SlingPlayer - Roku vs Chromecast vs Fire TV Stick

I've been using a Slingbox 350 for a little bit over a year now. With the release of the Fire TV version of the SlingPlayer, I've now had the opportunity to use yet another option for slinging into my TV. It might just be the best version yet.


I had the chance to use a buddy's Roku a couple weeks ago to test streaming a football game. The SlingPlayer channel on the Roku is a little odd in that you cannot control the remote television directly through the Roku. Rather, you need to link the Roku with an Android or iOS device running the SlingPlayer app. From within the SlingPlayer app on the phone, you add a Roku player and can then control it from there once you also open the channel on the Roku. The quality of the stream came across quite well, but I experienced a couple of random disconnects over the course of watching the game. Each time it appeared to be related to my tablet slipping into sleep mode. With the screen on and active there was no interruption to the stream. Each time I had to re-connect to my SlingBox in order to start the stream anew. Not a complete dealbreaker, but frustrating when it happens in the middle of a big play.


  • Good video quality
  • Can control channels from your phone or tablet anywhere in the house


  • Some disconnects as a result of actions on tablet / phone
  • Requires purchase of $15 app for Android or iOS


I'm a huge fan of my Chromecast, and it works great when I'm streaming Plex, YouTube, Google Play Music, or Subsonic with great video and audio quality. The implementation of Chromecast by Sling is downright awful; the worst I've seen yet on my Chromecast. Enabling it is easy enough; just click the cast button inside of the SlingPlayer app. However, it buffers frequently and quality drops to the point that the football in a football game can't be seen. I tried watching a football game with my Chromecast and had to switch to just using my tablet instead. It's really that bad. At this point the feature has been live since September on SlingPlayer for Phones, and it hasn't improved since then. If anything it's actually gotten worse! I've tried it with Nexus 7, Nexus 4, Moto X 2013, and Moto X 2014 with the SlingPlayer for Phones app (I refuse to purchase the SlingPlayer for Tablets for an additional $15). It's atrocious that the most expensive Android app I own can't get this feature right. The Sling forums show other users having this issue, with recommendations to change the port settings on the router. I've tried tweaking the ports and it makes no difference to the quality of the Chromecast stream. Playback is crystal clear within the app on all my Android devices, it just turns into a muddy mess when attempting to cast within the app. Quality is actually better if I cast my screen instead of using the casting feature of the app!


  • Technically it works with the Chromecast


  • Requires purchase of $15 app
  • Frequent buffering
  • Very low video quality

Fire TV Stick

I had initially tried sideloading the tablet version of SlingPlayer onto my Fire TV Stick since it was not officially available. When Sling released the official SlingPlayer for Fire TV I truly took my Fire TV Stick back out of the box to try it. Boy am I glad I did! The Fire TV Stick version of SlingPlayer works great with the Amazon remote and the quality has been great. I watched an entire football game this weekend with absolutely no stuttering or buffering. This is the experience I expected out of SlingPlayer on a streaming stick. To top it off, the SlingPlayer for Fire TV is free!


  • App is free once you own a Fire TV or FTV Stick
  • Excellent video quality and stability
  • Uses TV box guide instead of the Sling guide available on mobile based versions

Wrap up

If you've already got a Roku, then your cheapest route to getting a SlingPlayer into your television is to just buy the app for your mobile device of choice and go through the Roku. If you're trying to get a streaming device for SlingPlayer, then you can't go wrong with a Fire TV Stick. Sling Media has just really dropped the ball on their Chromecast implementation and shows no signs of correcting it.

Tested all combinations utilizing the latest available SlingPlayer app for each platform. For Android testing with Chromecast this was version 2.11.1.


  1. That was great knowing!.. I always wanted to know All About How Does Slingbox Work And Slingbox Tuner... thanks for this..

  2. Great article. I was trying to figure out why my Chromecast stinks with this. As of October 2016 these problems have not been addressed despite terrible reviews on there app in the store.


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