Sony launches $50 Vue cord-cutting service

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By David Goldman

NEW YORK (CNNMoney – March 19, 2015) — More good news for cord cutters: Sony’s streaming TV option for PlayStation owners has arrived.

PlayStation Vue has launched in Chicago, New York and Philadelphia for the PS3 and PS4. It is accessible through Sony PlayStation consoles and offers the kind of TV bundle that cable companies sell.

Vue delivers TV over the Internet to PlayStation consoles. It comes with a DVR-like service and lets customers watch both live programming and on-demand shows.

You can watch more than 80 channels on Vue, but you’ll have to pay more for certain stations.

For $50 a month, you’ll get 53 channels, including CBS, Fox, NBC, Bravo, CNN, Comedy Central, the Food Network, MTV, Nickelodeon and TNT. At $60 a month, you get access to a small handful of local sports networks, including New York’s YES and the Big Ten Network. And for $70 a month, you’ll be able to stream 26 more channels, such as FXM, Logo and Sprout.

Notably, Disney-owned channels, including ABC and ESPN, are not currently available on the PlayStation.

Sony has been testing the service since November, and it expects to launch Vue more widely in the coming weeks and months.

Though Sony was among the first companies to announce a cable-like package over the Internet, it finds itself entering a suddenly crowded field of similar services.

Dish Network launched its $20-a-month Sling TV service last month, featuring 17 channels, including ESPN, AMC, the Food Network and CNN. It doesn’t provide access to local programming or broadcast networks, however. There’s no DVR option, and on-demand viewing is limited to certain networks — and only for shows that aired over the past three days.

CBS and Viacom’s Nickelodeon both offer $6-a-month streaming services for their networks. And next month, HBO will launch its HBO Now service, giving viewers the ability to stream live and on-demand HBO programming over the Internet for $15 a month. CNN and HBO are both owned by Time Warner.

Then there are the on-demand streaming video mainstays, including Amazon Prime Instant Video, Hulu and Netflix, which offer an assortment of old and new (and some original) television programs. And Apple is widely expected to add its own equivalent streaming TV service via Apple TV later this year.

Sony has by far the largest selection of channels available among its competitors. But you still have to pay your cable company for Internet service, after which the extra price for the equivalent number of channels from your cable provider might be around the same as the $50 Sony is charging for its Vue service.

So it’s unclear how successful PlayStation Vue or any of the cord-cutting TV options will be. What’s clear is that if you want to watch TV without a traditional cable subscription, your options are rapidly increasing.

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