PlayStation Vue Review 2019 – A Total Package With A Few Downsides

0
8
Our Rating Excellent
PlayStation Vue PROS
  • Large channel packages
  • Great for sports
  • Excellent for sharing
  • Highly-rated interface and streaming
  • Large number of available apps
PlayStation Vue CONS
  • Can be pricey
  • Limited cloud DVR
  • Some device limitations

PlayStation Vue streams live TV to more devices besides the PlayStation. If this cable replacement system isn’t just for gamers, would it make sense for you? Check out our PlayStation Vue review to see what Sony has to offer to cord-cutters.

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What is PlayStation Vue?

PlayStation Vue redefines TV
Source: PlayStation Vue

Sony launched its internet TV service not too long after Sling TV in 2015. Where Sling TV went nationwide from the beginning, PlayStation Vue slowly rolled out city by city. Sony’s executives also decided in those early years to make PlayStation Vue exclusive to the company’s game console.

By early 2016, Sony changed those policies but not before PlayStation Vue’s growth stalled. Now, PlayStation Vue continues to struggle as new competitors hit the market, including YouTube TV and Hulu with Live TV.

However, the American Customer Satisfaction Index (ASCI) found that PlayStation Vue’s customers were the most satisfied among live TV streaming services. Many point to the excellent user interface as a key reason, although PlayStation Vue also offers a large number of desirable features and channels for the price. As well, it’s priced competitively compared to Hulu, DirecTV Now, fuboTV, and YouTube TV.

Today, anyone in the United States can subscribe to PlayStation Vue. Sony does apply geo-fencing that limits what you can watch based on your location.

PlayStation Vue 60-Second Review

Offering between 45 to 90+ channels through 4 different streaming packages, PlayStation Vue’s tiered approach is more similar to what you’ll find with DirecTV Now. The only difference? PlayStation Vue is distinctly cheaper than DirecTV Now on the lower end, with more to offer in terms of features.

You’ll find PlayStation Vue is limited mostly the cost. Coming in at $44.99 per month on the low end, potential subscribers will likely find themselves stuck choosing between PlayStation Vue and the equally-priced Hulu with Live TV. PlayStation Vue offers a notable advantage, however, as the service’s interface is far easier to use, and offers more simultaneous streams per account than any of its competitors.

PlayStation Vue Pros and Cons

Considering signing up for PlayStation Vue? The service offers a hefty amount of good, with some distinct disadvantages.

Pros

  • Large channel packages. You can get up to 90+ channels through PlayStation Vue on the high end. Even with the introductory package, you’ll still receive a healthy package of popular networks.
  • Great for sports. PlayStation Vue offers a large number of sports channels and importantly, regional sports networks.
  • Excellent for sharing. This service offers 5 simultaneous streams per account, and lets you create 10 separate user profiles. Each profile also gets its own DVR storage.
  • Highly-rated interface and streaming. PlayStation Vue consistently ranks the highest among customer satisfaction, far outpacing other services on the market.
  • Large number of available apps. Despite the name, PlayStation Vue can be used on a large number of devices.

Cons

  • Can be pricey. Compared to services like Philo or Sling TV, PlayStation Vue is a bit pricey. And compared to Hulu with Live TV, the number of channels available for the cost is a bit low.
  • Limited cloud DVR. PlayStation Vue only offers a 28-day cloud DVR. That’s less than most services on the market.
  • Some device limitations. Although PlayStation Vue is available on a large number of devices, it doesn’t offer apps for competing consoles.

PlayStation Vue Channels, Plans and Pricing

PlayStation Vue offers a 5-day free trial for any of its 4 channel packages:

Each package also comes with a 28-day cloud DVR and the option to stream on 5 devices at the once. You can’t enhance any of these features, even for an added fee. However, you can add on additional channels packages.

PlayStation Vue offers up to 90+ channels, with each channel package adding on channels. In this manner, PlayStation Vue doesn’t mix and match channels, like Sling TV. Instead, each package gives a large selection of all the channels PlayStation Vue has to offer.

PlayStation Vue Access Channels

PlayStation Vue Access is $49.99 per month and comes with the following channels:

  • ABC (or ABC On Demand)
  • AMC
  • Animal Planet
  • BBC America
  • Bravo
  • Cartoon Network
  • CBS (or CBS On Demand)
  • CNBC
  • CNN
  • Decades
  • Destination America
  • Discovery
  • Disney Channel
  • Disney Junior
  • Disney XD
  • E!
  • ESPN
  • ESPN2
  • Food Network
  • Fox (or Fox On Demand)
  • Fox Business
  • Fox News
  • Freeform
  • FS1
  • FS2
  • FX
  • FXX
  • HGTV
  • HLN
  • ID
  • MSNBC
  • National Geographic
  • NBC (or NBC On Demand)
  • NBCSN
  • Own
  • Oxygen
  • Pop
  • Science
  • Syfy
  • TBS
  • Telemundo
  • TLC
  • TNT
  • Travel
  • TruTV
  • USA
  • WE

PlayStation Vue Core Channels

For $54.99 per month, the Core package offers all of the channels you’ll find in the Access package, as well as the following:

