After months of struggling in the Internet TV game, executives at Playstation Vue have mounted an all-out streaming assault that has the service knocking on the doorstep of top rival Sling TV.
Just last week, alongside a deal to add ABC and ESPN stations, Vue announced a $10 discount on all three of its pricey packages, dropping them to $40, $45, and $55 per month respectively. Today the company has blasted its own deal out of the water, announcing new Slim packages that drop its lowest channel package to a strikingly enticing price of just $30 per month — nationwide.
“Many of you have been patiently waiting for PlayStation Vue to come to your city, and today we’re pleased to announce that PlayStation Vue is making its nationwide debut,” reads the Vue blog, announcing packages in “203 newly launched markets.” Previously the service has been available only in select cities like Los Angeles, New York, Chicago, and Dallas.
The sticking point to now has been a struggle to add live local channels in more markets — something that has helped shelve Apple’s plans for its own streaming service for months. Now, in what appears to be an all-out blitz to pull in as many cord-cutters as possible, Vue’s Slim bundles will drop the addition of live local channels from NBC, ABC, and Fox, instead offering on-demand content from the major networks. CBS — which has its own Internet streaming service called All Access — has yet to offer its content to the service.
The announcement claims that “most on-demand content” from the major networks will be available on the Slim packages within 24 hours of air. Other than that, the packages will look identical to Playstation’s regular offerings. That includes a base package called Access Slim ($30) with around 55 channels (withg marquee networks like AMC, ESPN, Comedy Central, and Cartoon Network); Core Slim ($35), which offers about 15 additional channels of national and regional sports; and Elite Slim ($45), which offers over 100 channels including movie and entertainment options.
Along with the same cable channels as Vue’s regular offerings, the Slim packages also come with the same feature set, including a Cloud DVR to store thousands of hours of content for around a month at a time, and simultaneous streaming, meaning users can watch Vue across multiple devices at once.
The latest additions to Sony’s pet project make it a serious player in the Internet TV market, facing off against Dish Network’s Sling TV. The latter offers a base package of 20 channels like ESPN, CNN, HGTV, and A&E for $20 per month, as well as add-on bundle packs at $5 per. Sling TV has been the lone viable option on the market for most cord-cutters looking for live TV up to now, while Playstation Vue’s packages towed the same bloated prices and add-on channels as cable, wrapped in an online package. Not anymore.
While Vue has struggled with image quality in comparison to Sling TV, today’s move officially makes the service a serious player in the nascent arena of Internet TV, offering solid value at a starting price point that’s much more inline with what the growing horde of cord-cutters — who have sworn off the bloated pricing of cable and satellite — are looking for. Vue also comes with a seven-day free trial to let you decide whether or not it’s good enough to serve your streaming purposes.
With AT&T’s DirecTV looking to add its own streaming options to the pile soon, 2016 is shaping up to be a very interesting time for Internet TV.