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Sony announced today that it will start tests of a new subscription TV service called PlayStation Vue this month.
For now, Sony is testing the service in New York City. Consumers will be able to get the Vue service online through their PlayStation 4 and PS3 consoles. By early next year, Sony says, it hopes to expand the offering to Philadelphia, Chicago, and Los Angeles.
In a press release, Sony described Vue as a blend of local broadcast channels, on-demand programs, and content recorded on DVRs. So far, the company has an impressive list of 75 channels from six partners, including some you’ve actually heard of: CBS, Discovery Communications, Fox, NBCUniversal, Scripps Networks Interactive, and Viacom.
All of this begs the question: Don’t we all need another online streaming service like we need a collective hole in our heads?
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To which Sony says: Yes.
“Everyday TV is about to become extraordinary with our new cloud-based TV service, PlayStation Vue,” said Andrew House, president and group chief executive of Sony Computer Entertainment. “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.”
Sony is betting that the combination of its broadcast and cable programming partners and a superior user interface will make finding and watching your favorite programs easier. And unlike Hulu, which in some cases only keeps the five most recent shows for viewing, Vue will let users store episodes of shows they like via its cloud-based DVR feature. Oh, and there will be a tablet app.
One notable missing element from the announcement is price. Sony says it will introduce a competitive pricing plan when the service launches commercially. But Sony also promised that Vue is “changing the rules for how people pay for subscription TV.”
So, if Sony sees this as a Netflix and Hulu competitor, prices would need to be under $10 per month. But if it sees this as a competitor to your cable company, then the costs could be much higher and still be less than cable.
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