PlayStation Vue is Not Enough

Editors note: The views expressed within this article do not necessarily reflect the opinion of everyone at We The Nerdy 


As someone who hasn’t had cable in over 4 years, I’m constantly looking for new ways to watch TV and various other forms of media. Netflix’s creation of original content was a giant leap forward and I can definitely say I was one of those people who watched Orange is the New Black in marathon sessions. Plus their inclusion of shows like Breaking Bad meant I could finally catch up to the final season which will probably be added before I finish all the previous ones. Hulu was a fantastic way to keep watching the only shows I was watching (any Community fans out there?). Crunchyroll was my go-to for anime. And with companies like HBO announcing internet based subscription services, it gets even better.

Basically, it’s a great time to watch TV without actually paying for cable.

Unfortunately, this is why PlayStation Vue sounds terrible.

Sony recently announced a subscription based TV service that will offer live programming as well as on demand. Initially offering somewhere around 75 channels, Sony claims it will offer the basic networks such as CBS, NBC, and Fox as well as popular cable channels like Discovery, MTV, and Bravo (among others). The service will also integrate features like a list of recommendations based on your viewing history and a search function. It’s expected to retail around $60 a month which is arguable way cheaper than any other TV service.

Why am I not thrilled?

In Sony’s own words, they’re going after the PlayStation owner who isn’t watching TV. And while I know I don’t speak for all, I know that I speak for many when I say that many of us haven’t abandoned TV because of terrible packages, expensive prices, and poor content (although these play a huge part). It’s because we have no real reason to pick it up with subscription based video on demand services existing and Sony isn’t addressing that.

Considering their demographic is users between the ages of 18 and 35, it’s safe to say a large amount of us work full time if not part time. That was one of the biggest reasons on why I never really wanted to get TV in the first place. If I wanted to watch The Office I needed to guarantee that I was home on Thursday nights. Or, I could catch it on Hulu the next day for free. I found myself weighing almost all of these options continually before realizing that I’d habitually be working for the majority of the content I wanted to watch, and even an on demand service tied into my cable wasn’t great when a ton of free services essentially give me an on demand option.

There's also a ton of original content being created for VOD services that is better than most stuff on cable.

There’s also a ton of original content being created for VOD services that is better than most stuff on cable.

One of the other issues I’m finding with PlayStation Vue is the fact that it’s locked onto Sony systems and also requires the internet. While other VOD services also require the internet, Sony needs to take into account the fact that live TV is going to bring a whole new set of problems. I’m mildly annoyed if my internet cuts out during an episode of Mythbusters on Netflix. I’d probably be severely annoyed if my internet cut out during the last quarter of the Superbowl. On top of that, requiring a Sony console means that for many people, they may be regulated to one TV for the service if they don’t want to move their systems. Admittedly this is a lot less of a problem than it probably sounds but I can also imagine that for many people who intend to run Vue as their only TV service, it will be an annoyance. Will it be worth the $60 instead of $90 if you can only watch TV wherever your PS4 is sitting? And what happens when a kid wants to watch their cartoons but you’re right in the middle of Dragon Age? At least with  Netflix and Hulu we’re able to switch it over to other devices across many platforms.

I’m also concerned about the channels being offered. As some outlets have noted, there are certain companies that have been oddly missing from the announced list of companies who’ve signed on for offering channels. Some of the more notable channels that seem to missing are ESPN, HBO, and CNN. While HBO may not be as big of a deal with their subscription service coming out, ESPN is certain to be a make or break channel that some people won’t be willing to skip.

Another reason I’m not sold is that one of the major problems I have with TV is the content itself. I legitimately can’t think of a single show I’m upset to be missing, and VOD services have been slowly fixing that problem for stuff I do want to watch. In fact, I got entirely hooked on Bob’s Burgers due to Hulu stocking the new episodes and Netflix having all 3 of the older seasons. But I’m not the kind of person who gets sucked into dramas. I almost never finish out series. And while I do indeed want to watch all of Mike Tyson Mysteries is that worth paying $60 a month?

I guess I’m mostly just confused as to who this is aimed at. As someone who hasn’t had cable in over 4 years, I’m certainly not sold on Vue which seems to be nothing more than an internet-based, watered down, cheaper alternative to cable that still suffers from the same problems I have with cable. And the $60 a month price point is pretty hefty, especially when places like Comcast (while not the best service) tends to offer bundle packages starting at $100 a month for both internet and TV. Because let’s be honest, $60 is the price of a new game and seeing as how Vue is more or less only accessible to gamers, I think the majority of us would rather put that $60 towards a new title rather than getting to watch Ghost Hunters every Wednesday night.