That PlayStation Vue Service Is Looking Pretty Expensive

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Today begins an intriguing soft launch for Sony, as they have announced that PlayStation Vue service is now live in Chicago, New York City and Philadelphia. Their attempt to find their own attempt to help customers cut their cable cords is to offer live television, on-demand programs and a cloud-based DVR for streaming TV, movies and sports through them, not the cable company.

As I stated when it was first announced that PlayStation Vue would become a wing of Sony’s entertainment offerings, they need to hit the right price point if it is to take off. With an ever-expanding market, everybody wants in on the pie. Unfortunately, that does not seem to be the case, with subscriptions to PlayStation Vue starting at a whopping $49.99. It goes all the way to $59.99 for the “Core” package and $69.99 for the “Elite” package, with CBS, Fox, NBC as the main broadcast partners. The service will also come with Network channels, including AMC in April, CNN, Comedy Central, Fox Sports 1, TNT, MTV and more.

Furthermore, there are some series oversights in what PlayStation Vue offers. If you didn’t notice some of the omissions, some of them include the likes of ABC, which hosts a large number of important television brands. Chief among them is ESPN, a sports network that people still enjoy despite their insistence of pushing LeBron James, Tim Tebow, the New York Yankees, the Boston Red Sox and stupid sports “scandals” ad nauseam. Subscribers would also be missing out on Disney channels and their ABC affiliates, as well as actual promising ABC shows like How To Get Away With Murder and…others, I’m sure.

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When you get into the $70+tax range, PlayStation Vue (available only on the PS4 and PS3 using a controller, with service available on up to 3 devices) doesn’t have the breadth of coverage that cable companies currently offer standard. Even if ESPN shows hockey coverage only at gunpoint, or if their DVR system is generally impressive with its 28 days of recorded content storage in the cloud (not on the hard drive), it costs nearly that of what cable packages provide that PlayStation Vue does not. There’s no way an alternative to cable will be cheaper, but I feel this could be a tad more cost-effective.

With content partnerships being brokered or developed by the day for Sony, however, it’s not fair to say that PlayStation Vue is dead in its tracks. It could be a key factor in shaping up the television realm within the confines of gaming systems, but the fact is that a sub-60 million US install base for PS3 and PS4 in the region, with many more families currently in the middle of cable contracts that would cost big bucks to opt out of, the outlook is not that great. With Sling, HBO Now and whatever Apple has in store on the horizon, the viability of such an expensive monthly service is hard to argue right now.


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