Picture-in-picture viewing has been a major missing feature for live TV streaming services and it's finally becoming a reality.
With PlayStation Vue, Sling TV, and DirecTV Now all competing for the same market and even more competition on the way from YouTube and Hulu, it’s not enough to just offer live TV over the internet — features are what gain and lose subscribers. To this end, Sony announced on Monday a new feature that its competitors don’t have: The ability to watch multiple channels at once on one screen.
The new feature is called multi-view and for the time being is only available for those watching on a PlayStation 4. The new feature allows you to watch up to three channels at once instead of having to switch back and forth. While there are cases where watching three channels at once doesn’t make any sense — like watching a movie, a sitcom, and an hour-long drama at the same time — it does make perfect sense for sports. Indeed, it seems that this is the main reason that Sony has decided to add this feature this month.
“With March Madness starting next week, this will be a great way to catch several live games at once from TNT, TBS, TruTV and CBS,” PlayStation Vue head of product Dan Myers wrote on the PlayStation blog. “You can also use this feature for any live TV channel available on Vue, such as watching a mix of live news programs or live events at once.”
The new multi-view feature is available from the Guide or Live TV section of the home screen. With a program selected, tapping the ‘X’ button on the DualShock 4 controller will start it, while holding the X button will start watching in multi-view. To keep you from going crazy, only the main screen (the largest one) in multi-view will play audio. To switch a different program to the main screen, just highlight it and tap the square button.
So far, Sony has not said whether this feature will be coming to other platforms like Roku, Amazon Fire TV, or Apple TV, but it has said more features are on the way, including real-time sports scores and the ability to turn off spoiler alerts if you are planning on watching a game at a later time.