The 2016 guide to PlayStation Vue, the best live TV streaming service
A lot has changed since PlayStation Vue first rolled out in March 2015. The cable-alternative/live TV streaming service is available on more devices than just a Playstation 4 or Playstation 3. It offers standalone packages for channels like Epix Hits and Showtime. And perhaps more importantly, PlayStation Vue is a lot less expensive than it used to be.
We reviewed 30 large to medium-sized cities around the U.S. and found that in most places, the entry level plan for a PlayStation Vue is $30. The Access Slim plan, which is described as the 55+ channel plan, actually has closer to 60 channels now that Sony has been adding local ABC, CBS and NBC affiliates to their lineup.
Prices do vary on the Access, Slim and Elite channel bundles depending on where you live, but we have you covered. Click on our interactive map to give you a better idea of how much PlayStation Vue would cost you.
If you can negotiate for a reasonably priced broadband connection by properly leveraging your position as a faithful customer, you may want the full boat and get 100 channels that PlayStation Vue offers with its Elite plan, which costs $45 in most cities. If you want to know more about negotiating a decent price for broadband, see our take on how to get one.
What is PlayStation Vue?
Sony began streaming live television over the web as a way to challenge much larger, traditional cable providers such as Comcast and the new Charter Spectrum. Almost any streaming device (like a Roku or Amazon Fire TV) works with Vue. You can sign up for a 7-day free trial online.
Before we go any further, don’t get confused. Sony also markets a mini game console called PlayStation TV, which has nothing to do with PlayStation Vue. Sony probably should have called their service “Sony TV Live” or “Sony Live TV” instead to avoid the confusion.
PlayStation Vue has been rolling out local channels in recent weeks, bypassing the need to exit their service and use an antenna. Local ABC, CBS, Fox and NBC stations are being added at no extra cost. Those expansions will likely continue as more companies like Hulu and YouTube prepare to enter the live streaming market in 2017. Sling TV and DirecTV Now are PS Vue’s two main competitors. Our definitive guide comparing Sling TV vs PlayStation Vue can fill you in on how the two platforms stack up against each other.
How much is PlayStation Vue really going to cost? Aren’t there hidden fees like with cable?
Nope. There are no hidden fees, or contracts like your traditional cable company. If you don’t like the service, you can cancel it and go with something else. Sony has a free 7-day trial, but you will want to make sure you have the right equipment to stream PlayStation Vue first before you sign on.
|55+ channels, including live cable TV, movies and sports channels.||70+ channels, including all the channels from Access with the addition of live national and regional sports networks.||100+ channels, featuring all the channels from Core with the addition of top movie and entertainment channels.||HBO and Showtime, plus all 100+ channels from Elite.|
|$29.99 per month, $39.99 in cities with most major live local broadcast stations.||$34.99 per month, $44.99 in cities with most major live local broadcast stations.||$44.99 per month, $54.99 in cities with most major live local broadcast stations.||$64.99 per month, $74.99 in cities with most major live local broadcast stations.|
Adding HBO, Showtime and Cinemax on PlayStation Vue
A lot of cord cutters get their HBO viewing with the on-demand style app HBO Now for $15 per month. If you’re a PlayStation Vue subscriber, you can get an actual live feed for HBO at the same price. You will also get to add HBO Now on all your supported devices at no extra charge. That’s a bonus feature you won’t get on any other streaming service. HBO Now is available on PlayStation 4 and PS3. Cinemax is also being offered for $15 per month as a live channel as well.
PlayStation is offering a new top-tier subscription plan called Ultra, which includes HBO, Showtime and 100 plus channels. Those are the same channels in the Elite package. Ultra’s price ranges between $64.99 and $74.99. New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Philadelphia, Dallas, San Francisco and Miami will have the higher price for Ultra.
What devices can stream PlayStation Vue?
