PlayStation Vue is intent on distributing a better option for watching live TV than a cable subscription. It’s a lofty goal, but at the moment they are making great progress. There are several on-demand streaming services, but not nearly as many services offering live TV as a streaming option. PlayStation Vue has worked to differentiate itself by offering a high-quality channel package that was previously only available with a cable contract. Keep reading for our PlayStation Vue review.
What Is PlayStation Vue?
PlayStation Vue was launched in 2015 by Sony to provide an alternative for the growing number of people who were interesting in cutting their cable subscription. Similar to Sling TV (but more expensive, more on that later), it is a live streaming service, which provides access to around 45+ channels in its introductory package that starts at $29.99 per month. Some of the channels included are CNN, TBS, TNT, NBC, CBS, FOX, and many more. Beyond the entry package, there are Core and Elite options which include about 60+ and 90+ channels, respectively. The service was originally only available on PlayStation consoles, Fire TV, and iPhones/iPads, but now it has expanded to more streaming devices (more on this below).
There are also Standalone Channels, which can be added to your subscription. These range from movie channels to sports channels to gaming channels and cost varying prices per month. Some are as low as $3.99 per month.
PlayStation Vue is a month-to-month subscription service, which does not require a contract. It is structured like Netflix and other streaming services and gives you the ability to cancel at any time you like. PlayStation Vue is one of the best cable TV alternatives for anyone looking to cut the cable cord or even for those who already do not have cable. You’ll find our full PlayStation Vue review below.
PlayStation Vue vs. Sling TV: How Does Vue Compare?
Mr. Cable Cutter Recommends: Compare to Sling TV
When it comes to live streaming your favorite channels, there are really only two major options available right now — PlayStation Vue and Sling TV (and newly-launched DIRECTV NOW). On the surface, Vue and Sling TV are very similar services. Both act as a replacement to cable TV, offering live streaming of popular pay TV channels at a lower cost than cable TV and with no contract required.
However, there are some important differences between PlayStation Vue and Sling TV.
- PlayStation Vue has mobile streaming restrictions that block you from accessing most Vue content away from your home network. Sling TV can be watched anywhere in the US.
- PlayStation Vue has a bigger channel lineup than Sling TV.
- Sling TV is cheaper than Vue and its skinny bundle add-on packages are much closer to an a la carte solution.
Both streaming services are excellent overall and are great replacements for cable TV. It comes down to budget and personal preference. You can learn more about Sling TV by reading our full review of the service. Also, check out our comparison of the best online streaming services.
Which Devices Are Compatible With PlayStation Vue?
Mr. Cable Cutter Recommends: PlayStation 4
When Sony introduced PlayStation Vue it was only available through your PS3 or PS4. Recently, Sony announced that it would soon be available on other devices. Now, it can be accessed on your iPhone and iPad and on your TV with an Amazon streaming device, Roku, or Google Chromecast. Apple TV device support was just recently added, as well.
Here’s the full list of PlayStation Vue devices you can use to stream the service directly to your television:
- PlayStation 4 (I highly recommend getting a PS4 universal remote if you’re planning on using this to watch Vue)
- PlayStation 3
- Roku TV
- Roku 4
- Roku 3
- Roku 2
- Roku Streaming Stick
- Amazon Fire TV
- Amazon Fire TV Stick
- Android TV
- Apple TV
PlayStation Vue has an application on the Apple Store, which can be downloaded and used to watch live TV or on-demand shows wherever you get an internet connection. The Amazon Fire TV stick can access your PlayStation Vue directly on your TV, letting you watch all the TV shows and live sporting events from your couch. Amazon Fire TV also can be used to watch PlayStation Vue by downloading the application on Amazon and signing in with your PlayStation Network account.
What Features Does PlayStation Vue Offer?
One of the goals of Sony’s PlayStation Vue is to bring cable cutters the ability to live stream top-quality channels. Many streaming sites like Hulu, Netflix, and Amazon Prime Instant Video have grown in popularity due to the ability to stream on-demand content, but are not true replacements for a cable package. They do not appeal to those who want to relax in their living room and watch TV shows as they air or catch live sporting events. With PlayStation Vue, you can stream live TV from the comfort of your own home without the hassle or expense of a cable subscription.
PlayStation Vue’s ability to live stream its popular cable channels is the main feature on the service, but it offers several other options to make the experience more enjoyable.
