Sony had some big announcements to share in their E3 press conference. You may expect all the news to be around their video gaming platforms since E3 is a gaming conference but instead their streaming video service took center stage. Sony launched Playstation Vue in March. If you haven’t heard of it yet then you aren’t alone. The service was only available in New York City, Chicago, and Philadelphia. Vue is now available in Los Angeles and San Francisco with more cities coming soon. The biggest addition for cord cutters will come in July when Playstation Vue adds the ability for users to select individual channels.
The a la carte approach differs from cable and satellite companies that force customers into packages with channels they don’t want to watch much less pay for. Playstation Vue will start by offering Showtime, Fox Soccer Plus (UEFA Champions League), and Machinima in July. Members will be able to sign up for either channel without committing to other programming. No more bundling which is what so many cable customers turned cord cutters have hated for years. Of course Playstation Vue still has its limitations. For starters they have not been able to come to terms with Disney to carry popular channels like ESPN and ABC. The lack of ESPN will continue to steer many sports fans toward Sling TV. The addition of Fox Soccer Plus helps but ESPN is still the big draw for many American sports viewers.
Playstation Vue also offers bundles similar to cable and satellite offerings. That doesn’t excite us near as much as their a la carte offerings. I think per-channel subscriptions will grow into the norm in the years to come. Maybe not even that long. So far this year we’ve seen new stand-alone video streaming services from big names like HBO Now and Showtime. Dish Network’s Sling TV also made their mark with a small bundled offering that includes ESPN and HGTV for just $20 a month.
Sony has their work cut out for them to compete with other streaming services. I personally prefer Sling TV for two reasons. First it includes ESPN. Second I can watch it on a wide range of devices including Roku. While I have a PS4 for gaming I wouldn’t want to rely on it as my only source of viewing my favorite shows and movies. For that reason I don’t think Playstation Vue will grow as fast as Sling TV and the much anticipated Apple TV streaming service that we expected to hear more about at WWDC. Many expect Apple to jump into the video streaming business in a big way in the months to come. In the meantime we’ll keep an eye on Sony’s Playstation Vue. You can follow us @SmartDNSFan for the latest streaming news and updates.