That's it for PlayStation Vue, folks. Sony announced on Oct. 29, 2019, that its long-running streaming service would cease to exist on Jan. 30, 2020. It cited "the highly competitive Pay TV industry, with expensive content and network deals," as the driving factor.
PlayStation Vue was a fairly traditional sort of service. The menus made sense. It was easy to navigate. The DVR worked as expected, as did video on demand.
The prices, however, kept climbing, to the point that it just didn't make any more business sense for Sony.
PlayStation — as in the gaming business — isn't going anywhere, though.
But with PSVue closing up shop, you're going to need a new way to watch things. Here are some of the best alternatives to PlayStation Vue.
Hulu with Live TV
Hulu has some serious skin in the game. Initially a partnership between Disney, Fox, Comcast and AT&T, the company launched in late 2007, streaming ad-based on-demand replays of primetime network programming. Since then the company has graduated to live TV playback with plans starting at $40 a month. This includes a 50-hour cloud DVR that can be upgraded to 200 hours for an additional $15 if you really need to record that much TV.
In addition to a generous selection of over 50 channels, subscribers can add premium networks like HBO, Showtime, Starz and Cinemax to their monthly setup if they so desire. This is all great, but the real heroes here are Hulu's stellar homegrown programming and its large library of on-demand content. This is where the experienced streamer really excels and makes a solid case for your hard-earned coins.
Live and on-demand
Live TV, great originals, and a great catalog
Hulu used to be known for having a great back catalog of shows. But it's become so much more than that. It still has a deep on-demand bench, but now it also has a competitive live lineup — and it's got the might (and bundled packaging) of Disney and Disney+ behind it.
If you're all about sports, FuboTV is a great choice. As indicated by its name, the New York-based streaming company has a major focus on athletics. Packages start at $55 a month, your budget will remain in the same ballpark as PlayStation Vue's entry-level offerings. Not only affordable, FuboTV is one of the few places that offers live sports in beautiful 4K. Despite being listed as a beta project, FuboTV's so-called work in progress outshines its competitors in this particular space.
If you really want to get things going, Fubo TV offers a 103-channel option for $74.99 a month, with a few other bells and whistles thrown in.
Not just limited to sports junkies, FuboTV includes the usual cable comparable add-ons like a free 30-hour cloud-based DVR, premium channels like Showtime, AMC Premiere and an assortment of local channels based on your area. Although sporting contests are the main attraction here, we'd be remiss if we didn't mention that ESPN is currently absent from FuboTV's lineup. As a substitution the service offers support for NBA League Pass, NFL Red Zone and college sports specific programming. If this all sounds good, you can try the service for a week completely free of charge.
Live TV — plus sports in 4K!
Fubo TV has as competitive a live lineup as just about anyone. But where it really starts to shine is with its sports coverage. It's missing ESPN, but it's got a wealth of other sources for sports and is one of the only ways in the United States in which you can watch sports in 4K resolution.
An extension of Dish Network, Sling TV focuses on simplicity. The company features two primary streaming plans for $25 a month, respectively. But if you happen to be fond of both, the outfit with bundle them together for $40 a month. From here on out it's an à la carte approach offering additional content specific channel bundles starting at $5 a month.
We like that Sling gives customers a ton of programming options but we're not too keen on paying extra for its 50 hour cloud DVR, especially when some of its rivals offer more for free.
Almost a la carte
Pay for what you want, mostly
Sling TV is the most popular streaming service — and it's as close as you can get to only paying for the channels you want. You'll still have to pick a basic package, and then choose from its myriad add-on services.
If your TV viewing is casual and your spending habits are frugal, Philo might be your best bet. This no-frills, spare-all-expenses cable alternative runs just $20 a month for 58 channels.
Philo may not have the star-studded lineup of premium networks found elsewhere (though you'll be surprised what it does have), but we admire the company's straightforward setup and its service plays nice with practically every piece of hardware on the market.
Easy does it
Philo makes it simple
One plan. One list of channels. Nearly five dozen channels. And all for just $20 a month. Philo's about making things easy — and not drowning you in choices.
YouTube TV has a lot going for it. For $50 a month, you'll score a hefty list of popular channels, including access to the outfit's original programming. If that's not enough, you can add additional premium networks to your plan with prices ranging from an extra $3 to $9 per month.
But it doesn't end there! Remember, YouTube is owned by Google and in typical fashion, the tech giant is throwing around its weight by offering an unlimited cloud DVR. The crescendo here is that YouTube TV subscribers can share their service with up to five other people. You don't have to be a math wiz to know that $40 divided by six equals pretty darn cheap.
One plan, one price, unlimited DVR
YouTube TV almost is a joy to use. It's got a simple on-screen guide, unlimited DVR, free secondary accounts, and all the unlimited DVR you can eat. (Please don't eat a DVR.) And you get all of its channels for a single monthly price, with premium add-ons available.
AT&T TV Now
DirecTV Now has lost a lot of customers. There, we said it. Now that we've addressed the elephant in the room, we can focus on some other important facts. AT&T's streaming service still brings a lot to the table. The platform's plans start at $50 a month for a thin range of channels — but with HBO thrown in. If you want everything DirecTV Now has to offer, you'll be paying $135 a month.
Backed by Ma Bell, DirecTV Now might be the easiest transition for recent cord cutters because its offerings are so vast. Not limited to just a large channel selection, when paired with proper hardware, the service can stream video at 1080p resolution with frame rates reaching a buttery smooth 60 fps. Toss in the fact that existing AT&T wireless customers might be eligible for a discount and DirecTV Now starts to look a tad bit more appealing.
Lots of options
AT&T TV Now — formerly known as DirecTV Now — has the most channels of any of the services, and it's got a bevy of plans from which to choose. They range from $65 a month all the way to $135 a month.
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I tried out Philo and it was kind of confusing with their "DVR". Basically, you "save" a show, and you're at their mercy as to what shows it records for you. There's no way to save just one episode of a show, it's a strange sort of "all-or-nothing" setup. And, it's not clear whether or not you can skip commercials when watching a show from your "DVR". There are also no parental controls or any options to hide non-family-friendly content, which is a show stopper in our house. I'm surprised YouTube TV doesn't have A&E, HGTV, TLC for $40/month. Those are pretty basic channels that we wouldn't want to go without. I love to see the maturity and competition in this space, though. At the end of the day, isn't it still the same old evil cable TV corporations behind all of these "cord-cutting" streaming TV services?
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