PlayStation Vue, Sony’s streaming cable channel service just scored a decisive victory in its battle with Microsoft’s Xbox One and other set-top boxes. Disney says that every Disney and ESPN offering it makes available to cable subscribers will be available to PS4 owners directly through PlayStation Vue.
Sony announced the victory in a press release. Reportedly, the two companies had tried to come to some agreement since last year. PlayStation Vue allows users to eliminate their cable subscription, effectively. For a monthly price, PS4 owners get access to channels and on-demand content directly through their console. There are no extra equipment fees and no contracts that punish users for cancelling the service whenever they want.
PlayStation Vue subscribers can expect Disney Channel, ABC Family Disney XD, and every other channel Disney owns. Disney is also throwing in access to local ABC affiliates that it owns. For example, Vue subscribers will be able to watch their local news through the service instead of having to switch to a broadcast stream.
The full line-up includes Freeform, Disney Channel, Disney Junior, Disney XD, ESPN, ESPN 2, ESPN College Extra, ESPN U, ESPN News, ESPN Deportes, ESPN Classic, ESPN Goal Line, ESPN Buzzer Beater, ESPN Bases Loaded, Fusion, Longhorn Network and SEC-ESPN. The press release doesn’t say when users can expect the cable channels to arrive or if they’ll somehow cost users more than what they’re paying for PlayStation Vue already.
Disney sees the deal as a way to guarantee that users are watching its content even though they’re embracing a future that doesn’t involve going through a cable or satellite company to get that content. “PlayStation Vue provides a unique way to engage with our content and an opportunity to reach a segment of viewers who want a different kind of television experience,” Disney’s Justin Connolly says. Connolly is the Executive Vice Present of Affiliate Sales & Marketing for Disney and ESPN Networks.
The benefits for Sony are pretty clear. Apple is said to be creating a subscription video service of its own for the recently released Apple TV. Microsoft has partnered with Sling to offer its streaming video service directly through the Xbox One. Sling TV starts at $20 and lets users stream Disney line-up of channels already. What’s more, in recent months the company has signed up other providers. Users can build out their Sling TV line-up by purchasing additional blocks of channels.To be clear, Sling TV is available on Roku, iPhone, Android devices and the web, but not on a single Sony-made console.
Microsoft originally positioned the Xbox One as the single box that users needed in their home for all kinds of entertainment. The console interacts with users cable and satellite equipment, letting them change channels with a choice command and browse for something to watch with an integrated channel guide. Microsoft added support for broadcast TV tuners and Sling TV this year, to bolster that commitment to video content.
PlayStation Vue takes a different approach. Users choose a package with the channels that they want. PlayStation Vue Access costs $49.99 a month and unlocks a basic set of around 50 channels. PlayStation Core gives users those Access channels plus sports channels and Networks from Viacom — like MTV — for $59.99. The $69.99 Elite package gets users everything the service has to offer.
The problem for PlayStation Vue continues to be availability. Sling TV is available anywhere in the United States, but PlayStation Vue focuses on specific cities right now. Chicago, New York City, Los Angeles, Miami, Philadelphia and San Francisco have access now. Sony has said that it plans to rollout the service nationwide, but it’s unclear when that’ll happen.