Sony is well on its way to compete with the bigger cable TV operators with the introduction of its new Vue streaming TV service. The brand new TV streaming service is now available for PS3 and PS4 owners in New York, Philadelphia and Chicago, as a way for users to shift from the usual choices and equipments involved with basic cable.
What is PlayStation Vue?
The PlayStation Vue TV streaming service is quite the upgrade from the usual cable TV that we currently have at our disposal. This slick-looking service offers live TV and cloud-based DVR right on your PS4, PS3, and even, the iPad. With the Vue, multiple users in the same home can access the service at the same time to watch shows and movies while they are being aired on cable channels like Comedy Central, CNN, Cartoon Network, and FX, and major networks like Fox, CBS, NBC, and CBS.
How Does it Work?
The new PlayStation Vue lets users pay a certain monthly fee to get live access to a range of broadcast network channels apart from networks that are normally only available from cable providers. Keeping true to the fact that these kinds of services rely heavily on pricing and channel line-up, Sony, as it seems, has an impressive one on board.
The company has deals set up with CBS, Fox, NBC, Discovery, Scripps, Turner, Viacom and AMC, adding up to more than 85 distinct channels. Interestingly enough, content from some channels can also be streamed within three days of airing, although that depends on whether or not the channel that aired it has the rights.
How Much Will it Cost?
Needless to say, the service won't come cheap. Vue's entry package (Access) costs $49.99 per month and covers about 50 different channels. And for most interested users, this $50 package should be enough since it covers a whole set of some of the most popular channels you get in any cable package. This package offers broadcast from CBS, CBS Plus, Cozi TV, Exitos, FOX, MyNetwork, NBC and Telemundo, with supported Networks such as Animal Planet, BET, Bravo, Cartoon/Adult Swim, CBS, CMT, CNBC, CNN, Comedy Central, Destination America, Discovery Channel, Discovery Family and more on the cards.
The Core package for the PlayStation Vue comes at $59.99 and includes all Access package channels, plus a number of local sports channels for select markets. While the networks include BTN, Golf Channel and TCM, there are several area-based networks that are also up for grabs. There's the YES Network only for viewers in New York, Comcast SportsNet Philadelphia for Philadelphia and Comcast SportsNet Chicago for Chicago.
Elite is an upgrade over Access and Core and provides the ultimate PlayStation Vue experience. It includes all channels from Access and Core packages, plus the following lifestyle, music, and family channels. There are a host of networks to choose from here like American Heroes, BET Gospel, Boomerang, Centric, Chiller, Cloo, CMT Pure Country, CNBC World, Cooking Channel, Discovery Fit & Health, FOX College Sports Atlantic, FOX College Sports Central, FOX College Sports Pacific, FXM, LOGO, MTV Hits, MTV Jams, mtvU, Nat Geo Wild, PALLADIA, Sprout, TeenNick, Universal, Velocity, VH1 Classic and VH1 Soul.
How's the Interface?
The kind of interface Sony has charted out for the new PlayStation Vue streaming service is quite a refresh from the usual ones you see via a plethora of cable TV operators. When Vue is powered on, you'll automatically be in live TV mode on whatever channel you were on previously. When you head over to the interface, the live TV keeps playing in the background while you're presented with a timeline.
The timeline consists of what you're currently watching, what will be shown next and what you've watched recently. Vue also categorises your content on the basis of My Shows, Favorite Channels, and Live TV. Apart from that, Vue also offers the last three days of "popular programming" without needing to schedule it for a recording session. This makes it easier for users to catch up on any premiere they might not have saved.
What is it Missing Out On?
While the brand new Vue TV streaming service aims at offering almost all the mainstream channels onto your console, there will be some complaints involved since the ABC network is missing out from the list of networks available with the service. No ABC means no Disney or ESPN, and not even the local ABC-affiliated shows like the Modern Family. However, there's a hope that Sony and ABC will soon chalk out deals of agreement to bring the network onto Vue.
Which Package Should You Choose?
Sony's PlayStation Vue might just be starting out in an industry that's mostly dominated by cable TV operators, but it still has enough in its locker to deliver. Sony's $59.99 "Core" package is mostly aimed at sports fans as it includes national sports networks BTN and the Golf Channel, apart from the regional sports networks like New York's YES and Comcast SportsNet in Chicago and Philadelphia.
You could also opt for the $69.99 "Elite" package, but it mostly adds a bunch of slot-filling channels, although it's sure to drag in folks who really love college sports and music video channels. For most users, though, as it seems, the standard package will probably be more than enough.