PlayStation Will Soon Function as a Set-Top Box for Sony’s Own Cable Service
Sony is about to become its own cable operator.
Sony Network Entertainment International and Sony Computer Entertainment announced the PlayStation Vue today. This is a new product offering that can convert existing PS3 and PS4 consoles into a set-top box that will allow players to view 75 channels at launch. This new service will be completely cloud-based, and therefore does not require a connection via cable TV or OTA.
PlayStation as a Set-Top Box
This new service will differ from the recently released PlayStation TV, in that it in addition to on-demand programming, the PlayStation Vue will also stream live broadcasts from several major TV and cable networks. The PS3 and PS4 already have the ability to stream other Internet-only services such as Netflix and Hulu, so this new Vue service will be in addition to these.
The service will feature cloud-based recordings, as well as availability of the past three days’ worth of prime-time programming for on-demand viewing. Take that, Dish Network, and your Hopper service! Hopefully this will silence those annoying ads.
Impressive Line-Up of Channels
The lineup channels that are on-board so far are fairly impressive, including:
- CBS – Live signals from CBS affiliates in major markets, as well as on-demand programming for primetime.
- Discovery Networks – This includes Discovery Channel, TLC, Animal Planet, iD, Science, OWN, and several other brands under Discovery Networks
- Fox – In addition to live signals from major Fox affiliates, other Fox brands including FX, FXX, FXM, National Geographic, FOX Sports’ National and Regional programming, FOX Sports 1 & 2, etc.
- NBC-Universal – Live NBC signals, as well as Telemundo, regional sports networks, Bravo, CNBC, E!, NBCSN, SyFy, Oxygen, USA, etc.
- Scripps Network Interactive – HGTV, Food Network, Cooking Channel, Travel Network, and DIY Network
- Viacom – BET, CMT, Comedy Central, MTV, Nickelodeon, Spike, VH1, etc.
It’s a good start, though Disney seems to be missing (for ABC and ESPN) as well as other major cable networks such as HBO and Showtime.
Availability and Pricing
As far as availability and pricing go, the rollout will start first in New York, and then expand out to Chicago, Philadelphia, and Los Angeles later. Initially, this will be only on PS3 and PS4, though there are plans to extend this over to iPad before going on to other Sony and non-Sony devices.
Sony hasn’t given a pricing plan for this yet, but industry experts believe that it will probably be somewhere around $60, which would beat cable TV prices, but still be much more expensive than Netflix. Similar to Netflix, however, there are no contracts, and users can pay month-to-month. Sony does mention that “What you see is what you pay”, which is a bit cryptic, and makes me think that you may be able to choose your programming a-la-carte. (keeping my fingers crossed on this one)
It seems that the battle for the living room is now heating up even more, with Sony’s introduction of what is essentially, it’s own IPTV cable service. As more people decide to “cut the cable”, this may give cable providers more of a run for their money. I know that for myself personally, I am sick of paying for 300+ channels of which I only watch a handful. Hopefully, this will also give companies such as Aereo more legitimacy, so that they can offer live broadcast TV for local markets.