung and he said that brand had an issue with an update and I’d have to contact them, but when I said it was another brand he said “uh yes, that company as well”. By the way my tech was “John” in the US, uh I mean maybe India. It got so bad I stopped watching sling but went online to see if others were having this issue. Changing this setting did not work for me. On another not all of my other streaming services (HULU, prime, Netflix, YouTube etc work fine).

    • I have the exact timing issue. Mine always cuts off late at night around 2 am -3 am when I’m sleeping. I always go to sleep watching it and wake up to it back at the home screen. Then in the morning like clockwork while I’m watching sling getting ready for work it will say network not connected around 8:00 am every morning, yet the network is connected. Like yours, Sling is the only opp that does that.

  10. I’m experiencing all the issues above. I even replaced the modem/router with different brands but to no avail. Has there been a solution to this problem?

  11. Negative, mine still does it, considering switching to another service now.

  12. Disappointed_In_Wisconsin // April 17, 2019 at 10:58 pm // Reply

    Have this for these first 10 days with the service and continues (Samsung Smart TV). My other streaming services work just fine (prime, netflix and hulu). My previous service, DirecTVNow NEVER had this issue. Have similar issues on iPhone 8 plus – primarily caching problem (spinning circle) and had two freeze ups, one resulted in black screen. Giving it another week and if this continues I’m dropping the service.

  13. It a Sling problem and I will be switching going to Hulu Live shortly! I have regular Hulu Netflix and Amazon and 2 smart TVs all have run smooth as silk. 1 week ago I added Sling TV it’s the only one that has glitches. Same time every night now 9:30pm until around 11:00 it starts skipping, and blacking out. I’ve done all the suggestions in Sling troubleshooting and nothing helps even hook Ethernet directly into TV. Sling has some Issues IT needs to fix and stop blaming customers.

  14. That sounds so familiar to the problems we are experiencing. I would go to HULU as well but the reason we chose sling was because my wife wanted Hallmark. Of course that’s not working also…😳

  15. I have same problem, sling cuts out, so frustrating. Netflix nor prime, etc. doesn’t cut out, only sling. Hope they fix problem soon or I will cut them off permanently.

  16. David Ritenour // May 23, 2019 at 11:53 pm // Reply

    I’m having the same issues of the screen going black for a second or so on multiple tv’s, and it’s occurring only with Sling, no other apps. I’ve noticed the problem frequency increases when a more widely viewed show is on (the NCAA basketball tournament was esp bad – every 30-60 seconds). My theory is that Sling has a bandwidth limitation on their end and this is the result. I have no hard facts beyond my observations, but I’ve also not heard a better explanation.

  17. It’s definitely a Sling problem and they aren’t fixing it I canceled my Sling May 2019 after having it 1 month with blackouts. I switched to Hulu live (a bit more expensive) But totally worth – High quality stream live free 50 hour DVR and more! Love it.

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