- Watch Live TV – With Vue, you can watch live TV as it airs on cable. You’ll get access to 45+ channels, all streaming live, just like if you had a cable subscription – except much cheaper, and no contract required!
- On-Demand Content– PlayStation Vue stores up to 3 days of some of the most popular primetime shows available on select channels. You can then go back and watch anything you might have missed and when viewing a specific show can see all of the previous episodes available on-demand.
- My Shows– One of the best features on PlayStation Vue is the ability to tag your favorite TV shows. The future airings of the show will be recorded and saved to the Sony cloud for up to 28 days. You can then go back and retrieve whatever shows you have recorded and watch on your own time. Sony mentions you can record thousands of hours of shows, so there should not be any problems including just about as many as you’d like.
- Timeline– One of the things Sony has planned for is subscribers who are interested in removing a cable subscription, but still keeping up with their favorite TV shows. Therefore, PlayStation Vue’s timeline feature lets users view the last eight shows they watched and what is up next to air. This way you never miss the next installment of your favorite shows and can easily set up your preferred shows to be recorded in the future.
What Packages Does PlayStation Vue Offer?
After learning about what PlayStation Vue is and the features it includes, you should know the channels included in its packages. PlayStation Vue has several options to subscribe to its service. You can either subscribe to one of its three multi-channel plans or to one of its standalone channel packages. Sony has been consistently adding and updating its channel offerings, but here is the current slate of offerings included in a subscription:
It’s important to note that while most of these channels are available live, ABC, Fox, NBC and CBS are on-demand online (for now).
*Note—You can sign up for a 7-day free trial for PlayStation Vue and test out any of the below plans.
Access Slim Plan ($29.99/month)
ABC (on demand nationwide), FOX (on demand nationwide), NBC (on demand nationwide), AMC, Bravo, Cartoon Network, CNBC, CNN, E!, Food Network, HGTV, FOX News, TNT, USA, TBS, and several more. In total it amounts to about 45+ channels.
Core Slim Plan ($34.99/month)
The Core channel plan markets itself on the ability to add local sports networks to your list of channels. There are about 60+ channels overall and the list includes additional channels like the Golf Channel and IFC, if you pay the extra $5 per month. One of the constant concerns with cable cutters is the limited options to watch live sports events. PlayStation Vue’s Core package answers these concerns, especially with the ability to watch local sports.
Elite Slim Plan ($44.99/month)
The Elite package features 90+ channels and features PlayStation Vue’s standalone channels. The two standalone services are Epix Hits, which features popular movies, comedy specials and documentaries, and Machinima, which Sony says is the headquarters for all things gaming including original series, news, and high-quality gameplay.
Ultra Slim Plan ($64.99/month)
The Ultra package features all of the channels in the above packages plus premium networks, like HBO and Showtime. This is everything Vue has to offer.
Standalone Channels— Sony has three packages, which can be subscribed to on their own. The standalone channels are available nationwide for anyone with a PlayStation Network account and the above devices.
- HBO ($15/month) — HBO can be added to your PlayStation Vue subscription for $15 a month, the same price Sling TV charges and the same cost as the standalone HBO NOW service.
- Machinima ($3.99/month, $1.99/month for PlayStation Plus Members) — As mentioned above Machinima is marketed as the headquarters for all things gaming and fandom. The channel produces original series, streams high-quality gameplay action, featured news, podcast segments, and more. Sony offers a free 30-day trial for this package.
- FOX Soccer Plus ($14.99/month, $12.99/month for PlayStation Plus Members)— Launched in 2010, FOX Soccer Plus is dedicated to covering soccer and rugby around the world. FOX has broadcast rights for popular leagues like UEFA Champions League and UEFA Europa League and the standalone package would be a useful option for anyone looking to cut cable and still follow as much soccer action as possible throughout the year. There is currently a free 7-day trial on PlayStation Vue for FOX Soccer Plus.
- SHOWTIME ($10.99/month, $8.99/month for PlayStation Plus Members)— You can subscribe to receive all of SHOWTIME’s original programming available as a live stream on any of the approved devices. The one hang up is there is no announcement on when SHOWTIME Anytime will be available for PlayStation Vue subscribers to watch all of SHOWTIME’s programming on-demand. For an extra $1.50/month you can also add EPIX to the SHOWTIME description to watch even more movies and other features. For this package, Sony offers a free 30-day trial.
