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Sony plans to continue its quest to make PlayStation consoles your one-stop shop for all entertainment needs in 2015, last night unveiling a new cloud-based television service called PlayStation Vue.
The best way to think of PlayStation Vue is as a cable-like experience, but without the hassles of, you know, subscribing to a cable provider. More akin to something like Hulu, Vue will provide content that can be tuned to the viewer’s own schedule, but without the massive backlog of older shows.
I’ve been saying for years that cable television needs to evolve if it hopes to remain relevant, and Vue actually seems like a big step on the right direction. According to Sony’s official announcement, the objective of the service will be to remove “barriers between viewers and content.”
“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 and Group CEO of Sony Computer Entertainment Inc. and Group Executive in charge of the Network Entertainment Business. “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.”
The basic plan is actually a pretty simple one. For starters, Vue subscribers will have access to the three most recent days of content from its crop of providers. On top of that, any show you flag as a favorite will automatically save its episodes to the cloud with no storage restrictions. You’ll have access to those episodes for 28 days following their original air date.
So, you aren’t as free to watch whenever you want as with something like a DVR, but a month should be enough time to catch up on a few episodes of The Simpsons between rounds of Call of Duty. And if you don’t know what you’re in the mood for, having three days’ worth of content to flip through sounds like a decent distraction.
While a launch date of 2015 is about as nailed down as we’ve gotten so far, Sony announced that the plan is to include around 75 channels per market when Vue arrives. This will include local stations for regular programming and sports, as well as offerings from various premium channels. If my understanding is correct, each channel’s live feed is also part of the package, though it’s unclear if it is included in the “three most recent days” lineup. Either way, that means you don’t have to wait until Tuesday to watch Monday night’s football game.
While Sony says it’s still in talks with various content providers, participating broadcast conglomerates so far include CBS, Discovery Communications, Fox, NBCUniversal, Scripps ?Network Interactive and Viacom. Those include channels like FX, Nickelodeon, MTV, Fox Sports, Food Network, Syfy, CNBC, etc.
So far, no pricing model has been announced, but the announcement states that there will be no contract or extra equipment needed, as the PS3 and PS4 will be the service’s initial homes. A beta is set to begin this month for select individuals.
We’ll keep you posted as more information rolls in, so fingers crossed that we hear more during the upcoming PlayStation Experience event.