PlayStation Vue Streaming Service Review
PlayStation Vue (or PS Vue) acts as a standalone streaming service meant to give you live TV at a better price than traditional cable. Cord-cutters take note—you don’t actually have to have a PlayStation 3 (PS3) or PlayStation 4 (PS4) to watch PlayStation Vue; in fact, it supports most streaming devices like Amazon Fire and Roku. PlayStation Vue also has higher channel counts compared to the other streaming services like Sling TV and fuboTV. PlayStation Vue also includes a free, built-in DVR.
With PlayStation Vue, you won’t have to sign up for yearly contracts with early termination fees (ETFs), which can be $240 or more from traditional cable providers. You won’t need to lease equipment or pay hidden fees, either, but the streaming service may not have enough of your favorite channels.
PlayStation Vue plans and pricing
How much is PlayStation Vue?
PlayStation Vue costs at least $39.99 per month for the Access package, whereas the highest-tier package (Ultra) costs $74.99 per month. It’s a decent price for a solid selection of entertainment channels, movie channels, and sports. And no, you do not have to buy a PlayStation console like PS3, PS4, or PS Vita.
|Access||$39.99/mo.||43+ channels||5-day trial|
|Core||$44.99/mo.||55+ channels||5-day trial|
|Elite||$54.99/mo.||78+ channels||5-day trial|
|Ultra||$74.99/mo.||90+ channels||5-day trial|
Price and channel inclusion vary according to location.
PS Vue’s plans aren’t much cheaper than cable, if at all, but you won’t need to install anything new, nor do you have equipment rental costs or other hidden fees like broadcast surcharges. And since your contract is month to month, you won’t worry about big scary termination fees if you want to try a different service.
Plus, when you look at the channel listings for PS Vue, you’re not getting bloated counts for music channels or other less-viewed/unknown/strange networks that you didn’t want in the first place. Overall, it seems like a good bang for the buck.
PlayStation Vue is on par with other streaming services like Sling TV and DIRECTV NOW when it comes to add-ons like HBO. Typically, you’ll see $15 each per month for premiums. The Sports Pack is a cheap way to get comprehensive nationwide coverage ranging from football to baseball to soccer and more. We haven’t seen too many providers offer Hi-YAH! or Machinima like PlayStation Vue does, so it’s nice to see more niche audiences being catered to.
- Sports Pack*: $10/mo.
- Español Pack: $3.99/mo.
- Fox Soccer Plus: $14.99/mo.
- HBO MAX Pack (HBO+Cinemark): $21.99/mo.
- HBO: $15/mo.
- Cinemax: $15/mo.
- Premium Pack (Epix Hits + SHOWTIME): $13.99/mo.
- SHOWTIME: $10.99/mo.
- EPIX Hits: $3.99/mo.
- Machinima: $1.99/mo.
- HI-YAH!: $2.99/mo.
* Not available for Access plan
PlayStation Vue PS Plus member discount
If you’re a member of PlayStation’s PS Plus, you will receive a discount on the following add-ons: Showtime, HBO/Cinemax bundle, Epix Hits/Showtime bundle, and Fox Soccer Plus. While it’s only a $1–$2 discount per month, it adds up to $12–$24 per year in savings, which is a couple of pizzas.
Just FYI, a PS Plus pass is $9.99 per month, but we recommend it only for gamers using PS4, PS3, and PS Vita systems.
How do you know if something is eligible for the discount? It has the yellow PlayStation Plus logo (which looked like popcorn to us) and discounted price underneath the regular price. We’ve provided a screenshot to show you.
We’re pretty impressed with the offerings from PlayStation Vue, especially since the cheapest plan (Access) has the bulk of popular channels like AMC, FX, ESPN, ESPN2, Cartoon Network/Adult Swim, Fox News, CNN, and HGTV. With the highest–tier package having 89+ channels, it’s not the highest channel count among streaming services, but PlayStation Vue doesn’t load their count with music channels or other filler we don’t care about.
