Sony announces a media player for PS4, improvements to PlayStation Vue

PlayStation Vue
The Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) may be a gaming convention, but that doesn’t mean other forms of media escape mention there. Yesterday, Sony revealed a few big improvements to the PlayStation’s TV and movie capabilities. Sony’s Internet TV service, PlayStation Vue, is expanding to new markets and gaining a la carte subscriptions, and the PlayStation 4 is finally getting a dedicated media player app.

PlayStation Vue is launching in San Francisco and Los Angeles today and other markets later this year, said Sony boss Andrew House during the company’s E3 presentation. (That’s in addition to the three markets in which it was previously available: New York, Chicago, and Philadelphia.) But that wasn’t the only announcement regarding Vue. In July, the service will gain a la carte programming — you’ll be able to “subscribe to individual channels without the purchase of a multi-channel bundle,” House said.

That may sound exciting, but Vue’s a la carte option isn’t as widely encompassing as you might first assume. “Individual channels” refers to premium add-on content like Showtime, not basic cable, and you’ll have to shell out quite a bit for the privilege. The first two available networks, Showtime and Fox Soccer Plus, cost $10.99 and $14.99 per month, respectively, and even the “PlayStation exclusive” Machinima channel runs a hefty $3.99 a month. PlayStation Plus members get cut a bit of a break — Showtime is $8.99, Fox Soccer Plus is $12.99, and Machinima is $1.99 — but all subscriptions are in addition to Vue’s Access ($49.99), Core ($59.99) or Elite ($69.99) monthly base price. Basically, it isn’t cheap.

To be fair, Sony never promised it would be. Vue seems to emphasize choice over value: it sports live local programming (unlike Dish Network’s competing Sling TV service), no-contract pricing, and features like three-day cloud DVR. Vue isn’t without its drawbacks and limitations right now, but the implication is clear enough: you probably won’t save money with Vue, Sony seems to be saying, but you’ll be able to swap out your legacy cable subscription with it and enjoy an overall better viewing experience.


If that’s indeed the goal, Sony hasn’t quite achieved it yet — Vue still lacks television staples like Disney-owned ESPN — but perhaps the company’s hoping its new PlayStation 4 media player will fill the gaps. Unveiled ahead of Sony’s briefing last night, the app supports a wide range of video, music, and photo file formats: MP4, AVI, MPEG3, MP3, ACC, JPEG, PNG and even the esoteric MKV. It packs USB and remote playback via a home server, and supports background listening for audio tracks. It’s available to download from now the PlayStation Store.

What with the Vue push and the surprise release of a media player, Sony’s augmenting the PlayStation 4’s multimedia features in a big way. That may not have been how the company positioned the console at launch, but you can probably thank the gaming space’s ferocious competition for Sony’s pivot.

Product Review

Not even the promise of nostalgia can save the PlayStation Classic

The PS1 era was home to many great games that are worth revisiting. Unfortunately, the PlayStation Classic is a collectible that capitalizes on the cute mini aesthetic but falls short everywhere else.

Xbox One S vs. PlayStation 4 Slim: Which console is worth your money?

Microsoft's new Xbox One S and Sony's PlayStation 4 "Slim" have bucked the generational gaming console trend. But which of these stopgap systems is worth spending your paycheck on?
Home Theater

Cutting the cord? Let us help you find the best service for live TV streaming

There's a long list of live TV streaming services available to help you cut the cord and replace your traditional TV subscription. Each is different in important ways, and this guide will help you find the best one for you.

PS4 vs. Switch: After weighing the pros and cons, which one comes out on top?

Nintendo Switch versus PlayStation 4: Which one has better overall value? We break down the pros and cons of each platform to tell you which of these consoles is truly worth the money.

Check out the best Green Monday deals for those last-minute gifts

Black Friday and Cyber Monday have come and gone, but that doesn't mean you've missed your chance of finding a great deal. We're talking about Green Monday, of course, and it falls on December 10.

Itching to fight in an online match with friends in 'SSB Ultimate'? Here's how

You can play online against your friends in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, but it isn't quite as simple as you might expect from a multiplayer game in 2018. Here's how you can do so using the Battle Arena system.

Still trying to unlock your main in 'Super Smash Bros. Ultimate'? Try these tips

Super Smash Bros. Ultimate is Nintendo’s biggest entry in the series to date with over 70 characters to unlock, but the process can feel tiresome. Here are our tips to unlock your roster as quickly as possible.
Product Review

‘Super Smash Bros. Ultimate’ is an ode to gaming that lives up to its name

Super Smash Bros. Ultimate is a loving tribute to Nintendo and video game history. It’s a terrific multiplayer fighter that also has plenty for single-player fans to love this time around.

PlayStation Classic hacked in less than a week to play games via USB drive

Hackers have already managed to crack the PlayStation Classic, with programs now available to allow users to play additional original PlayStation games on the system via a USB drive.

‘Fortnite’ adds sword from ‘Infinity Blade,’ which disappears from App Store

Epic Games has added the Infinity Blade melee weapon to Fortnite just as it pulled all three games in the Infinity Blade trilogy from sale. The games are still available to download if you bought them.

How you can give your PS4 a fresh start with a factory reset

Learn the many ways you can factory reset your PS4. From reverting your settings to factory to doing a full wipe and reinstalling the latest PlayStation firmware, we cover it all here, step by step.

How to make a clan in ‘Destiny 2’ and where to go from there

Want to know how to make a clan in 'Destiny 2'? Here's everything you need to know, including how to design your clan's banner, earn extra loot, and help other players with guided games.

Put down the controller and pick up the best phones for gaming on the go

Which phones are the best if all you want to do is play some mobile games? We've done the hard work and put together a list of the best gaming phones on Android and iOS, so you can keep playing and winning.

Need help getting the Sleeper Simulant in 'Destiny 2'? We’ve got you covered

The Sleeper Simulant is one of the coolest new Exotic weapons you can unlock in the Warmind expansion of Destiny 2, but it's an involved process that will take awhile. Here's everything you need to know.