By Sahil Patel
The PlayStation Vue, Sony’s attempt at an internet-based pay-TV service for American broadband consumers, is now available in Los Angeles and the San Francisco Bay Area. The news was announced by Sony during its annual E3 press conference on Monday night.
As part of a phased national rollout, PS4 and PS3 users in both markets can now subscribe to the service, which offers different bundles of live local and national TV channels as well as on-demand content. Since its launch last fall, the service had been available in New York, Chicago, and Philadelphia.
Unlike Dish Network’s Sling TV, the PlayStation Vue is not really aimed at consumers who want to shave dollars off of their monthly cable or satellite subscriptions. At the moment, the service offers three main bundles, which range from $49.99 to $69.99 per month and at the top level offer up to 85 channels. In comparison, Sling TV goes for $19.99 per month, with multiple “add-on” packs across a variety of genres that can drive the monthly price up.
“Add-ons” are also in the works for Vue, which Sony says will be the “first” pay-TV service to allow users to subscribe to individual channels without requiring the purchase of a multi-channel package. (This is distinctive from Sling TV, which offers individual access to HBO Now but requires users to first subscribe to its core $20 bundle.)
Showtime, which recently announced a standalone subscription video service, will be available for $10 starting in July, in time for the season premiere of “Ray Donovan.” PlayStation Plus members will get a discount, only having to pay $8.99 per month. Subscriptions will also give users access to Showtime Anytime, the cable network’s TV Everywhere service that is available across a variety of devices.
Fox Sports is launching Fox Soccer Plus on the Vue, available starting in August at $14.99 per month for regular subscribers and $12.99 for PlayStation Plus members.
Machinima, meanwhile, becomes the first digital network to launch on the Vue. Its channel, which will offer content produced in-house by Machinima as well as curated from its vast talent network, will be available for $3.99 per month, or as part of Vue’s “Elite” bundle. PlayStation Plus members will only have to pay $1.99 per month.
“More than half of Machinima’s US audience owns a PlayStation platform,” said Chad Gutstein, Machinima’s CEO. “That’s why we are thrilled that the launch partner for Machinima’s premium service will be PlayStation Vue.”