- CINEMAX ($15.00/month) – CINEMAX provides premium movies and TV content, with a focus on new-release and hard-to-find films.
- Polaris ($2.99/month, $1.99/month for PlayStation Plus members) – Polaris is a gaming network created by Maker Network. It offers tons of interesting coverage for fans of video gaming.
So, now you have a better picture of the channels on PlayStation Vue. It’s a good selection, but unfortunately Vue has actually been shrinking lately, while its competitors are growing. In November 2016, Vue dropped all Viacom-owned channels, including Comedy Central, Spike and MTV. This was an unfortunate development, and leaves us a little concerned for the future of this service.
What About PlayStation Vue Local Channels?
Most PS Vue channels are available nationwide, but some channels on PlayStation Vue are only available in certain areas. Below, find more info on the PS Vue local channels:
- FOX – FOX is available live in select markets, including:
- Atlanta; Austin; Charlotte; Chicago; Dallas; Detroit; Gainesville; Houston; Los Angeles ; Miami; Minneapolis; New York; Orlando; Philadelphia; Phoenix; San Francisco; Tampa; and Washington, D.C.
- FOX is available on-demand nationwide (but only live in the above areas)
- NBC – NBC is available live in select markets, including:
- Chicago; Dallas; Detroit; Hartford/New Haven; Houston; Los Angeles; Miami; New York; Philadelphia; San Diego; San Francisco; and Washington, D.C.
- NBC is available on-demand nationwide (but only live in the above areas)
- ABC – ABC is available live in select markets, including:
- Chicago; Fresno; Houston; Los Angeles; New York; Philadelphia; Raleigh Durham; and San Francisco.
- ABC is available on-demand nationwide (but only live in the above areas)
- CBS – CBS is available live in select markets, including:
- Baltimore; Boston; Chicago; Dallas; Denver; Detroit; Los Angeles; Miami; Minneapolis; New York; Philadelphia; Pittsburgh; Sacramento; and San Francisco.
Again, only the above channels on PS Vue are region-restricted. All the other PS Vue channels are available nationwide.
How Much Does PlayStation Vue Cost?
As you can see above PlayStation Vue has many packages and different variations on how much it will cost for its subscriptions. If you compare it to other services its basic package of $29.99 per month is a great deal. It’s main competitor, Sling TV, has a basic plan for $20 per month, but it has fewer channels.
PlayStation Vue can surely be seen as a competitive option against a cable subscription. It is cheaper than many cable packages and Sony may be focusing more on providing a similar channel selection as cable for a cheaper option that can easily be streamed from home.
One of the best aspects is the ability to have the same price without any contracts. You pay month-to-month and Sony does not try to entice you into a long contract to pay a lower rate. You’ll never be locked into one of the expensive cable subscriptions again and you can decide how you’ll stream live TV on your own terms.
Can I Try PlayStation Vue Free?
Yes, PlayStation Vue offers a free 7-day trial for all of its multi-channel packages! There are also free trials, either 7-days or 30-days, for all of its standalone packages. This gives you a great chance to test PlayStation Vue’s features and offerings and find out if it is the right option for you. We highly recommend trying a free trial before you subscribe!
Playstation Vue Review: Bottom Line
Overall, this is a great new streaming service. It provides an impressive selection of channels at a reasonable price, and it’s available without a contract. Now that it is available nationwide, it’s a great option for anyone looking to cut cable. It’s still more expensive than competing services like Sling TV, but it provides a ton of value.
PlayStation Vue is also rapidly expanding. Just a few months ago it was only available in a handful of cities and cost $50+ a month. Now, it’s available nationwide and starts at just $29.99 per month! We expect Sony to continually expand and improve upon the Vue service. On the other hand, Vue dropping some key channels recently was a notable downside.
We’ll keep this guide updated with the latest information! Also, if you read a PlayStation Vue review elsewhere, be sure to note when it was published, as Vue has gone through some major changes recently (for the better)!
How Can I Learn More about Sony’s PlayStation Vue?
Thanks for reading our PlayStation Vue review. To learn more information about PlayStation Vue, access their website here and start a free 7-day trial. If you have any questions, feel free to comment below and I’ll help!
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