As of today, Sony’s cable-like service, PlayStation Vue, is available in New York City, Philadelphia, and Chicago. This release of the newly-available service, which was announced last year, is likely tied to the recent developments in net neutrality which will prevent competitors like AT&T, Time Warner, Verizon, Comcast, and others from potentially throttling Sony’s service.
The base service at its lowest price point costs $50 per month. Sony believes that this service is not competing with services like Netflix or Hulu. Instead, Vue is meant to be a direct competitor to the major cable companies, which explains the higher price tag. In an interview with Gamespot, Sony Network Entertainment Vice President Eric Lempel called Sony’s service “a complete TV offering.”
It’s live TV; it’s catch-up TV; it’s a DVR in the cloud. So it gives our users everything that we think they want.
As far as the slow rollout of major cities, Lempel told GameSpot,
We want to get to a lot of cities very quickly. This is the most complex thing we’ve launched since starting the network. Everything we’ve launched usually comes out by country. In this case, because we felt local programming was important to the users, we wanted to make sure we got those deals signed so that it involves the local affiliates individually. But this year, we will be delivering a lot of new markets, so it’s something that will evolve very quickly.
PlayStation Vue’s cheapest ‘Access’ package, coming in at $50/month, includes 50 channels. Most notably out of these channels are CBS, FOX, NBC, Bravo, Cartoon Network, CNN, Comedy Central, Discovery, NBC Sports, Nickelodeon, MTV, Science, Syfy, TLC, and AMC (coming in April).
The next package available is the ‘Core’ package, costing subscribers $60/month, which adds on local sports networks like YES Network in the case of New York or SportsNet Chicago in Chicago’s case.
Finally, the ‘Elite’ package, which comes in at a whopping $70/month, adds another 26 channels including 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.
One plus side of the service is that you will not be required to have an active PlayStation Plus subscription to access Vue. Vue can also be watched simultaneously by three separate devices, but only one of which can be a PlayStation 4.
As for recording your favorite shows, PlayStation Vue’s DVR is cloud-based, meaning that subscribers will be able to tag any shows they want to record, and not have to worry about space constraints, or having too many shows recording at once.
Finally, we have the question on everybody’s mind: Will there be ads? The answer is yes. Due to the nature of live television, there will be commercial breaks just like with traditional cable. There will also be occasions where Sony can interject their own ads and ad space or sell ad space during live broadcasts. Although, in recorded events, you’ll have the ability to fast-forward through the commercials just like a traditional DVR.
Lempel closed his interview with Gamespot with this statement,
Initially, we’re going out with this easy-to-understand offering of select channels that our users have identified as important, but anything can be added to this. So, in time, if we feel there’s something interesting that a lot of our users want, that can come into this. We have the ability to do it technically … So anything is possible for the future.
What do you think about Sony’s new take on a traditional cable service? Is this the service that will convince millions to finally cut the cord on cable? If you’re one of the few who have signed up for the service already, what do you think about it? Let us know all that and more in the comment section below!