Q. I decided to watch the Super Bowl yesterday by streaming on CBS All Access and I couldn’t log in for the first part of the game. I cut the cord from my cable company a few months ago, but is this the way streaming works sometimes? If so, I’m going back to cable. — Jerry, Philadelphia.
Jerry, you’re not alone. Scores of thousands of CBS All Access subscribers took to social media sites at the start of yesterday’s Super Bowl to say they could not log in.
“This is what I got from Samsung and CBS All Access for the first 15 minutes of the Super Bowl,” ‘Adam Rosenberg said on Twitter, displaying a picture of a CBS All Access sign next to ‘Server error.’
“CBS crashed right at coin toss #SuperBowl,” added ‘Sundus Ahmed.’
“Amazing that CBS All Access crashed one minute before #SuperBowl starts,” ‘Chase Turner’ wrote on Twitter.
Downdetector.com, which tracks online outages, said approximately 29,000 people were complaining about CBS All Access at the height of the problem, which was 6:36 p.m. ET, kickoff time.
CBS All Access’ customer service team never explained why the problem occurred, but it tweeted at 7 p.m. ET that it had been resolved.
“Please restart your CBS All Access app and you can now return to streaming,” the live streamer wrote. “If you continue to experience problems, please let us know.”
Numerous CBS All Access subscribers soon acknowledged on Twitter the issue had been fixed.
The technical meltdown is not uncommon for live streaming services during high-profile events. Hulu, for instance, was forced to issue a free month’s service after its servers crashed during the 2018 Super Bowl.
While live streaming’s reliability has improved in the last few years, it’s still vulnerable to faulty Internet connections and overtaxed servers if too many people try to log in or watch at the same time. Downdetector.com reported that YouTube TV and CBS Sports, which were also live streaming the Super Bowl, had technical issues yesterday as well, although not as bad as CBS All Access. And some streaming viewers noticed that their picture was as much as 30 seconds behind the one on cable and satellite. (The streamers will often slow down the transmission to try to eliminate technical hiccups.)
When you are considering cutting the cord — and subscribing to a live streaming service — remember that the picture may not always be perfect. Video streaming, particularly live streaming, is still a relatively young technology and it needs faster and better technology to be on par with cable and satellite’s delivery systems. Those things are coming, but yesterday showed we’re not there yet.
Have a question about new TV technologies? Send it to The TV Answer Man at email@example.com. Please include your first name and hometown in your message.
— Phillip Swann