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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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— Phillip Swann

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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.

7 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.

  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’.

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