You don’t need a PlayStation game console to get PlayStation Vue. You can use an Amazon Fire TV, an Amazon Streaming Stick, a Roku device and a Google Chromecast via the Android app. Sony announced on Oct. 27 that Android TV devices also have PlayStation Vue apps. So devices like a NVIDIA Shield TV and a Mi Box will now also work. You can stream PlayStation Vue to a PC or Mac as well when you’re not near a TV.
We recommend an Amazon Fire TV for streaming PlayStation Vue. The Fire TV has the best interface and has on-demand functions not found on the Roku and Android app.
The Android TV app for PlayStation Vue is great. Its user interface on NVIDIA SHIELD TV is practically the same as Fire TV. The remote controls for the two streamers are remarkably similar as well. You can use the circular-shaped button on either remote to peruse the Guide, Search and Explore features and delve into hundreds of shows and movies.
I put SHIELD TV as a close second to Amazon Fire TV only because it costs twice as much. But if you’re looking for a gaming console, and are interested in voice control/smart home features of NVIDIA SPOT, then the extra money is well worth it.
Roku devices and the Android app for Chromecast lack the on-demand feature that are on Amazon Fire and Android TV devices. But the Android app performed very well with Chromecast. It also gave a slick live TV feed while watching PlayStation Vue channels on a Samsung Galaxy S5.
Best Media Streamers for PlayStation Vue
Ultra 4K resolution
Vue on demand
No voice remote
4K auto upscale
Android TV gaming
Ultra 4K resolution
Vue on demand
Android TV gaming
4K HDR10 resolution
No Vue on-demand
Sony recommends having a 10 Mbps Internet connection (about half that will be used per stream), so if possible you may want an Internet connection slightly higher.
How do I watch PS Vue on a PlayStation?
If you’re using a PlayStation 3 or PlayStation 4 and want a more traditional remote, check out our quick guide on how to pair your TV remote with your game console.
Is there a way to “record” my favorite shows?
Sure, Sony has what they call their cloud-DVR feature, which allows viewers to save a limitless number of shows. And you can fast forward through commercials. Find a show you want on PlayStation Vue, and move up to the plus sign and press the enter key to add it to the My Shows menu. That’s it. Your shows will remain in the cloud for 28 days. If you don’t carve out time to watch it by then, let’s face it, you were never going to.
How many simultaneous streams can I have on PlayStation Vue?
The streaming limit is up to five devices at a time, but there are caveats. You can only have one game console streaming at a time (e.g. A PlayStation 3 streaming in one room and an Amazon Fire TV in another is fine.) A PlayStation 4 streaming in one room and a PlayStation 3 in another is also fine too.
The best way to search for on-demand movies & upcoming movies on PlayStation Vue
There are three search functions on the upper left hand corner. We recommend using the EXPLORE function to look over the thousands of movies available on PlayStation Vue.
This function is especially useful if you subscribe to a channel like Epix Hits, which has hundreds of movies on demand. Once you scroll up to the top of the screen and once to the right for the EXPLORE option, scroll right to select CHANNELS then scroll down to alphabetical menu to select Epix Hits. A menu of all the available movies then appears. You can also tailor the results by popularity and expiry date by using the SORT function in the upper right hand corner. On other channels like AMC, use these steps to see what’s on demand and upcoming movies that you can record and store for later viewing in the My Shows queue.
Is PlayStation Vue worth it?
Everybody has a different litmus test for what they want to get out of television. When PlayStation Vue first came on the market, it wasn’t a great deal. That was especially true in larger cities like Los Angeles where an entry-level plan was $50 a month. Now that viewers can sign up for as little as $30 a month in most markets, even giving them access to local channels and DVR capabilities. Playstation Vue is well worth its value as a leading cable alternative. If you live in a larger metropolitan area like New York or San Francisco, you will still pay more, but the pricing plans are $10 lower from what they were last year. Check our map above for prices in your region of the U.S.
How do I sign up for PlayStation Vue?
Go to the PlayStation web site, and click on the button for the 7-day trial. Remember that you will need a Roku , an Amazon Fire TV or an Amazon Fire Stick for the full experience if you don’t own a game console.