Sony has a huge announcement today–they struck a deal with Disney that gives their streaming service, PlayStation Vue, rights to live stream ESPN, the Disney Channel, ABC, and ABC Family. This includes the entire line up of ESPN networks, ranging from ESPN to ESPN2 to ESPN College. Suddenly, PlayStation Vue is looking like a real cable cutting contender.
PlayStation Vue vs. Sling TV: Is a Battle Beginning?
There are currently two main streaming services that offer live streaming cable channels without a cable contract: Sling TV and PlayStation Vue. Up until this pont, Sling TV is really the only one that has been grabbing headlines for a few reasons: it’s cheap, it’s readily available to everyone in the U.S. on a wide variety of devices, and it has ESPN.
On the other hand, PlayStation Vue runs a bit more than double the price of Sling TV. It’s currently only available in select major markets (Dallas, Miami, San Francisco, Los Angeles, New York City, Philadelphia, and Chicago), and it only streams via PS 3 and 4 consoles.
To Vue’s credit, the channel packages are more robust than what Sling TV offers, including Fox Sports 1 and 2, making it the only legal option to stream many sporting events without cable. However, they’ve lacked ESPN, which is a must have for many sports fans. But now that has changed. With this new deal, PlayStation Vue gets the ESPN family of Networks. Not only that, the deal includes the Longhorn Network, making PlayStation Vue the only legal way to watch the Texas Longhorns online. It also gives them ESPN Classic.
Has Sony Done What Apple Could Not?
Not long ago, Apple made lots of noise with their rumored streaming service that would change TV as we know it. However, it got delayed over and over, and frankly, no one knows if it will ever come out. The hold up? Rumor has it that Apple wanted to make sure they could include the major broadcast networks to make Apple TV the first really all-inclusive cord cutting solution. And that task has proven too big even for them.
But with the addition of ABC, along with the “opportunity [for local affiliates] to opt-in” with local programming, Sony’s PlayStation Vue has something else Sling TV does not. Somthing Apple apparently has been unable to achieve.
Actually, it’s something no other streaming service has–live streaming of all four major broadcast networks.
This could potentially do away with the need for an antenna, setting PlayStation Vue up as the first (and only) real all-inclusive cable TV replacement. Now we just have to wait for availability to spread across the country and for support of other devices.