Sony this week took the wraps off a new PlayStation Vue cloud TV service that is scheduled to rollout in the first quarter of 2015. A PlayStation Vue beta will begin this month for select PS4 and PS3 owners, letting console owners be the first ones to determine whether the new Sony PlayStation Vue cloud TV service will be a cable TV killer.
Sony is clearly going after cable TV and satellite TV providers with PlayStation Vue. Final pricing and package details will be unveiled sometime in Q1 2015, but the company’s announcement press release was rather overt in taking-on companies like Comcast, Time Warner Cable and DirecTV directly.
Sony’s press release claimed that with PlayStation Vue, “What you see is what you pay – fair and competitive price that is transparent with no hidden fees or charges.” In addition, the company highlighted “No contracts – maximum flexibility as PlayStation Vue will be offered on a month-to-month basis without any penalty or customer service hassles for cancellation.” The clear confirmation that Sony’s taking on traditional TV providers was that PlayStation Vue will require “No equipment or installation charges – with broadband internet service and a PlayStation 4 system or PlayStation 3 system, there’s no need to install or rent any additional equipment.”
Presumably the PS4 or PS3 requirement is just for the beta, which begins in November. According to Sony, PlayStation Vue will start with an invitation-only beta preview in November, followed by “a phased rollout” that starts in New York and is followed by Chicago, Philadelphia and Los Angeles. No timetable was given to those various phases. Sony’s PlayStation Vue cloud TV service will eventually be available for iPad, followed later by availability on both Sony and non-Sony devices.
That implies the service won’t be tied to a PS3 or PS4 over the long term. More than likely, the PlayStation Vue cloud TV service will be delivered via an app for tablets, smartphones and Smart TVs, thus eliminating the need for hardware.
Andrew House, President and Group CEO of Sony Computer Entertainment Inc., had no shortage of praise for the service.
“PlayStation Vue reinvents the traditional viewing experience so your programming effortlessly finds you, enabling you to watch much more of what you want and search a lot less,” House said in a statement. “PlayStation Vue brings the best of live TV and a robust catalog of the latest content, always keeping you connected to what’s popular, new and trending.”
House then concluded with “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.”
Sony’s “historic success” with PS4 was documented today by the latest sales data from NPD Group. NPD’s October sales figures showed Sony’s PS4 outsold Microsoft’s Xbox One in October, the 12th straight month the PS4 vs Xbox One sales battle has swung in Sony’s favor.
PlayStation Vue will deliver on-demand TV for the past three days of popular programming, eliminating the need to record the shows. Viewers can then save their favorite shows to the cloud without storage restrictions or scheduling conflicts. Viewers will have access to episodes of shows they tag as “favorites” for 28 days.
During the PS4 and PS3 beta of PlayStation Vue cloud TV service, users will have access to “around 75 channels,” including local broadcasts. Included in the PlayStation Vue channel lineup are CBS, Discovery Channel, TLC, Animal Planet, Investigation Discovery, Science, OWN: Oprah Winfrey Network, Discovery Family Channel, FX, FXX, FXM, National Geographic Channel, Nat Geo WILD, FOX Sports 1, FOX Sports 2, BTN, YES Network, Prime Ticket, NBC, Telemundo, Bravo, CNBC, E!, NBCSN, Oxygen, Sprout, Syfy, USA Network, HGTV, Food Network, Travel Channel, DIY Network, Cooking Channel, BET, CMT, Comedy Central, MTV, Nickelodeon, PALLADIA, Spike and VH1.