PlayStation Vue, welcome to the price-hike party. Sony’s over-the-top TV streaming service is the latest to raise the price of its subscription service, which will now cost $5 more per month across all four tiers. That means Vue’s cheapest plan will now cost $44.99 per month instead of $39.99 per month. The most expensive plan will climb to $79.99 per month.
Remember when we thought streaming TV was a cheaper way to watch? No?
Above: PlayStation Vue’s current prices, before the price increases
The pricing changes arrived on the same day that AT&T raised the cost of its streaming TV service, DirecTV Now, also by $5 per month.
And both changes follow similar moves by competitors, including the $5 per month increase announced by Sling TV only days ago, and the $5 per month increase announced by YouTube TV in March. That made Sling TV’s core package $25 per month and YouTube TV $40 per month.
According to the PlayStation Vue blog post, the decision to raise prices was attributed to the need to “keep pace with rising business costs and enable us to continue offering a better way to watch the best in live sports, entertainment, and news,” it says.
In reality, it’s clear that the whole market is shifting to a slightly higher price point for streaming TV, especially as the services expand their channel lineups to offer more broadcast stations and networks. However, for consumers, it may make these services a tougher sell — many customers signed up to avoid being nickel-and-dimed by cable TV providers with fees and lineups including channels they didn’t watch, and this is starting to feel the same.
In addition, there is a world of content out there on services like Netflix, Amazon Prime Video and Hulu’s on-demand service that’s far more affordable — and without requiring users to record shows with a “cloud” DVR that sometimes doesn’t even let you fast-forward through the commercials. For those who don’t care about sports or tracking particular shows, the streaming TV services may look less compelling as they become more expensive.
In its announcement, Sony vowed to continue to improve its service with the planned addition of more broadcast stations, content and other feature enhancements.
PlayStation Vue is one of the older services on the market, but is also one of the smallest, with an estimated 670,000 subscribers — far behind Sling TV’s 2.21 million or DirecTV Now’s 1.2 million. Likely, consumers believe — because of its name — a PlayStation is required to use it. But the service can be accessed from almost any device, including mobile phones and tablets, the web, Chromecast, Android TV, Apple TV, Fire TV and Roku.
It offers four different channel lineups, all of which include networks like AMC, CNBC, CNN, Discovery, Disney, ESPN, HGTV, Food Network FX, TLC, TNT and others. In some areas, broadcast stations including ABC, CBS, Fox and NBC are also available.
The pricing changes will go into effect starting July 24, 2018, Sony says, and will impact both new and existing subscribers. Current subscribers will see the change reflected on their billing cycle after July 31, 2018. Vue’s standalone channels and add-ons are not affected by the price increases.