  • BTN
  • CBS Sports
  • Comet
  • Cooking Channel
  • DIY
  • ESPN College Extra
  • ESPNU
  • Golf Channel
  • IFC
  • Law and Crime
  • MLB Network
  • National Geographic WILD
  • NBA TV
  • NBC Sports Regional Sports Network (varies by location)
  • NFL Network
  • Olympic Channel
  • POP
  • SEC Network
  • Smithsonian Channel
  • Sundance TV
  • Tastemade
  • Turner Classic Movie

PlayStation Vue Elite Package

The $64.99 per month Elite package offers everything you’ll find in Access and Core, as well as the following:

  • American Heroes Channels
  • Baby TV
  • BBC World News
  • Boomerang
  • Cheddar News
  • CNBC World News
  • Discovery Family
  • Discovery Life
  • EPIX Hits
  • ESPN Deportes
  • Fox Deportes
  • Fusion
  • FXM
  • GiNX eSports TV
  • Hallmark Drama
  • Hallmark Movies & Mysteries
  • MotorTrend
  • Sony Movie Channel
  • Stadium
  • Tennis Channel
  • Universal Kids

PlayStation Vue Ultra Package

The $84.99 per month Ultra package offers everything you’ll find in the Access, Core, and Elite packages, as well as subscriptions to SHOWTIME and HBO.

PlayStation Vue Local Channels

Most live TV streaming services offer a selection of local channels that vary by location. PlayStation Vue provides ABC, CBS, FOX, NBC, the CW in different locations. In cities where ABC, NBC and FOX and not available, you’ll get an “On-Demand” version of the channel instead, which offers nationally-available broadcasts of those networks’ content after it airs.

playstation vue review 2019 local channels
Source: PlayStation

PlayStation Vue also offers FOX regional sports networks in most cities. A select few cities, however, will not get a regional version of Fox Sports but instead will get a national live feed with blackouts for regional broadcasts.

You can check which local broadcast networks are available to you through PlayStation Vue by going to the sign-up page. If your browser has location services activated, PlayStation Vue will show you your current package. Otherwise, you can change the zip code (on the right side of the page) to investigate the package for different cities.

PlayStation Vue Stream Quality

PlayStation Vue home screen
Source: PlayStation

When using a browser, PlayStation Vue’s video player has controls for skipping ten seconds forward and backward and rewinding to the beginning of a program. Those controls may or may not work depending on what you watch. You can toggle the video quality between automatic, high definition and standard definition. Other controls let you minimize and maximize the video player.

The Apple TV app, on the other hand, has none of those controls. If the channel allows rewind and fast-forward, you use the remote control to scrub back and forth.

Watching PlayStation Vue
Source: PlayStation Vue

While PlayStation Vue’s streaming performance was usually pretty good, I ran into some recurring glitches. At times a live video stream would freeze and lock up the app. This happened on the Apple TV, which uses an Ethernet connection, and on my laptop over a Wi-Fi connection. Turning it off and turning it on again fixed the problem.

Also, note that PlayStation Vue defines three zones that determine what you can stream. Devices on your home network have access to everything. If you’re at work or a friend’s place, you lose access to CBS’ on-demand content and live streams from the NHL channel. If you leave town, you lose access to the broadcast networks ABC, CBS, Fox and NBC. You also lose access to regional sports networks.

PlayStation Vue Device Support

Connected TV devices that work with PlayStation Vue
Source: PlayStation Vue

PlayStation Vue started releasing apps on devices other than Sony’s game consoles within a year of its original launch. Supported streaming boxes include the Apple TV, Roku, Google Chromecast and the official version of Android TV. You can find PlayStation Vue mobile apps for Amazon’s Fire TV, Android and iOS.

The entire list of support devices includes:

  • TV streaming media players: Apple TV (4th gen and up), Android TV (all gens), Amazon Fire TV and Fire TV Stick (all gens), Chromecast (1st gen and up) and Roku (firmware 8.0 and up)
  • Smart TVs: Amazon Fire TV (all gens), Android TV (all gens) and Roku (firmware 8.0 and up).
  • Mobile devices and tablets: Android OS 5.0 and up, iOS 9 and up, and Amazon Fire HD6 tablets and up
  • Game consoles: PlayStation 3 and PlayStation 4
  • Desktop browsers: Chrome, Firefox, Safari and Microsoft Edge are recommended (most recent versions will work)

PlayStation Vue on Roku

You can stream PlayStation Vue on any Roku streaming TV or Roku TV updated to firmware 7.7 and up. The PlayStation app is available through the Roku Channels Store and has a 3.7 out of 5 rating.

PlayStation Vue on Fire TV Stick

You can use PlayStation Vue on all generations of Amazon’s Fire TV Stick devices and other Fire TV devices. The app has a 3.4 out of 5 rating on Amazon’s app store. Most negative reviews complain about the price of the service, or a belief that the service requires a PlayStation to work (it doesn’t).

PlayStation Vue on Apple TV

You download the PlayStation Vue app on Apple TV 4th Generation devices or newer. Each device must be updated to version 11.0 or newer, as well. The app is well rated with a 4.4 out of 5 rating.

