Do know that PlayStation Vue has changed!

Back when PlayStation Vue first launched (Sept. 2015) it was a much different product. First, it was more expensive with tiers of $50, $60, and $70 each and secondly the service limited to only a few major markets – Chicago, New York, and Philadelphia. Then there was the whole PlayStation console exclusivity that severely limited the market. Between the price of the service (and the cost of the much less discussed internet connection) and device exclusivity, the launch of Sony’s internet based TV service lacked the buzz that the new kid on the block, Sling TV, earned. Also, big players such as ESPN & ABC were missing in the PS Vue launch lineup.

Almost a year later PlayStation Vue is a much different product. Today the packages range between $30 and $45 per month with more channels included (Disney owned ESPN & ABC most notably) and availability in most markets. PlayStation Vue is now available on PlayStation gaming consoles (PS3 & PS4), Amazon Fire TV devices, Chromecasts, Roku streaming devices, and iOS & Android devices (phones & tablets).

With regards to competition, the direct competitor in the market Sling TV costs only $20 a month at the lowest level but also restricts streaming to one device at a time. PlayStation Vue allows for streaming on up to five concurrent devices, making PlayStation Vue the hands down favorite for families and/or couples that want to watch more than one option at a time.

Before I get into my points for and against its worth noting that Sony advises at least a 10Mbps download internet speed is the requirement for the “best experience” streaming at 720p. That’s for one screen too so if you want to light up the house for the family better make sure you’re well above that range.

Arguments For

  • Live television streams on up to 5 devices simultaneous with access to PlayStation 3 & 4 consoles, Amazon Fire TV, and Roku devices.
    • Slingbox only allows streaming on one device at a time.
  • A very easy to navigate and intuitive tile based design that should be acceptable to users of all ages (my users range from 5 to 30 years old).
  • Best cord cutting option for sports fans hands down. Access to WWE live shows, regional sports (Fox Sports, Big Ten, SEC networks), as well as full ESPN programming (ESPN, ESPN2, ESPN News, ESPNU) with the premier package ($45).
  • DVR automatically records your favorite shows as you select them. This is an easy approach compared to most DVR complicated controls with cable TV. The DVR service is also in the cloud, which means no expense to local storage.
  • Mobile support for phones allows you to take your TV service with you wherever you go.
  • On demand support for some major networks (ABC, NBC, and the like) allowing for some binge watching of shows that you have yet to add to the cloud DVR service.
  • Absolutely no contract required, cancel at any time PLUS a one week trial available to all that want to give it a chance before committing to cord-cutting.
  • As discussed in the podcast above, one nifty trick that PS Vue offers is for the user to set their current zip code as they see fit upon sign up. Live outside of your favorite sports team local outlets? PS Vue is absolutely the best option for you.

Arguments Against

  • Price. Compared to Sling TV, Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Prime the cost per month is almost double at the highest tier.
  • Doesn’t tie in with other PlayStation subscriptions. No discount for PlayStation plus or PlayStation Now subscribers. One would think, eventually, Sony would reward those loyal to the brand by offering a discount to those that adopt the entire ecosystem. Something like PS Now, Vue, and PlayStation Plus bundled together for $50-60 a month.
  • Some shows can’t be recorded on the DVR with no notice or explanation.
  • User experience is far less substantial on Roku and Amazon devices compared to the PlayStation consoles.
  • Unfortunately, the mobile device doesn’t allow for full access to your subscription service channel lineup depending on your location/internet connection. DVR support is also limited when you’re on the go with your mobile device.

Update: 8.27.17

NFL fans rejoice! PS Vue has just delivered the first ever standalone RedZone subscription plan to cord cutters. That’s right, for the ripe price $39.99 (one time fee for the entire season) you can stream the NFL RedZone to your PlayStation Vue enabled devices. You can read the details on PS Vue adding NFL content here: http://www.playsomevideogames.com/review-playstation-vue/