The Wall Street Journal reported that Sony Corp. plans to commercially launch its video streaming service, PlayStation Vue, in Chicago, New York and Philadelphia within the next two weeks. Entry into the video streaming service will be by invitation only, and more than a thousand residents in these three markets are expected to participate. PlayStation Vue is scheduled to go live across the nation by the end of the year.
Sony revealed its intent to launch a video streaming service back in November 2014. The invite-only service consists of around 75 channels per market and includes channels from CBS Corp., Discovery Communications, Fox Network Group, NBCUniversal, Scripps Networks Interactive and Viacom Inc. Additional content partners are expected to be revealed at a later date.
"PlayStation Vue reinvents the traditional viewing experience so your programming effortlessly finds you, enabling you to watch much more of what you want and search a lot less," said Andrew House, president of Sony Computer Entertainment. "PlayStation Vue brings the best of live TV and a robust catalog of the latest content, always keeping you connected to what's popular, new and trending."
During a recent interview, House said that the new streaming service will help redefine the PlayStation brand. He also admitted that the company is still in negotiations with other media partners, but he is confident that these talks are "moving forward positively." So far, Sony has yet to land a deal with ESPN parent company Walt Disney. However, he assured the press that PlayStation Vue will provide loads of sports entertainment even if ESPN never joins the lineup.
Currently, potential viewers can only watch PlayStation Vue on the PlayStation 4 and PlayStation 3. Console owners can take advantage of the service's "catch-up" feature that stores the viewer's favorite shows for three days without the need for recording. PlayStation Vue will also have on-demand content so that viewers can sit and relax with their favorite shows on their own time. Even more, TV shows can be recorded and stored in the cloud for 28 days.
News of the upcoming streaming service arrives after Sony launched PlayStation TV in late 2014. The set-top-box consists of a PlayStation Vita card slot, a memory card slot, one USB port and an HDMI output. The device also provides an Ethernet port for wired networking and Wi-Fi connectivity. Owners can stream games from the PlayStation 4 to their PlayStation TV unit, or play games that can be installed locally.
The device made its debut with a $99.99 price tag, but now it sells for $79.99 at Walmart, Target, Best Buy, Gamestop and Sony's online store.
PlayStation TV owners may see the video streaming service offered on their devices by the end of the year. If Sony wants to compete with other video streaming services, it will need to break away from the Sony consoles and be made available on tablets, smartphones, Roku set-top-boxes and so on. The Wall Street Journal reported that PlayStation Vue will also be made available on the iPad, so that should be good news for Apple customers wanting a cord-cutting solution.
With competitors like Netflix, Hulu Plus and Sling TV on the market, Sony has a long uphill battle to face. Cord cutting seems to be a growing trend, and it's one that Sony may have needed to enter back when the PlayStation 4 was launched.
So far, Sony hasn't released pricing for PlayStation Vue, but we expect the service to cost a bit more than Sling TV's $20 per month price tag.