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Sony's PlayStation Vue live TV service cuts out cable, heads to iPad

Agam Shah | March 19, 2015
Service launches on Wednesday starting at US$49.99, but will only work on PlayStation consoles at first.

But there are some barriers that could limit the adoption of PS Vue. For one, a user needs to own a PlayStation, and the PS4 sells for a hefty $399. But Sony's target audience for now is current PlayStation owners, and the goal was to provide more entertainment options on the console, Myers said.

The service is also missing key cable channels like ESPN and HBO. ESPN is also a key offering of the Internet-based Sling TV streaming service offered by Dish, which for $20 also live-streams TV channels like AMC, TNT, Disney Channel and Cartoon Network.

PS Vue does, however, have the advantage of streaming local channels, which Sling doesn't.

Myers didn't specifically say whether ESPN or HBO would be added, but said Sony is talking to major content providers. The service will evolve over time, with more content added based on user feedback, Myers said.

The service is a work-in-progress, but PS Vue has an innovative tile-based user interface from which it is easy to navigate and find relevant channels. A "My Shows" section provides a watch list of favorite shows. Users can favorite TV shows, which are then added to the list.

A traditional search feature helps find specific shows. For those who aren't sure what to watch, it's possible to find shows based on category, ratings, subject matter, genre and channels. The search feature can filter content based on parameters selected.

There's also a listing of programs in the format of traditional TV guides. A vertical grid lists the channels and TV shows playing at a specific time, and Sony has made it easy to access past episodes through the grid.

The DualShock 4 wireless controller that ships by default with the PS4 acts as a remote control. The controller provides good directional navigation of the UI, but the buttons aren't labeled, which could be confusing for users new to PS Vue. Sony is working to bring some conventional TV remote controls to work with PS Vue, Myers said.

 

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