One of the new initiatives that Sony employed to help bridge the gap between the PlayStation brand being a gaming hub and an entertainment hub was the PlayStation Vue service. It's a television service that cuts out the cable company. Recently Sony has announced that the service is getting a price reduction and some new channels.
Shacknews is reporting that PlayStation Vue has now introduced a brand new subscription tier for users so they can pick and choose what best suits them at a flexible price range, while also reducing the overall cost of the subscription fees by $10. They also added several ESPN and Disney packages in each tier.
Basic Access contains 60 channels that range from standard broadcast and network television stations, along with limited cable and movie stations for $39.99 a month. That's pretty much the equivalent of what you pay for the basic Comcast television cable fees.
The next step up is a bit more healthy in its offerings, it's called the Core tier and it features more than 75 channels with the addition of regional sports networks at $44.99. This is closer to the standard Comcast pricing model but still slightly cheaper and actually offers you more channels and options, including new Disney and ESPN channels. On the Disney side that includes Disney XD, Disney Junior and ABC to name a few. And for ESPN that includes ESPN 2, EPSNU and SEC Network.
The last subscription model is called Elite and it features more than 100 channels, including access to Epix Hits, the Machinima channel, and all the previous channels and content from the Access and Core payment plans. Of course, the Elite plan will cost you and despite coming down from the $64.99 price point it's still $54.99 a month to access the content.
Now on a pure television/cable basis the PlayStation Vue definitely offers users a better deal than what they would get with other cable providers. However, most people still have to sign up with cable providers to access the internet. So in a way PlayStation Vue isn't really replacing anything so much as it is offering some options on top of what most people are already paying. Of course, some people might be lucky enough to live in an area where they can get cable internet and TV separately, at which point only paying for the internet and then getting PlayStation Vue for the cable TV part would be smart, but if you still have the cable tv and internet bundled together, the PlayStation Vue just looks like an extra expense on top of it all.
This kind of initiative isn't the first from Sony to break into the set top box game or to topple the standard cable TV monolith. They tried before with PlayStation TV but it just didn't quite take off. The device was supposed to be able to bridge the home media content between the TV, PS Vita and PS4 together, but it didn't quite work out so well, causing Sony to shutter production on the device.
With the PlayStation Vue they've managed to keep it going slightly longer than some expected, but it's still facing stiff competition against services like Netflix, Hulu, Amazon's digital TV and movie catalog, and the old guards of network broadcast TV and standard subscription-based cable.
Maybe with the price reduction and low-to-high pricing tiers Sony will hit a stride with the PlayStation Vue service this time around?