PlayStation Vue on iPhones and iPads

The PlayStation Vue app can be downloaded on iPhones and iPads running iOS 9 or higher. The app is particularly well received among Apple users, with a 4.4 out of 5 rating on iTunes. Some negative reviews note issues with casting to Chromecast, but most very negative reviews are old and don’t refer specifically to issues with the app’s functionality and layout.

PlayStation Vue on Android Phones and Tablets

You can use PlayStation Vue on any Android phone or tablet running Android 5.0 or higher. The Google Play Store lists the PlayStation App with a 3.5 out of 5 rating. Negative reviews are mixed, with many pointing to a recent updating making the Android app crash, freeze, and not work for other reasons.

PlayStation Vue On-Demand Library

Thanks to the channels it offers, PlayStation Vue has a wide selection of on-demand content available at any given time. It’s hard to determine the exact number of on-demand TV show episodes and movies the service offers. And unlike other services, PlayStation Vue does not advertise its on-demand library size.

However, each channel that’s available through the service offers some content on-demand, including past seasons of TV shows, current season episodes, and recently aired episodes. You’ll also find movies from channels such as Turner Classic Movies and the Sony Movie Channel.

Fining recorded programs on PlayStation Vue
Source: PlayStation Vue

The Catch-Up feature keeps episodes in the PlayStation Vue library for three days after they air. After those three days, a network may keep the episodes in place as on-demand video or remove the video from Sony’s library entirely.

You can easily find on-demand shows through PlayStation Vue by using the “Search” function, go to the individual channel pages through “Channels”, or by going to “My Shows” to view on-demand episodes from shows you’ve favorited.

Each network sets policies for how and when you can fast forward through a show or its commercials. You have to watch every ad break during Catch-Up and on-demand videos. On the other hand, you can fast forward through most recorded programs.

Sony’s deal with Fox, however, prevents fast forwarding during any program on Fox, FX or FXX.

PlayStation Vue DVR

PlayStation Vue offers a 28-day cloud DVR to all subscribers. You can record as much as you want without within the timed expiration on your videos. This cannot be expanded with an add-on to the subscription. You can also create 10 user profiles with each PlayStation Vue account, and each profile user gets his or her own cloud DVR storage.

You can’t record specific episodes through PlayStation Vue. Adding a TV series to My Shows tells PlayStation Vue to record every episode as it airs.

Home screen of PlayStation Vue

The easiest way to find your recorded programs is to go to My Stuff and select the TV series. You’ll find all of the available programs listed together whether live, on-demand or recorded.

Some streaming services automatically replace a recorded episode with the on-demand version. PlayStation Vue only does this if the network insists on it.

PlayStation Vue Customer Support

Getting support through PlayStation extremely limited. There is no live chat support available on the website, and no email support. Instead, PlayStation emphasizes its rather large collection of help center articles, some YouTube videos, a community forum, and Twitter.

To its credit, PlayStation Vue’s help center has a large amount of information and numerous articles. You can even find information on error codes.

Playstation vue review 2019 error codes
Source: PlayStation

If you want fast, direct customer service from Sony’s customer service, you’ll be a bit out of luck. You can send messages to the  Ask PlayStation Twitter support, but you’ll have a hard time getting a fast or effective response. The Ask PlayStation page is designed for questions covering every PlayStation property, including PSN, PlayStation consoles, and more, and is not dedicated for just PlayStation Vue customers.

All told, PlayStation Vue’s support is more than a bit lackluster for those who want to speak to a real person.

How to Cancel PlayStation Vue

It’s easy to cancel your PlayStation Vue account. To cancel PlayStation Vue, do the following:

  • Open your account on PlayStation’s website and click on your name on the top right
  • Click on “Settings”
  • Select “Manage Subscription”
  • Select “Cancel Subscription” and then “Proceed”

You can log back into your PlayStation Vue account to reactivate it at any time.

PlayStation Vue Refund Policy

You cannot get a refund after signing up to PlayStation Vue. If you cancel your account, you will be able to use the service for the remainder of the paid-for month. You’ll find this is true with every other live TV streaming service.

Final Comments

PlayStation Vue was the second streaming TV service to reach the market and its age shows in how well it’s serving its subscribers. Its customer satisfaction ratings continue to surpass that of other streaming services on the market, and the service continues to keep its prices at a reasonable level.

The service offers many advantages in its channel listings and features, but it’s still on the pricier end for cord-cutters looking to spend as little as possible. Its newer competitors, like Philo and Hulu with Live TV appear to provide more for the price, but don’t come with the kind of pedigree and that PlayStation Vue currently offers.

Tech, video games, and a good book. I love all of them, and I'd write about all of them if I had the chance! I've been a teacher in the past, now a writer for tech-related news, guides, and information.
PlayStation Vue 2019 Review
Final Verdict

PlayStation Vue offers almost everything you need to replace the cable experience: lots of channels, family-friendly features and competitive pricing. Sometimes glitchy streaming marred an otherwise great experience.

8
Our Rating Excellent