PlayStation Vue is arguably the best cable replacement service on the market, but resting on one’s laurels is a great way to lose the top spot. Now that the powers-that-be at PlayStation are satisfied with Vue’s living-room performance, they’re turning their attention to the mobile app.
Soon, PlayStation Vue’s iOS and Android experiences will offer a few novel features for travelers — including the ability to take your local sports with you, but stay current with the news from whatever you’re city you’re in.
I met with Dwayne Benefield, the head of PlayStation Vue, who shared some information about what's made the service successful so far, as well as its immediate plans to expand into the mobile space.
Today (Feb. 27), PlayStation Vue will start rolling out updates for its Android and iOS versions to give them better parity with the living-room experience. If you sign up on a mobile device, you can now stream to five devices simultaneously. Previously, PS Vue limited mobile users to three simultaneous broadcasts; only those who signed up on a console, streaming device or smart TV had access to the full five.
Perhaps more importantly, the PS Vue mobile app will now keep track of where you travel, and adjust your viewing options accordingly. Local sports networks, such as NBC Sports and Fox Sports, will remain tuned to your home region. If you live in New York and travel to Los Angeles, for example, you'll still be able to watch Yankee games on the YES Network. This could be good news for frequent travelers who hate missing home games.
Conversely, local broadcast affiliates — NBC, Fox and so forth — will now default to whichever region you're physically in. Our hypothetical New York traveler would see local Los Angeles affiliates on his or her tablet, while family members on the same PS Vue account back home would still see local New York networks.
Sports and more
According to Benefield, PS Vue is currently the largest streaming video-on-demand distributor in the country, as well as the oldest. (The beta launched in Nov. 2014, a few months before Sling TV made its official debut.) While Benefield cites its variety of channels as a major factor behind its success — only DirecTV Now offers more in its basic package — it's hard to deny the primacy of sports.
Keeping up with live sports is one of the primary reasons to invest in a cable replacement service, and the numbers back up that assertion. In the past year, PS Vue has seen a 100 percent increase in Super Bowl viewership, and a 175 percent increase in NCAA college football viewership. Despite the fact that NFL viewership is decreasing in the general populace, PS Vue users streamed 150 percent more hours of it this year than last. Basketball is also a fast-growing area for the cable replacement service.
PS Vue's new mobile features seem to cater most to its sports viewership. If that doesn't describe you, though, Benefield explained that the company is always eager to hear from its customers and implement their most-requested feature. Recently, for example, viewers have been very vocal about a way to organize their DVR libraries beyond PS Vue's default options, and Benefield was not at all averse to looking into it.