Which live TV streaming service is Right for you?
PlayStation Vue Vs Sling TV
PS Vue $49.00
On price Sling is obviously the less expensive of the two starting off. Both offerings provide the ability to expand the channel lineups through upgrades. More on that later.
Broadcast (Traditional) Networks
Sling No PS Vue Yes
Sling chose not to pursue the rights to the major broadcast networks CBS, NBC, Fox ABC. Though a deal was reached with ABC’s parent company Disney to provide a number of channels from that family of networks. Sony will be offering CBS, NBC and Fox but no ABC. My guess is that the three cities were the first three where Sony was able to make deals with all of the local station owners. Sony could be going down the path of cable and satellite companies with protracted fights and blackouts ahead. But at the same time how many Sling TV users wish they could pay 10 dollars more and get three major networks live without purchasing an antenna? This is a win for Sony
Access to popular channels
What’s the point of paying for a service with no content that you want to watch? Both offerings bring a number of popular cable channels into the home with Sony delivering a number of channels that Sling does not including USA, SyFy, Fox News Fox Sports 1 & 2, FX, FXX and more. Sling has a smaller lineup but does feature the Turner family including TNT, TBS, CNN, ESPN, ESPN2 and AMC in its most basic package. This is where the two offering start to look very different.
Programmingtiers have been a staple of traditional Pay TV for years now. We are all familiar with the formula where you get a group of 50-60 channels at one price and move up the lineup at additional cost.
The Access level which starts at $49.00. It features programming from three major networks Fox, NBC and NBC. Along with that it offers a slate of programming that includes Fox News, CNN, CNBC, Fox Sports 1, Fox Sports 2, Science Spike and USA, Nick, Nick JR along with many others. It’s next tier, $59.00 adds regional sports networks and oddly TCM. One of these things is not like the others. It’s Elite tier for $69.00 tops off the service with over 80 channels but does not add the heft of the first two or even the Access level service.
Sling Television seems to have a different take on tiers. The company chooses to offer by far the majority of their most compelling channels on the $20.00 “Best of Live TV” tier and includes TBS, TNT, ESPN, ESPN 2, The Cartoon Network, The Food Network AMC, IFC, CNN and a host of others some less exiting or requested than others. But it is obvious that the initial tier is meant to offer bang for the buck. Its tiers are strictly theme based. Can’t find enough movies across the regular lineup Add a movie package for $5.00 with 4 Epix channels and Sundance. There is a family that adds Disney XD amoung a group of 5 channels, A sports package that adds the entire ESPN family along with Universal Sports and Bein Sports. Each of these additional packages are optional and can be added without the addition of another. If a household wants more sports the total monthly bill rises to $25.00 and you don’t have to add 14 other channels you don’t want. Compared head to head it is obvious that Sling is far closer to an A-la-carte model while PS Vue is trying to play the cable style game.
To see Sling Television’s packages click here to see PS Vue Packages Click here
Sony PS Vue At the moment PS Vue is available on the PS3 and PS 4 with plans to launch on IOS devices (probably not Apple TV) in the future. 3 cities NYC, Philadelphia and Chicago.
Sling TV is currently available via Android tablets and phones, IOS devices, PC’s, Mac Computers, set-top-boxes (Roku, The Amazon Fire TV and soon the Nexus Player) as well as Sony’s chief competitor the Xbox One. Would anybody be surprised to find Sling on smart TV’s in the future?
Right now Sling Television is taking the Netflix approach to format and Sony is taking an Apple approach. Will placing their service behind the barrier of the $299.00 PlayStation hinder its adoption. In the face of Sling Television and its numerous promotions that essentially give items like the Fire TV Stick and Roku Streaming Stick away and cut the price of both respective premium boxes the Roku 3 and Fire TV in half the strategy looks like a mistake. But maybe PlayStation owners will buy in more than the bevy of other customers who purchased equipment for the sole expressed purpose of streaming.
So Which Service is better?
The media world is lined with the graves of showdown losers. VHS over Beta, Blu-ray over HD DVD, Stone Tablets VS Paper (paper won on portability alone) This fight just got started but I have got to give an early round lead to Sling Television in this fight. Obviously Sony has yet to roll their service out past the borders of NYC, Philadelphia and Chicago but I think that a lot of viewers will balk when they realize it is absent of ESPN or any of its affiliated networks. Very few people actually like having tons of channels they don’t watch in order to get three that they do. And this is what Sony Vue recreates without a subscription. Sling Television feels like a product put together after a lot of study and focus groups that asked people what channels they could not do without, or what do they consider worthwhile extras and at what cost. When someone can max out Sling with more channels then they will ever watch for $45.00 including the entire ESPN catalog, 5 premium movie channels, 11 news channels and more while Sony charges 49.00 dollars without even offering ESPN, Fox Sports, USA and many others it seems like a miss match.