PlayStation Vue: Sony’s long-awaited TV service is official, will carry 75 channels

Sony’s new cloud-based TV streaming service, PlayStation Vue, has set its sights on cable and satellite TV. The media and hardware giant announced the long-anticipated service today, which kicks off an invitational beta in November 2014, leading up to a commercial release in early 2015.

Sitting somewhere between TiVo and Hulu, PlayStation Vue provides one seamless interface for both live television programming and recorded, streaming content. Popular programming from the last three days will remain available to view at any time without needing to set anything up. Tagged favorite shows will be automatically recorded without storage restrictions or scheduling conflicts for 28 days after airing.

During the beta, the service will offer around 75 channels per market, including both national and local broadcasters. This includes local affiliates of major networks such as CBS, Fox, and NBC, and also national, cable-based networks such as FX, Comedy Central, and Discovery Channel. The regional specificity will also allow users to watch local sports through services like Fox Sports and Prime Ticket.

Sony PlayStation Vue

PlayStation Vue starts rolling out to select American cities this month, via invitations sent to PlayStation 3 and PlayStation 4 owners. It’s coming to iPad and devices from both Sony and other manufacturers soon after that, with commercial availability targeted for the first quarter of 2015.

A large part of Sony’s strategy to take down the cable industry behemoth is transparent pricing and only month-to-month commitments, rather than annual subscriptions that can be difficult and inflexible. The exact pricing details are not yet available, but Sony promises transparent, competitive rates without any additional fees or charges. Rumors earlier in 2014 pointed towards higher monthly rates than initially anticipated — on the order of $80 per month, which puts it in the same price category as most cable services — but Sony has not confirmed any figures, and negotiations are presumably ongoing.

Internet-based services like Netflix, Amazon, and Yahoo have all taken a stand against traditional broadcasting models recently by investing in original programming. The battle for audiences is playing out legally through the FCC and the issue of net neutrality, as traditional cable providers largely still hold monopolies over the Internet services upon which these upstart competitors rely. Sony is uniquely positioned in this battle as a conglomerate that already has substantial stakes in media hardware, digital platforms, and content production, whereas the other companies are generally coming from one of these areas and moving into the others.

Related video: Sony to introduce web-based TV service

The industries of mass content distribution have been sluggish to adapt to the rapidly evolving mediascape of the 21st century. Internet natives and upstarts have pecked away at the establishment over the last few years, but a media giant like Sony throwing its hat into the ring marks a substantial shift in that struggle. The inertia of decades of capital invested in broadcast media can only resist for so long the Internet’s growing gravitational pull to unite all media into one, fluid ecology.

Movies & TV

Disney completes its $71.3 billion purchase of 21st Century Fox

Now that Walt Disney Company has closed its $71.3 billion purchase of 21st Century Fox's movie and television assets, what does this future hold for franchises like X-Men, the Fantastic Four, The Simpsons, and the rest?
Home Theater

Hulu vs. Amazon Prime Video: Which streaming service is best for you?

It's hard to dispute Netflix's leadership in on-demand streaming video, it's not alone. Two great alternatives are Amazon Prime Video and Hulu; each with its strengths and weaknesses. Which one is better? We pick the winner.
Movies & TV

No TV? No problem. Here's how to watch the Final Four online

Whether you want to watch the Big Dance on your phone or on your smart TV, we have the lowdown on all the ways to watch March Madness you can handle. Grab your foam finger and some nachos.
Movies & TV

Netflix confirms it won’t be a part of Apple’s new video-streaming service

Netflix has confirmed that subscribers to Apple's new video streaming service won't have the option to view Netflix content on it. Apple is set to unveil its new TV service next week.
Gaming

Master Shinobi combat with our Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice beginner's guide

Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice is one of the hardest games of the generation, and it can be overwhelming, even for those who have played From Software's other games. Here is what you need to know to get started.
Gaming

World of Warcraft's allied races will make you want to start a new character

The Horde and Alliance are seeking new allies in their struggle for control of Azeroth. Whether you pledge your allegiance to the Horde or Alliance, we've got a guide to help you unlock every allied race that's coming in Battle for Azeroth.
Computing

Nvidia faces attacks from AMD, Intel, and even Google. Should it be worried?

Nvidia announced an expanded array of RTX server solutions designed to leverage the power of ray-tracing at GTC 2019. The effort will help Nvidia take on Google's Stadia in game streaming with GeForce Now, and the company's investments in…
Computing

How 5G networks will make low-latency game streaming a reality

Faster speeds and more bandwidth are some of the many promises that 5G can deliver, but for gamers, the most important thing is low latency. To achieve low latency, carriers like AT&T and Verizon are exploring hybrid models for game…
Product Review

Nintendo’s Labo VR Kit may look silly, but it really works

During our hands-on with the Nintendo Labo VR Kit, fears of a gimmicky product from Nintendo were quickly dispelled. While not a direct competitor to Oculus or HTCs own headsets, Labo VR brings a clever, new way to experience VR that makes…
Gaming

PlayStation does the smart thing, stops selling digital codes at physical stores

Sony will no longer offer PlayStation digital full-game downloads at retail stores. The game downloads will now only be available directly from the PlayStation Network's own digital store.
Gaming

Seven years later, ‘Dark Souls’ is still a gloriously punishing masterpiece

Despite my experience and love of From Software’s Dark Souls III and Bloodborne, I never played the original Dark Souls. The new remastered version gave me a chance to remedy that, and it was glorious.
Gaming

Atlus reveals Persona 5 The Royal, teases mysterious new female character

Atlus revealed Persona 5 The Royal in a trailer that features a mysterious new female character. It appears that the redhead will be an antagonist to the Phantom Thieves of Hearts, but many details about the upcoming game remain unclear.
Gaming

Save big on Corsair gaming headsets and a premium keyboard

From March 24 to 30, you can pick up one of two models of the great Corsair's Void Pro gaming headset on a sweet discount. One of Corsair's best mechanical keyboards is also on sale this week -- at a steep discount.
Emerging Tech

Awesome Tech You Can’t Buy Yet: Robotic companions and computer-aided karaoke

Check out our roundup of the best new crowdfunding projects and product announcements that hit the web this week. You may not be able to buy this stuff yet, but it's fun to gawk!