PlayStation Vue: Sony's live TV streaming service includes automatic (and unlimited) DVR

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PlayStation Vue's interface where users can choose shows

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Sony is jumping into the world of TV streaming in select markets with the announcement and preliminary launch of PlayStation Vue. The new service promises to let users in Chicago, New York City and Philadelphia stream TV, movies, and sports right to their PS3 or PS4 without a cable subscription.

At the start of this console generation, Microsoft put TV front and center on the Xbox One, though it did it by allowing users to control their traditional cable boxes through the console with HDMI pass through and OneGuide, a feature designed to blend traditional cable and Internet TV services like Netflix and Hulu. Sony, on the other hand, is looking to work around traditional cable companies and appeal to the cord-cutters with its new service.

The features of PlayStation Vue look impressive, with Sony promising the ability to go back and watch shows aired within the last 28 days without the need to manually record them to a DVR (you just need to tag a show as a favorite) or worry about how many shows one is recording at a time. DVR'd favorite shows will be available for the following 28 days. Additionally, Sony is offering the ability to watch live TV as one would with traditional cable.

Of course, with any new Internet TV service, there's two big questions that will determine whether it's worthwhile: the price, and the channel lineup. Price-wise, PlayStation Vue isn't cheap, starting at US$49 a month for the base package, and jumping in $10 increments from there to $69 for the top package.

As far as the channels go, big ones like CNN, Comedy Central, CBS, FOX, NBC, HGTV, and plenty of others are available. In total, around 50 channels are included in the first Access package, with the $59 Core package adding local sports channels, and the $69 Elite package adding other lifestyle, music, and family channels to the mix. Some notable omissions include ABC, ESPN, History Channel, and others. AMC (home of Mad Men, The Walking Dead and Better Call Saul), isn't available at launch, but Sony promises it will be added "very shortly after launch" (as it was with Sling TV). Complete Channel lineups are available at the Vue website.

For the time being, PlayStation Vue is only available in Chicago, NYC, and Philadelphia, but Sony is planning to roll it out in other areas over time, with major cities being the first targets. Additionally, Sony is planning to roll it out to iPad for users to watch on the go, though it didn't provide a specific time frame for that.

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