Sony has announced their entry in the streaming video arms race, and many are saying it may be the best streaming service yet. But if it’s so great, why is it that PlayStation TV users won’t be supported? Is Sony about to kill that fledgling service after it’s just barely gotten off the ground?
The PlayStation Vue service won’t be cheap at $49.99, but will offer cable cutters 50 live channels, including local broadcast television from major markets including New York, Chicago and Philadelphia. The Vue Access package will include CBS, Fox, NBC, Discovery Channel, FX, Fox News, CNN, MSNBC, TNT, Nick, AMC, and many others.
Additional programming can also be purchased for between $10-20 a month, and will include local area sports programming and pay cable movie networks like HBO and Showtime. See below for the entire channel lineup.
But what’s noticeably missing, is Disney’s programming block from shows coming from ABC, ABC Family, The Disney Channel, and others. Currently, Disney is in an exclusive deal with (Hulu) and so, many of the streaming services aren’t able to offer that programming … yet. The service will also include Sony’s Cloud DVR service, which will allow cable cutters the ability to tag shows to watch later, at up to 28 days after they’ve aired with no worries about storage limit fees or scheduling issues. PlayStation Vue will be available on PS 3 and PS4 game consoles, with support for iPad and other mobile devices coming in the near future.
But here’s the puzzling thing. PlayStation TV is not supported. Huh? Sony’s attempt to create a desktop box to compete with Apple TV and Roku was supposed to be more affordable and also have the added benefit of playing games from Sony’s PS Vita gaming system. But the PSTV initiative seems to have stalled after a rough launch that included many of the most popular PS Vita’s games not being supported.
As such, the attractive alure of a small gaming platform that can stream video seems to have wained with Playstation fans, who likely already have an Apple TV, Roku box, or Amazon FireTV. And like most of the streaming services, with those maturing platforms, along with the multi entertainment capability of the current generation of gaming platforms, there really is no real need for companies to get into the set top game. Even Google Chromecast, while a fraction of the price of the competition, hasn’t really put much of a dent into Apple and Roku’s dominance.
As a result, everyone is now starting to offer services through those platforms to stream their content and content with partnership deals. But with so many options out there, ISPs that also offer competing streaming options and broadcast services, are now starting to charge more for Internet access.
As such, the cost benefit of cutting the cable has largely evaporated to the point where it’s going to cause users to simply opt out of the a la carte nature of streaming TV, because it’s just easier to pay the cable bill. Far easier to pay tribute to DirecTV, and then add on Netflix in 4K and devote your bandwidth to get your fix of House of Cards, wouldn’t you think?
At least that’s what I think the ISPs are banking on. Meanwhile, with 50 live channels, all of them live, analysts are saying that PlayStation Vue may be the best service to date. I’m sure Apple will have something to say about that since they have a rival service of their own. Let the games begin.
Here’s a complete list of the channel lineup: AMC, Animal Planet, BET, Bravo, Cartoon Network, CBS, CMT, CNBC, CNN, Comedy Central, Destination America, Discovery Channel, Discovery Family, DIY, E!, Esquire, Food Network, Fox Business, Fox News Networks, FOX Sports 1, FOX Sports 2, FX, FXX, HgTV, HLN, Investigation Discovery, MSNBC, MTV, MTV2, Nat Geo, NBC Sports Network, Nick Jr., Nickeloden, Nicktoons, OWN, Oxygen, Science, Spike, Syfy, TBS, TLC, TNT, TruTV, Travel Channel, TV Land, USA Network, VH1.