PlayStation Vue Review – 2016

PlayStation Vue Looks Appealing

I signed up for the trial version of PlayStation Vue thinking it could be my ticket to freedom from the evil clutches of the Comcast giant.

PlayStation Vue offers a solid selection of channels, the NFL network, CSNNW  (Comcast SportsNet Northwest — for all you Portland Trailblazer fans) and an in-the-cloud DVR. And their most expensive package (that I found), was $39.99.

Here’s my quick PlayStation Vue review (fresh as of September, 2016), detailing my experience with the service.

Requirements For PlayStation Vue

You might think a PlayStation is necessary for the service to work. You’d be right — mostly.

The service will work with a PlayStation 3, a PlayStation 4, Roku or Amazon Fire TV. If you don’t have one of those, forget it.

It will also work with Chromecast via the PlayStation Vue app on iOS devices (iPhone or iPad), but if you don’t have one of the aforementioned devices (PS3, PS4, Roku or Fire TV), you cannot establish service.

My Own PlayStation Vue Setup

My setup includes a PlayStation 4, an iPhone 6 Plus and an iPad and a Chromecast. Signing up for the service was easy. I simply downloaded the app onto my PlayStation 4 and I was able to watch any of the channels on my television. There were movies, on-demand channels (ABC, CBS, AMC, etc.) and lots of other garbage channels. There was a guide, etc., like any other cable service. So far so good.

I tried watching Vue on my mobile device and quickly found out that many channels were “mobile restricted.” Channels like CSNNW (the channel that broadcasts the Blazer games), the NFL Network, etc., were unable to be watched on a mobile device (iPhone or iPad). Lame, but whatever.

I went upstairs to my big-screen TV and downloaded the Vue app onto my iPhone. I started up the app, easily connected to the Chromecast and started casting the Vue channels onto the TV. What a pleasant surprise that once I began casting, all the mobile restrictions disappeared.

I want to repeat that attempting to sign up with PlayStation Vue with just an iOS device and a Chromecast will not work!

PlayStation Vue Viewing Experience

The first thing I tried to watch (for real) on my new service was football on Sunday. All I can say is FAIL. There were no football games available (on Sunday). And then I discovered that none of the major networks were available either. That’s right — Fox, NBC, ABC, CBS — they were all unavailable, at least in my area.

There are on-demand versions of these channels, but if you want to sit down and watch live TV, well, sorry. And if you want to relax and watch football on Sunday — forget it. You can’t.

And that’s too bad, because the Vue advertisements all trumpet the fact that the NFL Network is available. And if you do a search in the Vue guide for NFL, you’ll see a lot of results. NFL films, NFL Network, NFL Total Access, NFL Films Presents . . . But is there any actual football? Barely.

At least Monday night football was available. So on Monday, I set up the recording for the game in “My Shows.” I waited until about halftime to watch the game, and when I turned it on, I couldn’t start the game at the beginning. That’s right. I missed the entire first half.

I started looking online to see if others had this problem, and that’s when I found out what was happening. You can’t watch a show until it’s done. Only then can you start the show at the beginning. So in order to start the game at the beginning, I’d have to wait for it to end. The only problem with that was that the game ended at around 8:30 or 9:00, meaning I’d be up until at least 11:00 watching it. And I wanted to go to bed at 10!

So I just watched the game from halftime and wasn’t able to fast forward through commercials. About halfway through the third quarter, my daughter wanted to go on a quick bike ride. So I paused the game, went on a ride, came back and the game was live again. I couldn’t go back to the point where I had paused the game. Lame.

Apparently when using a PlayStation, you can pause live TV for up to 30 minutes, but when using other devices, you can only pause live TV for a few minutes. So pee fast, because you might miss some of your show.

My PlayStation Vue Review Conclusions

I like the idea of cutting the cable — of freedom from Comcast — and I appreciate Sony for trying to help us get there. However, the PlayStation Vue service is seriously lacking on a number of levels and I haven’t even really put it through its paces yet.

Mobile viewing is extremely limited. The DVR functions are extremely limited. The major broadcast channels are not included. Trying to watch football on Sunday is a joke. Because of these issues, I’m going to have to say “no” to PlayStation Vue.

PlayStation Vue Pros

  • transparent pricing with no hidden fees (Comcast, are you listening?)
  • easy month-to-month billing; easy to cancel (Comcast, are you listening?)
  • a good bundle of channels at a low cost
  • cloud DVR-like service that functions across different devices
  • different profiles can be created for each user

PlayStation Vue Cons

  • maximum resolution of 720p
  • all devices must be tied to a single address (don’t share your password or your account will be canceled!)
  • the advertisements about NFL Network are misleading as you can’t really watch any football whatsoever
  • none of the major broadcast channels are included (CBS, FOX, ABC, NBC)
  • DVR only works after the show is over
  • time-shifting of live TV way too limited
  • a high-speed Internet connection is required

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2 Comments


  1. Hello Eric! I was not aware of the possibilities of TV with the PlayStation Vue. I have had a Roku for several years and recently pulled the plug on my Dish network to save money. There is a lot of stuff on Roku, but typically for a cable TV experience, one would have to pay extra to avoid commercials. For the most part, Aunt Alice enjoys things on network stations like Wheel of Fortune, Jeopardy and some of the talent shows, so we don’t typically spend much time on a lot of things available on cable. We would like to get Fox Sports, but one has to pay for a higher tier to get that programming here.

    I did try a seven day trail of Sling TV just to check how well it might work out and I might get it later on, especially in the Spring because we like to watch our Detroit Tigers on TV and you can get that with Sling TV for $25.00 a month to include about 40 stations (History, CNN, HGTV, Fox Sports, ESPN, TNT, TBS, BBC, A&E, USA, National Geographic, etc.). It seemed to work pretty well with our high-speed Comcast Internet, but one never can predict if there could be slow-downs if lots of people get hooked on it, I suppose. But it is a no-hassle cancelation policy.

    But I said all that to say this: I would love to know the easiest and cheapest way to see AND PAUSE live over the air TV without having to pay premium dollars for a Tivo. I’m thinking of looking into the Raspberry Pi to see if it will work for us to at least record live TV for later viewing, but I haven’t figured it all out yet. So, if you or any of your readers have any experience along those lines, I would be happy to hear about it.

    God bless, talk to you later…

    Reply

    1. Well, I wish I could help, but all I’ve tried is Vue. And I didn’t like it. There was simply no comparison to a full-fledged cable service like Comcast. But perhaps it will be enough for some.

      Reply

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