PlayStation Vue is one of the primary options available for the ever-growing tribe of cord cutters who hate cable, but must have live TV. Vue began life in March of 2015 as a service primarily geared for those with PlayStation gaming consoles, but since then the service has gone through a number of changes. Channels have come and gone, pricing has shifted, and the list of features and supported streaming devices continues to grow.
To help you choose between Vue and rivals like Sling TV and DirecTV Now, we’ve created this detailed guide to Sony’s internet TV service which outlines Vue’s numerous channel packages and pricing, as well as a look at supported devices and our own thoughts on the service from the user perspective.
Pricing and channel packages
Parsing PlayStation Vue’s pricing model can be a bit confusing. As you can see from the charts below, there are multiple channel packages available. Packages include the major networks NBC, ABC, CBS and FOX, but these channels are only live in select markets, including New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Philadelphia, Dallas, San Francisco, and Miami. FierceCable has reported that CBS has been added to as much as 50 percent of Vue’s footprint in recent months, but in many markets network channels are only available for next-day on-demand viewing. This is admittedly a bummer for those outside of major areas, but these packages are therefore $10 cheaper. You will see these packages denoted as “slim.”
Access, $40 per month/Access Slim, $30 per month
At Vue’s basic “Access/Access Slim” packages, you’ll be spending $30/$40 a month for over 45 channels, including staples like ESPN, CNN, Disney Channel, Cartoon Network, and major networks.
Core, $45 per month/Core Slim, $35 per month
“Core” ups the channel count to 60-plus for $35/$45, adding in entertainment channels like IFC and TCM, and a number of sports channels like NFL Network, NBA TV, NBC Golf, and ESPN U, and more.
Elite, $55 per month/Elite Slim, $45 per month
“Elite/Elite Slim” adds another 30-some channels for $45/$55, bringing a number of niche channels, another round of sports channels, and most importantly begins to add in channels like Epix and Machinima, which are available as add-ons at the previous ranks.
Ultra/Ultra Slim, $65 per month
Finally, the $65 “Ultra/Ultra Slim” features the same full 90 channel suite the “Elite” offers, but adds in HBO and Showtime to the mix. At this level, nearly all add-on channels are included, with just a few exceptions.
Regardless of where you live, each package features the same basic channel selection, with higher-tier subscription packages simply adding in more channels. By upping your subscription to a higher price point, you can rest easy knowing you’re not going be leaving channels behind in exchange for new ones. In this way, PlayStation Vue is more akin to DirecTV Now than Sling TV, the latter of which offers a higher subscription plan that actually dumps some channels from its lower priced sibling.
It’s also important to note that Sony has recently discontinued carrying Viacom-owned channels, meaning that channels like MTV, Spike, and Comedy Central are all unavailable. If you’re looking specifically for these channels, you’d best go elsewhere.