Image credit: Polygon
New service will let you watch live TV and on-demand content without a cable or satellite subscription.
by Eddie Makuch on November 13, 2014
PlayStation maker Sony has announced an all new, cloud-based TV service called PlayStation Vue. The platform, which lets you access live TV and on-demand content without a cable or satellite subscription, is coming to the PlayStation 3 and PlayStation 4. A beta will begin later this month.
Sony isn’t holding back in boasting about Vue, saying the service “reinvents” the traditional TV experience. The announcement came with a statement from Sony Computer Entertainment CEO Andrew House, who laid out his vision for Vue.
“Everyday TV is about to become extraordinary with our new cloud-based TV service, PlayStationVue,” House said. “Today’s announcement builds on the historic success of PlayStation 4 and demonstrates what our company is capable of when we embrace disruption and stay true to gamers.”
Vue has a “powerful” user interface, Sony says, which delivers “unprecedented personalization and simplicity.” The service also features recommendation algorithms, which will clue you in on movies and shows based on your previous viewing habits and trending content. You can also use Vue’s “Explore” function to view the entire catalog of on-demand content, filtered by program, genre, ratings, and popularity, among other things.
Sony adds that Vue will help you catch up on live TV programming you might have missed, as the service will make available the past three days of popular shows without requiring you to schedule recordings. You can also save shows to the cloud, where they will stay for a period of 28 times.
As part of the initial invite-only beta (there’s no indication yet as to how you can get in), Vue will offer around 75 channels per market. Such a service will likely live or die based on its network partners, and Vue has many of the big names, including GameSpot parent company CBS and others.
Vue’s current network partners, with descriptions courtesy of Sony, are listed below–more will be announced later.
- CBS: At launch, PlayStation Vue will offer the live linear signal from CBS Television Network’s owned-and-operated TV stations in select leading markets in addition to on-demand prime-time programming.
- Discovery Communications: Discovery Channel, TLC, Animal Planet, Investigation Discovery, Science, OWN: Oprah Winfrey Network, Discovery Family Channel, and 11 more brands.
- Fox: Fox Networks Group’s portfolio of national entertainment programming services, including–FX, FXX, FXM, National Geographic Channel, and Nat Geo WILD. Additionally FOX Sports’ national and regional programming services–FOX Sports 1, FOX Sports 2, BTN, Fox’s regional sports networks, including YES Network and Prime Ticket. The agreement also covers Fox’s owned and operated television stations.
- NBCUniversal: All local offerings from NBC, Telemundo and regional sports networks as well as Bravo, CNBC, E!, NBCSN, Oxygen, Sprout, Syfy, USA Network, and more.
- Scripps Networks Interactive: HGTV, Food Network, Travel Channel, DIY Network, and Cooking Channel.
- Viacom: BET, CMT, Comedy Central, MTV, Nickelodeon, PALLADIA, Spike, VH1 and more.
Pricing for Vue was not announced today, though Sony says Vue will “change the rules” for how people pay for subscription TV. The company promises “fair and competitive” pricing that’s transparent and doesn’t have hidden fees or charges. Vue subscriptions will be offered on a month-to-month basis, so you won’t be locked in for an extended period of time. It also doesn’t require any equipment or installation charges, since all you need is Internet access and a PS3 or PS4.
The Vue beta will begin in November for select PS3 and PS4 owners. A wider rollout is planned for later, starting in New York and followed by Chicago, Philadelphia, and Los Angeles. Vue will later be available for iPad, as well as more Sony and non-Sony devices.
“In my opinion, we will continue to see the number of Over The Top (OTT) video options continue to grow. This is a wonderful thing for consumers, but it threatens one of the core revenue streams of companies like Time Warner Cable, Comcast (recently bought Time Warner Cable) Verizon FIOS, AT&T, DISH, DirecTV and other “traditional” video service providers. By the time most Millennials reach their 30s and 40s, the way video is consumed will have changed completely, and so will the revenue models.”
– Steve Copertino, Former Cable Industry Executive