Admittedly, my resume with streaming services reads like a case study for potential PlayStation Vue subscribers.
I’ve tried everything from just using Netflix, to picking up Hulu Plus, Acorn TV and pairing an Xbox One with a cable box. Only Netflix had any real staying power for me. I dropped cable and went back to streaming video apps on Xbox One a few months ago. If you asked Comcast, they’d probably say that the split was mutually beneficial. They stopped wasting time trying to get me to pay them more money and I stopped having to rant at them on Twitter to get their act together and provide me the service I was already paying way too much for. For a while, Sling TV was my alternative, but the service was expensive and its Xbox One app was bad.
In other words, I struggle with video service monogamy. I’m always aware of their imperfections and quirks, ready to cut ties rather than adapt my viewing habits to their unique features and issues.
After a week, I’m comfortable saying that I may have found a streaming service I can actually stick with though. Someone bring out the cake.
PlayStation Vue review – Desperate & Ashamed
Desperate & Ashamed
By the time Sony finally rolled out PlayStation Vue nationwide last week, I was desperate. After leaving Sling TV, I just wanted a service with a decent app and better selection of channels. It didn’t have to be any cheaper, but it did have to actually work reliably. Sling TV simply didn’t. It often buffered at the top of the hour, repeated the same five minutes of video footage and had the worst menu system I’d ever seen in an app meant for the living room.
PlayStation Vue is like Sling TV in that it isn’t a cable supplement. For as little as $29.99 users get a decent amount of livestreaming channels. There are 55 channels in the basic plan to be exact, more channels come in higher tiers, which is a bit different from the $5 genre packs that Sling TV offers. With two Xbox One consoles in the house already, I wasn’t ready to adopt Sony’s PlayStation 4 to get PlayStation Vue. I ordered an Amazon Fire TV, loaded the Vue app and decided to let the chips fall where they would.
PlayStation Vue review – Channels for Days
Channels for Days
What really sold me on the idea of making a $100 invest in a future with PlayStation Vue was the amount of available channels. Put simply, Sling TV is deficient anyway you look at it. TNT was present, so was HGTV. PlayStation Vue has Turner Networks and Scripps Networks on-board. Also, it has the Holy Grail of streaming services: Viacom.
Even if you don’t know who or what Viacom is, you know their channels. MTV, VH1 and Nick. Vue has them, along with tons of other networks. They’re not locked away or bundled into an add-on package They’re ready for you at the base level.
PlayStation Vue has linear channels, with the option to pause them at a time. Besides watching what everyone else is viewing at the same time, subscribers can go the On-Demand route and watch shows that have aired as far back as twenty-eight days. With a great selection and competitive price – Sling TV is also $29 for the channels I wanted just like Vue – only technical issues could hamper my switch to the service.
Make no mistake, Sony doesn’t mind you up-selling yourself on a wider selection. EPIC, HBO Go and Showtime are just three of the add-ons the service offers. I don’t mind here though because none of them feel as essential as they do with other services.
PlayStation Vue review – All Things Technical
All Things Technical
Sony forces users into signing up for a PlayStation Network account to use PlayStation Vue. I didn’t and don’t find that to be a huge problem. What did bug me was the company’s decision to release its app on just one single platform besides the PlayStation 4 and PlayStation 3. Despite having an app for iPhone and iPad, PlayStation Vue only treats those as second-class streaming devices. You cannot create an account and get Vue going with just an iPhone, for example.
PlayStation Vue checks to see if you’re in the same billing address that you signed up with. Try to stream from anywhere else in the country and it simply doesn’t work. Yes, that’s brutal. Sling TV’s apps are horrible, but at least they function in any city or town with an internet connection in the United States.
The Vue On-Demand content works flawlessly, though I found that shows would usually have a few moments of the program that proceeded it spliced together with it. Getting to any on-demand content can be a be a bit confusing. There’s a mess of interfaces all waiting to pounce on you after you hit a button on your remote. Timeline, Recently Watched, Search and a giant spreadsheet like Guide that’s always at least five button presses away still bother me.
PlayStation Vue doesn’t have a web client for PC and Mac. There’s no Android, PlayStation Vita or PlayStation TV app yet either. Not sure what Sony was thinking there, besides keeping the service as a selling point for its gaming consoles. That’s a smart move for PlayStation, but hurts the overall attractiveness of PlayStation Vue.
I worry about what those who live with strict data caps will do with this app as it exists today. There’s no way to manage video quality, meaning you could blow a datacap without necessarily realizing it until Comcast sends you a courtesy email. Though certainly a monotonous, the channel guide is serviceable.
Man, are there things about PlayStation Vue that I do like though.
PlayStation Vue’s website makes the setup easy for one, even if you can’t stream there. For another, the app itself is void of the technical issues that plague other entertainment apps. Loading a channel doesn’t take way too long. Only at the beginning of a stream have I noticed any buffering, and I’m working with Comcast’s most basic internet plans.
You can stream from up to five devices using PlayStation Vue at a time – tough only a single PS4 and PS3 can be included in that number. By comparison, Sling TV slaps you on the wrist after the first video stream.
PlayStation Vue review – The Verdict
I’m told that being married is tacit acknowledgement that love for your spouse outweighs how glaring their flaws are. I wouldn’t know; No one has ever accused me of being marriage material.
There’s never going to be a perfect internet cable service. Let’s kill that pipe dream right now. PlayStation Vue’s near non-existence on Android harms it. It’s user interface could use some plastic surgery for sure. PlayStation Vue’s Guide is only good-looking enough to garner second glances in the same way that I’ll be once I hit middle age and my hair starts to recede.
Thing is, it’s good enough to settle down with though. A reasonable price, terrific selection of channels and little to no tech issues make it the best cable replacement available right now. Seriously, put a ring on this thing folks.