Sony Adds A La Carte TV to Playstation Vue
This year's E3 expo has turned out to be an exciting event for gamers around the world. The video game event has given fans of every console and video game company something exciting to look forward to in the upcoming year. Sony's E3 event was especially noteworthy this year. Not only did the entertainment juggernaut announce exciting new games and a remake of a beloved classic, but they also announced Playstation Vue.
Playstation Vue is a unique service that can provide users with a customized entertainment experience. In essence, Vue is a television service, much like cable or satellite. However, Playstation Vue is an entirely cloud-based service that streams live channels through high-speed Internet. The thing that sets it apart from normal cable and satellite services is that it is the first customizable service available. Users will be able to pay for the channels that they watch and nothing more. Cable and satellite customers have been asking for this type of service for years. Sony is planning on paving the way by providing users with the chance to create their own television bundles.
Originally unveiled in March of 2015, Playstation Vue has only been available to a handful of cities around the country. The entertainment company plans on expanding to the rest of the country within the coming months. Prior to their E3 announcement, the service was available in major market cities like Chicago, New York City, and Philadelphia. At the time, Sony only offered 3 plans that contained a bundle of channels that varied based on location. Their Access, Core, and Elite plans bundled popular channels like Fox, MTV, TNT, and much more. The plans ranged from $49.99 to $69.99.
The current pricing structure is comparable to standard cable prices. However, their recent announcement of the a la carte pricing structure will change everything by giving users the opportunity to spend money on channels they actively watch. This gives Sony a competitive edge on other streaming cable services, such as Sling TV. Instead of settling for a bundle that contains only a few channels they enjoy, users can pick and choose their favorites and pay what they want. This includes premium channels that are usually only available on more expensive bundles. Furthermore, there will be no other requirements. Users won't have to have a minimum channel count or an additional bundle. They'll simply pay for what they want.
During their Vue presentation, Sony announced that the service would be available to residents of Los Angeles and San Francisco that same night. A nationwide launch is planned for the near future. The service will start small with only a few channels that users can buy individually. This includes Showtime, Fox Soccer Plus, and Machinima. Despite its meager beginnings, Sony plans on increasing the number of individual channel options in the future. The entertainment company currently offers 85 channels on their highest bundle. It has yet to be determined if all of these 85 channels can eventually be purchased separately. Sony will have to work with individual networks and providers to expand their a la carte list.
Channel offerings on Playstation Vue vary dramatically in price. Their most affordable channel is Machinima, costing a mere $3.99 per month. The new Machinima channel is an exclusive entertainment channel that will focus on gaming, much like the network's content currently online. Sony is also offering Showtime straight out the gate with a price of $10.99 per month. The premium channel is the home to a slew of popular original shows and movies. The last channel offered at launch is FOX Soccer plus, which airs soccer and rugby matches around the clock for a price of $14.99 per month.
Sony is also offering a discount for members of Playstation Plus. The paid membership gives users access to a number of premium features on Sony's gaming platforms. With this paid membership, users can get a $2 discount on every channel they subscribe to on Playstation Vue.
With the announcement of Playstation Vue, Sony is setting a precedent that could change the world of network entertainment. They are the first to offer individual channel subscriptions. Many other entertainment companies have been rumored to be working on this type of service. However, Sony is the first to make it readily available to the US market. Despite its limited channel offerings at launch, Sony is certainly headed in the right direction. With further expansion of their library of individual channels, Playstation Vue could possibly make the standard cable and satellite subscription service we know today obsolete.