We’d guess that most people would get the majority of what they want to watch by getting the Core package and adding on HBO or the Sports Pack. Personally, as long as we get Rick and Morty, Game of Thrones, and the NBA finals and NFL playoffs, we’re good.
PlayStation Vue price and plan summary
- PlayStation Vue has plans priced similar to traditional cable, but without extra hidden fees or long-term contracts.
- A solid library is reinforced with plenty of add-on options catering to sports fans, movie buffs, and more.
- The channel selection isn’t filled with fluff, but viewers may miss some major networks like A&E, Nickelodeon, or MTV.
- We recommend PlayStation Vue for just about anybody looking to ditch their cable provider, but especially for those already signed up for the PlayStation Network or PlayStation Plus.
Sign-up took us less than five minutes, and once again: you don’t need a PlayStation console. You will need an account on the PlayStation Network (PSN) tied to a credit card and a residential address, but that’s pretty easy to create, too.
PlayStation Vue’s five-day period is two days shorter than most streaming services, so be wary as you sign up for a free trial—you do NOT have a week to figure it out. Make sure you have enough time to actually scope out the service before creating your trial.
The PS Vue’s library interface is superior to a lot of other streaming services we’ve tried. We like that it displays a show’s progress with a red and white bar so we know at what point we’re tuning in. Immediately we noticed the option to add Favorite Channels and Favorite Shows, which is much more helpful than browsing the channel guide or searching for your show over and over.
Kudos to the PlayStation’s design team—it really made it easy for users to get what they want fast.
Another reason to love the user interface: the Sports section.
PlayStation not only groups according to sports but also breaks out events by date with teams and leagues clearly displayed so you can get a snapshot of the next week. You can even toggle displaying scores on and off in your settings—a nice extra feature for sports fans. We like seeing such an organized, user-friendly platform becoming the standard.
PS Vue’s watching window isn’t anything astonishingly new, but it does have a few little nuances that make it feel like it’s enhanced services we’re used to. In the top right corner you’ll see the following:
- This episode is marked as “ON DEMAND,” meaning you can access it whenever; unfortunately you can’t use it to click immediately into other on-demand content.
- The channel logo (for Adult Swim “[as]”), which you can click to see what else is on the network.
- Either a check mark or a plus sign, signifying that you’ve added or can add a show to your favorites.
The standard playback controls are there: play/pause, rewind, fast-forward, back to beginning, volume, HD and closed captioning, browse mode (show plays minimized while you surf channels), and full screen. The rewind and fast-forward features work in increments, so every time you click the button it adds another 10 seconds.
Unfortunately, for those of us who want to get away from ads, PlayStation Vue is no safe haven. Since it is live TV, you won’t be able to skip commercials unless you’re watching an on-demand program. That being said, you won’t get more commercials than traditional cable.
PlayStation Vue’s DVR system is free, you just need to add a program to “My Shows” for it to automatically record. It will store for a month, and there’s no limit to the number of recordings. Unfortunately, you can’t record just one show one time—which seems like an oversight.
If you don’t record the show and it’s not on demand, you can jump around any part of the program that has aired since you selected it, but not earlier.
Special shoutout for the wide variety of Closed Caption settings from PS Vue! We like seeing companies that make an effort to provide captions but also how they’re displayed.
We’ve noticed with other services like fuboTV, the captions were more trouble than help because they took over half the screen. But with PS Vue, you can adjust the font size and style, as well as the opacity, color, and size of the background it’s displayed on—awesome!
You can register up to five devices; any more than that and you will have to select a device to unregister. You also get five simultaneous streams. Compared to DIRECTV, Sling TV, and fubo, PlayStation Vue has the highest number of available devices and streams. Mobile devices will have out-of-home network restrictions when on-the-go. It bears repeating: although it’s a common misconception, Vue works for more than PlayStation consoles.
