The move away from pricey, bundled cable TV just got another supporter.
Sony debuted its Vue live-TV streaming service for PlayStation on Thursday, starting at 50 channels for $50 per month. Though it has only launched in New York, Philadelphia, and Chicago, the move put Vue at the helm of tech companies set to replace traditional cable with smaller, cheaper, Internet-supported streaming television.
The service will offer a diverse array of traditional cable channels, such as Animal Planet, the Food Network, and Comedy Central, as well as network mainstays CBS, Fox, and NBC. If users want extra channels, there are two other options that go up to 85 channels for $70 per month. This will be available on any PS3 or PS4.
ABC, and all Disney-owned cable channels, including ESPN, are noticeably missing from the line up. The two companies do not yet have a deal set in place.
Sony notes that more channels are signing on, however. AMC, home of mega-hits such as "Mad Men" and "The Walking Dead," is set to join Vue next month.
Opening Vue is just like turning on a TV set, but on your PlayStation console. Initially, it will play live TV, but you can scroll to a menu bar that shows what is playing next. There is an option to save channels and shows as favorites, and watch shows later. Vue also saves popular programs for three days, so you don’t necessarily have to save a show to watch it after it airs, similar to on-demand.
This news comes in the wake of a growing movement away from vast and pricey cable bundles, especially as hardware becomes increasingly ubiquitous and streaming services grow in popularity. Dish recently announced Sling TV, an app-based service that offered 12 cable channels for just $20 per month – no cable subscription required. HBO recently made news for announcing HBO Now, a standalone streaming service that will launch exclusively on Apple TV.
Does this signal the beginning of the end for traditional cable companies? Perhaps not yet. The downsides to cheaper streaming services is that you often have to give up certain channels for the price, such as the ABC issue with Vue. Plus, in many areas of the US, customers still need to pay a cable company for Internet access.
But with more options popping up, the tide is certainly turning away from traditional cable TV.