After trying a combination of cable, satellite, and streaming apps to access my favorite shows and sports teams (Let’s go Sharks!), it seemed hopeless to find a service that fit my specific needs. The media market is getting out of hand, even for those who have “cut the cord”. Every network seems to have a specific service to subscribe to, just to view one or two of their exclusive shows that might be deemed a must watch by society. That is where PS Vue came into play.
I have known about PlayStation Vue for some time now, but I never gave it much thought. However, a friend living in another state brought the service up while we were gaming on Xbox One. (Oh, the irony) The main take away was that I could watch my favorite hockey team, which I can’t even do in my current city, within the same state. It had been quite frustrating at times. I ended up giving PS Vue a try, mainly because it had a week trial and no contract obligations. It has been about 4 months now that I have had the service and the overall experience has been satisfying.
I chose the Core package, out of 4 priced tiers, which is the 2nd cheapest option. It was $49.99/ month for most network channels and sports. The sports consisted of channels from NFL Network, NBC Sports, Fox Sports, and others. Much more than was necessary for me, but it’s a nice variety of different sports and teams for most types of fans. Living out of the market coverage of my favorite hockey team, this package was ideal for me to get access to their games with NBC Sports and also enjoy the television programs that I must see.
Below is a screenshot of the package options available from the Playstation website.
The higher priced tiers, which go up to $80/ month, include the big movie channels like HBO and Showtime. I personally did not care about the option for movies, but I can see the value for people who like watching movies frequently. I believe that some of these movie channels are even available individually and do not necessarily need a package plan to access.
Below is a screenshot of all channels provided within the top tiered “Ultra” package. NOTE: The lower tier packages will have less channels than shown in screenshot.
As far as variety, PS Vue covers a wide range of channels in its service. However, one aspect that disappointed me, was that the free to air channels like ABC, FOX, NBC, etc. were not included, so I had to use an antenna separately. It was more of an annoyance than a real problem, but for convenience’s sake, I feel it is worth mentioning. I will note, though, that those channels are included in PS Vue, depending on the area that you live in. I am not aware specifically where, but other users have stated getting these channels within their experiences. Aside from that, as the above screenshot shows, PS Vue has a lot of selections for whatever type of programming you may like.
One aspect of PS Vue that I feel stands out over other services is the combination of streaming options with in the programming. Netflix is limited to the On Demand format and Hulu does provide Live viewing, but PS Vue goes a step further. I believe it depends on the shows and channels, but viewers can choose between watching shows “On Demand”, which will most likely include ads, recording on to the PS Vue cloud DVR, which will allow for fast forwarding through commercials, a must have for me. Because it’s 2019, who the heck has time for commercials!? Finally, for those who are crazy enough to watch live, PS Vue provides exactly that. You can watch the channels live as they would be with a cable provider. Warning: You will be stuck with the commercials!
As much as I have enjoyed the service, I do have a couple quality of life changes that I feel could be improved. The guide to search for programming, at first glance, seems straight forward and basic, but it feels clustered and discouraging to scroll through, in my experience. I would like to see some tweaks and visual organizing done to it. Other than that, it gets the job done. The bigger critique I have is when you sign into the service, it will automatically load onto the live channel of whatever show you last watched, instead of being ready to go on the next episode of that show. Even if I am watching something On Demand, it still directs me to the channel. I find that odd and I would really like to see this changed. At the very least, give me an option in the settings to customize this load up feature. I’m sure this is my own personal pet peeve and it most likely doesn’t bother others, but it really annoyed me.
In regards to stream quality, I have had a completely satisfying experience with the service. Of course, everyones internet connections and provider qualities will be dependent on a variety of things. That said, I have used the service on my Amazon Fire Stick, Playstation 4, Playstation 4 Pro, and even my older Playstation 3 Slim. The PS3 had slight hick ups, but I think it was more related to the console itself, not so much the app. Majority of my uses had strong streaming signals with no noticeable lagging or buffering. The video quality was clear and met my expectations to enjoy the programming I watch. I will note that I have no real knowledge of the technical side of streaming qualities and can not comment on whether or not the numbers match with in the standardized range.
Overall, PS Vue is a great alternative to cable. With a great video stream quality and performance, it has a strong foundation with some innovative ideas with in it. I would like to see some improvements, but that goes with all service technology. As viewers use the service, Sony will learn what to improve and updates will surely help its quality of life. Starting at $44.99/month, this service is a relatively affordable route to take for anyone looking to cut the cord. Of course, this is really based on the viewer and what they are looking for. I suggest comparing what you want to what is available in each package. PS Vue is at least worth checking out for anyone wanting to scale back their bill, especially with the consistent free trials frequently available.
Note: I have no affiliation with Sony or the PS Vue service. I am simply a consumer who decided to do a review on the service.