A lot has modified since early 2016, when Sony took its PlayStation Vue streaming TV bundle nationwide. Vue now contends with 5 different nationwide streaming bundles as a substitute of only one, and a recent price change has made it $10 costlier in lots of markets.
Nonetheless, PlayStation Vue manages to face out with broad system help, strong video high quality, a variety of channels, and a extra utilitarian interface than most different streaming bundles. If you happen to don’t thoughts spending $40 monthly or extra on a TV package deal, Vue might be your best choice.
Editor’s word: This assessment, initially printed on April 18, 2016, has been up to date in its entirety. We’ve preserved the original content here if you happen to’d prefer to revisit it.
PlayStation Vue channel lineup
Pay little consideration to the title: PlayStation Vue doesn’t require a PlayStation gaming console. It’s also possible to entry the service via Amazon’s Hearth TV or Hearth TV Stick, Google Chromecast, Apple TV, Roku, iOS units, Android TV and cell units, and the online. It’s also possible to use Vue to log in to roughly 60 “TV In every single place” apps, comparable to WatchESPN and Fox Sports activities Go, on much more platforms.
Now that Sony has discontinued PlayStation Vue’s “Slim” packages, the essential “Entry” plan begins at $40 monthly nationwide for roughly 50 channels. Amongst them are ESPN, all three cable information networks, and on-demand video from ABC, CBS, NBC, and Fox. Like other bundles, Sony additionally presents stay feeds from the most important broadcast networks in sure markets, relying on whether or not their native affiliate stations are on board. (Enter your zip code here to see which native stations Vue presents close to you.)
Sports activities followers will need to throw in one other $5 monthly for the “Core” package deal, which provides regional Fox Sports activities channels, Comcast SportsNet, NFL Community, NBC Golf, NBA TV, and a number of other different sports activities channels, plus the choice so as to add extra networks—NFL Redzone—for an additional $10 monthly. A $55-per-month Elite package deal provides much more channels, and a $75-per-month plan tacks on Showtime and HBO at discounted charges. (HBO, Showtime, Fox Soccer Plus, and a number of other different premium channels are additionally obtainable as standalone add-ons for any package deal.)
At these costs, Vue isn’t the most cost effective bundle round. Sling TV’s beginning value of $20 monthly is way decrease, and your cash could go additional with one-size-fits-all bundles like Hulu with Live TV, YouTube TV, or FuboTV. Nonetheless, Vue’s plans are usually extra thorough than these choices, and the $45-per-month Core package deal hits a candy spot for people who need to quit cable with out dropping all their favourite sports activities.
Right here’s the PlayStation Vue channel listing as of January 30, 2018:
*Dwell native channels obtainable in choose markets, on-demand programming elsewhere. Enter your zip code on the Vue website for particulars.
Perks and restrictions
Past simply stay TV, most Vue channels provide a smattering of on-demand video, and a few channels allow you to “catch-up” on something that’s aired over the previous a number of days. However for applications you don’t need to miss, it’s finest to make use of the cloud DVR.
Sony’s interpretation of the DVR is a bit completely different from most different streaming providers. As an alternative of setting limits on recording time, PlayStation Vue will retailer limitless applications for as much as 28 days. In a manner, that is liberating, because you don’t have to fret about jeopardizing one present by including one other. Nevertheless it additionally means you’re on the clock to atone for the belongings you care about.
PlayStation Vue’s DVR additionally has one different massive trade-off: Some applications don’t assist you to watch a recording whereas it’s nonetheless in progress. Meaning you possibly can’t use the DVR simply to skip via commercials on a stay telecast. For higher or worse, Vue’s DVR is extra of a brief save button than a facsimile of the cable model.
As for viewing restrictions, Sony helps as much as 5 streams at a time, although you possibly can solely have a single PlayStation four and a single PlayStation three streaming on the similar time. Sony additionally requires that every one TV units connect with the identical house community at a single tackle—no sharing passwords with faraway pals—and you may solely change your personal tackle as soon as. You’re free to journey the nation with Sony’s cell apps, however some channels don’t help cell viewing, and a few applications solely help DVR viewing at house.
How Vue feels to make use of
PlayStation Vue’s strategy to the TV information is much less formidable than a few of its rivals. It doesn’t make intensive use of algorithmic suggestions, like Hulu does, nor does it provide a protracted listing of curated video collections, like AT&T’s DirecTV Now.
As an alternative, PlayStation Vue lets as much as 5 customers choose their very own favourite channels and TV exhibits. It then presents these favorites in a menu alongside sections for lately watched applications, stay TV, sports activities, youngsters exhibits, and featured exhibits. When you choose a present, you’ll see a full listing of obtainable episodes, with clear indicators for whether or not the supply is on demand, recorded on DVR, or airing stay. It’s also possible to use Vue’s “Discover” menu to whittle down your entire content material library by style, size, age score, and different filters. The closest Vue will get to customized suggestions is an inventory of associated applications on the backside of every present web page.
The interface’s simple nature isn’t nice at serving to you uncover new exhibits to look at, however it’s an environment friendly automobile for watching the exhibits you already get pleasure from. And for customers who prefer to flip via the channels, PlayStation Vue features a grid-based channel information, although the channel and time axes are reversed in comparison with a standard cable field.
Sony would additionally profit from a little bit of streamlining. The order of channels in Vue’s LIve TV part appears to haven’t any reasoning behind it—cable information networks are at all times listed first, although they’re not in my favourite channels listing—and the best way Vue’s search instrument has you scroll via one letter at a time appears woefully inefficient. However on the entire, PlayStation Vue is straightforward to navigate.
The service additionally stands out in video high quality and reliability. Anecdotally, I haven’t skilled any outages or glitches, nor have I seen any widespread complaints on-line. As well as, Vue is considered one of simply two streaming bundles—alongside DirecTV Now—that persistently helps 60-frames-per-second video throughout all sports activities, information, and broadcast channels, replicating the sleek movement you’d get from a cable field. The upper body charge works on PlayStation four, Amazon Hearth TV packing containers (however not Hearth TV Sticks or the third-generation Hearth TV), Apple TV, Chromecast, Nvidia Defend TV, and newer Roku gamers. PlayStation three technically helps this as properly, although it had bother sustaining a gradual body charge in my expertise.
PlayStation Vue isn’t as straightforward to advocate because it was once. Sling TV and Philo are each significantly cheaper, Hulu with Dwell TV and YouTube TV each have extra imaginative interfaces, DirecTV Now could be a greater deal for AT&T subscribers, and FuboTV is cheaper for sure sports activities channels. However none of these choices mix video high quality, system help, channel lineup, and a simple interface in the best way Sony’s bundle does.