Game of Thrones season premier streaming report card

Last Sunday was the premiere of Season 5 of Game of Thrones, and with it came the first real test of HBO's new ways to stream its content.

So how smoothly was the premiere delivered? It seems like that depends on how you accessed it. (Personally I watched via a cable subscription so all my info comes second hand.)

Sling.TV spun up HBO support just before Game of Thrones aired; I believe it went live on Saturday. This is not HBO Now (HBO's new streaming only service) but a streaming version of HBO's regular channel. Unfortunately it sounds like some users ran into problems, specifically Sling TV customers using a Roku player. Sling.TV mentioned the issue in a blog post and said that "...teams are actively addressing this issue." They also point out that if you missed the episode due to problems, all five seasons are available via On Demand on Sling. This is the second black eye Sling TV has gotten; a couple weeks ago the service struggled to deliver the NCAA Final Four games reliably. It does sound like the Game of Thrones issues weren't as widespread, so hopefully this'll be the last of these kinds of issues for Sling.

The other new way to watch was via HBO Now, HBO's service for cable cutters. Do keep in mind that for now HBO Now is limited to iOS users and Optimum Online customers. This was the first big test for the service and it seems to have held up well. I heard no reports of subscribers being unable to stream the show as it aired. This bodes well for the future of the service.

Ironically HBO's other, long-standing streaming service, HBO Go, couldn't handle the pressure. According to The Verge some HBO Go users couldn't get the service to work at all, and for others the new episode didn't appear until well after the start time. Apparently the same thing happened last year. 

So why the difference? While HBO Go and HBO Now seem very similar to end users, The Verge points out that their backends are very different. HBO Go uses HBO's in-house streaming while HBO Now uses MLB Advanced Media technology.

As I said, I watched the old fashioned way: via my cable TV subscription. If you tuned in via one of the streaming services, what was your experience like? 

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