Four months after kicking off a limited, invite-only beta for PlayStation Vue in the States, Sony says its streaming-TV service is ready for a commercial launch, which could take place any time during the next two weeks. Sony Computer Entertainment president Andrew House made the announcement in an interview with the Wall Street Journal earlier this week.
PlayStation Vue won’t be available everywhere in the U.S. right away. The company has instead decided on a staggered rollout, the first leg of which will see Vue become available to owners of its PS3 and PS4 consoles in New York, Chicago, and Philadelphia for an as-yet undisclosed monthly subscription fee. The beleaguered Japanese firm hopes to conclude its nationwide rollout before the year is out. Also on the cards are apps for the iPad and other devices.
First teased in January 2014, Vue is an over-the-top IPTV offering that combines a live TV experience with certain aspects of an on-demand streaming service. Apart from being able to view live streams of the various channels in its fairly large catalog, Vue subscribers will have access to on-demand streams of programs from the previous three days. Further, they will be able to save episodes from their favorite shows in the cloud for up to 28 days.
CBS, Discovery Communications, 21st Century Fox, NBCUniversal, Scripps Networks Interactive, and Viacom are all onboard with their national and local TV offerings. The Walt Disney-owned sports powerhouse ESPN, however, is currently missing from Sony’s almost 75-channel-strong catalog. Talks to bring the sports network to Vue are ongoing, according to House, who feels the service already has a “robust offering in the sports area with existing partnerships”.
The impact on you: As we have said before, Sony must get the pricing right for PlayStation Vue to have any realistic chance of becoming a viable cable/satellite-TV alternative for would-be cord-cutters.
If the monthly subscription fee is anywhere near as high as what’s being rumored—between $60 and $80—Vue will make very little sense, other than to those who simply want to cut the cord for the sake of cutting the cord. And that would be a shame as Vue’s promise of a transparent, flexible service without long-term contracts and hidden charges is plenty compelling.