Sony’s attempt to compete with cable TV starts today: the long-awaited PlayStation Vue TV streaming service is now available for PS3 and PS4 owners in New York, Philadelphia, and Chicago. Much like Dish’s new Sling TV service, Vue lets you pay a monthly fee to get live access to a variety of broadcast network channels as well as networks that are typically only available from cable providers.
Probably the two most important factors for any service like Vue are price and channel lineup, and the network lineup Sony has on board is impressive. Sony has deals set up with CBS, Fox, NBC, Discovery, Scripps, Turner, Viacom, and AMC — that adds up to more than 85 total distinct channels. Of course, that won’t come cheap. The entry package costs $49.99 per month and covers about 50 different channels.
For most Vue users, that $50 package should be sufficient, as it covers a whole host of some of the most popular channels you’ll get in any cable package. It includes local broadcast channels from NBC, Fox, and CBS as well as cable networks like TNT, TBS, USA, MTV, Animal Planet, BET, FX, Comedy Central, AMC (starting next month), and many more. It’s an impressive lineup — when I thought about how I use cable TV currently, I realized that the entry level Vue package would cover a huge chunk of the shows I like to keep up with.
Unfortunately, there’s one huge hole in Sony’s lineup — ABC. That means no ESPN, no Disney, or even the local ABC affiliate so you can keep up with Modern Family. It’s a real shame, as it keeps Vue from truly being a one-stop service you can use to cut the cord for good — we’re keeping our fingers crossed that ABC and Sony will be able to come to an agreement sooner than later.
Still, there’s a lot to like in Vue’s basic channel lineup. Sony’s $59.99 step-up “Core” package is mostly aimed at sports fans — it includes national sports networks BTN and the Golf Channel as well as regional sports networks like New York’s YES and Comcast SportsNet in Chicago and Philadelphia. There’s also a $69.99 “Elite” package that mostly adds a bunch of niche channels; for most users, the standard package will probably be more than enough.