The following devices will work for PlayStation Vue:
- PlayStation 3
- PlayStation 4
- Roku streaming devices (7.1 and up)
- Apple TV (4th gen OS 10.0 and up)
- Amazon Fire TV (all)
- Android TV (Android OS 4.4 and up)
- iOS devices: iPad Mini, iPad 2 and on running iOS 7.0 or iOS 8.0, iPhone 5 or later, iPod Touch 4 or later
- Amazon: Fire HD6 tablets and above
- Android: Phones and tablets running Android OS version 4.4 or higher
- Google Chromecast
And of course, you can always watch on the PlayStation Vue website, which is our preferred at-home method—We use our laptops so much, it makes it easy to plug in a HDMI cable to the big-screen TV, turn on Vue, and then veg out for the night.
PlayStation Vue first impressions summary:
- The interface is better than most cable and streaming services, giving multiple options for easy navigation along with understandable organization.
- Playback is simple and intuitive.
- Caption services are better than others.
- PlayStation Vue is the only streaming live TV service that works on PlayStation Consoles but works for most devices.
PS Vue vs. the competition
While each live TV streaming service seems to be doing things just a little differently, we’d say anyone who is looking at Sling TV vs DIRECTV NOW will find a happy medium with PlayStation Vue.
|PlayStation Vue||$30–$75/mo.||30–90+||5-day trial|
|Sling TV||$20–$40/mo.||20–40+||7-day trial|
|DIRECTV NOW||$35–$88/mo.||60–120+||7-day trial|
PlayStation Vue vs. Sling TV
If you’re looking for the cheapest service, Sling TV wins, plus they’ll give you a free Roku. PlayStation’s plans make more sense for cord-cutters who fear missing traditional cable, or for people who want to watch live TV from their PS3, PS4, or PS Vita. If you want more channels, more streams, and free DVR service, then go with PlayStation Vue.
Winner: (Tie) PlayStation Vue and Sling TV
PlayStation vs. DIRECTV NOW
With PlayStation Vue, you get more streams and DVR capabilities. PlayStation Vue seems to have fewer bugs, which you can read about in the DIRECTV NOW review. Overall, PlayStation is more user friendly, but you won’t get as big of a selection despite paying similar prices.
DIRECTV NOW has higher channel counts for cheaper than PS Vue, and it also charges less for premiums like HBO ($5 per month with DIRECTV NOW compared to $15 from PS Vue). So if having a huge selection is important, then DIRECTV NOW wins. All things considered, we’re hoping DIRECTV NOW improves over time, because it’s a better deal than PlayStation Vue on paper.
Winner: DIRECTV NOW
PlayStation vs. fubo TV
We recommend PlayStation Vue for those looking to ditch cable and satellite TV providers in favor of a no-contract live TV option. You’ll get high channel counts, flexibility to add or remove premiums month-to-month, and a TV service that works on pretty much all of your devices. You won’t have to pay additional fees for DVR use or equipment, either. If you’re curious, sign up for a 5-day free trial here.
Before jumping ship completely, we’ll forewarn you to check out the channel lineups. Although some major networks are absent, we take it most of PlayStation Vue’s audience won’t be heartbroken about it since they can still get big names like AMC, Cartoon Network, CNN, Discovery Channel, Food Network, Fox News, and more.
PlayStation Vue review summary:
- Watch live TV at a cheaper price than traditional cable providers
- Add channels and shows to your favorites for quick access
- Use up to five devices and five simultaneous streams
- Record with the free DVR without worrying about setting times
PlayStation Vue FAQs
Can I watch PlayStation Vue on the go?
You can’t watch NFL games on the mobile networks, period. However, most channels and programs will work except CBS and most live NHL games. And if you’re outside of your home city, you won’t be able to watch CBS, ABC, FOX, NBC, regional sports networks, or most live NHL games due to licensing agreements.
Can I watch PlayStation Vue at my friend’s/family’s house?
PlayStation Vue doesn’t work across multiple IP addresses, meaning you can’t log in from someone else’s device outside of your home. It also tracks your ZIP code to make sure you’re in your home network—kind of a bummer considering how easy it is to pull up something like Netflix on someone else’s TV.