With a growing number of streaming TV services on the market – including, as of last week, YouTube TV – Sony’s PlayStation Vue is today launching a new feature aimed at differentiating its offering from the rest: “multi-view.” As you might guess by its name, this feature will allow you to watch multiple channels all on the same screen.
With multi-view, you’re able to watch up to three live TV channels together on one screen, similar to how picture-in-picture mode works on traditional TV sets. However, in Vue’s case, the extra videos aren’t overlaid on the main video window, but are rather off the side as smaller thumbnails, to the right of the one you’re actively listening to and viewing.
The feature also only works on the PS4, and not Vue’s other supported platforms.
A multi-view interface is largely designed for sports fans, who like keeping their eyes on several games at the same time. In a blog post announcing the addition, Sony notes that Vue users can take advantage of the feature for March Madness, which kicks off this week on channels including TNT, TBS, TruTV, and CBS. (PlayStation Vue only supports CBS in select major TV markets, however, not broadly across its service.)
To use the new feature, which is live as of now, users will press and hold X on any live TV program from the guide or the Live TV row at the top of the homescreen, explains Sony. This will display a menu that gives you the option of using either two or three multi-view screen. You can then choose any other live programming from the Live TV stand to start watching multiple streams at once.
You press X to start programs, and press and hold on X to start multi-view. To switch programs while in multi-view, you press Square. To move a program to the main screen, you highlight its thumbnail, then press Square.
Of course, only the main video window will have the audio track turned on at any time.
Targeting sports fans is one of the areas where today’s streaming TV services fiercely compete, and Dish’s Sling TV is a noteworthy competitor in this space, having been one of the first streaming internet TV services to offer access to sports programming from ESPN without a cable TV subscription. It now has tiered packages that let sports fans dig into their favorite content further, as well as add-on extras like NFL RedZone.
DirecTV Now also tiers its service, with more sports channels offered in the premium packages. Recent arrival YouTube TV, on the other hand, is still missing several notable channels at launch, including TBS and TNT. But that may be of lesser concern, given that YouTube’s target demographic is not an adult user base who’s hesitating to cut the cord with cable for fear of losing accessing to sports. Instead, YouTube is after those younger users who never planned on signing up for cable in the first place.
Sony, however, is doubling down on sports, saying also that multi-view is one of several new features in the pipeline aimed at sports fan. It will add real-time sports scores to the service soon, and will let you turn off spoiler alerts for the games you are waiting to watch.