PS4's PlayStation Vue Vs. Xbox One's Sling TV

What's most important to you?

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This week we've seen PlayStation and Microsoft go head to head, not in trying to control video games, but in trying to conquer the rest of your living room experience. It's not the first time both companies have tried entering the premium television content game. Sony has been trying out its own original programming in Powers recently, and Microsoft shut down an experimental Xbox One entertainment division last year.

But the current services the two companies offer are very different, both from one another and from their past attempts. Sling TV, which is now available nationwide on Xbox One, is a known quantity that straddles the line between on-demand programming options and live TV. PlayStation Vue, on the other hand, is essentially a replacement for cable and your DVR, but with the price to match.

It's hard to draw a hard comparison, since the channels that are important to you might be very different from someone else. Neither service has HBO access, mostly because they seem to be doing their own thing with Apple. Sling TV can't doesn't allow access to the major networks: ABC, CBS, NBC, Fox and PBS. [Full disclosure: GameSpot is owned by CBS Interactive.] PlayStation Vue, meanwhile doesn't have anything from Disney, including ABC or ESPN.

From GameSpot sister site CNET, here's a quick run-down comparing the core features and pricing for the two services.

PlayStation VueSling TV
Base package$50/month for 60 channels$20/month for 20 channels
Step-up packages+$10/month (some regional sports), $20/month (26 additional channels)+$5/month each (roughly 5 Sports, LifeStyle, Movie or News channels per package)
Current availabilityNew York, Chicago, Philadelphia (more cities coming soon)Nationwide
Compatible TV devicesPlayStation 3, PlayStation 4Roku (TVs, boxes and streaming stick), Amazon Fire TV and Fire TV Stick, Xbox One
Compatible mobile and PC devicesiPad (coming soon)Android phones and tablets, iOS phones and tablets (iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch), PC and Mac computers
Compatible authentication/TV Everywhere apps10 at launch, 35 more "coming soon"Curently only Watch ESPN, more "coming soon"
Free TrialYesYes
No contract, cancel anytimeYesYes
Simultaneous streams per account3 simultaneous, but only one PS4 at a time.1
Pause, rewind, fast-forwardYes (all channels)Only select channels
Record shows for laterYes (keep for up to 28 days)No
3 day replaySelect channels and showsSelect channels and shows
BrowseGuide, filters and personalized recommendationsGuide only
Parental controlsYesNo
Bandwidth limiterNoYes
Audio format2-channel stereo2-channel stereo

And to go in more depth, here's a list of all the channels available on each tier of service for Vue and Sling TV.

PlayStation Vue $50 Option (Access)

  • 50 channels total
  • Broadcast: CBS, CBS Plus, Cozi TV, Exitos, FOX, MyNetwork, NBC, Telemundo
  • Network: Animal Planet, BET, Bravo, Cartoon/Adult Swim, CBS, CMT, CNBC, CNN, Comedy Central, Destination America, Discovery Channel, Discovery Family, DIY, E!, Esquire, Food Network, Fox Business, Fox News Networks, FOX Sports 1, FOX Sports 2, FX, FXX, HGTV, HLN, Investigation Discovery, MSNBC, MTV, MTV2, Nat Geo, NBC Sports Network, Nick Jr., Nickelodeon, Nicktoons, OWN, Oxygen, Science, Spike, Syfy, TBS, TLC, TNT, TruTV, Travel Channel, TV Land, USA Network, VH1.
  • AMC networks will be available in April (including AMC, IFC, Sundance, and WE tv)

PlayStation Vue $60 Option (Core)

  • All of the $50 channels plus:
  • Network: BTN, Golf Channel, TCM
  • New York Only: YES Network
  • Philadelphia Only: Comcast SportsNet Philadelphia
  • Chicago Only: Comcast SportsNet Chicago

PlayStation Vue $70 Option (Elite)

  • All of the above channels plus:
  • Network: American Heroes, BET Gospel, Boomerang, Centric, Chiller, Cloo, CMT Pure Country, CNBC World, Cooking Channel, Discovery Fit & Health, FOX College Sports Atlantic, FOX College Sports Central, FOX College Sports Pacific, FXM, LOGO, MTV Hits, MTV Jams, mtvU, Nat Geo Wild, PALLADIA, Sprout, TeenNick, Universal, Velocity, VH1 Classic, VH1 Soul.
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Sling TV options on Xbox One are a little more a la carte:

Sling TV PackageMonthly PriceChannels
The Best of Live TV (Core)$20ESPN, ESPN2, AMC, TNT, TBS, CNN, A&E, Lifetime, History, Food Network, HGTV, Travel Channel, Cartoon Network/Adult Swim, Disney Channel, ABC Family, IFC, H2, El Rey Network, Maker, Galavision
Sports Extra$5SEC Network, ESPNEWS, ESPNU, Universal Sports, Univision Deportes, beIN Sports, ESPN Buzzer Beater, ESPN Bases Loaded, ESPN Goal Line
Kids Extra$5Disney Junior, Disney XD, Boomerang, Baby TV, Duck TV
Lifestyle Extra$5truTV, Cooking Channel, DIY, WE tv, FYI, LMN
World News Extra$5Bloomberg TV, HLN, Euro News, France 24, NDTV 24/7, News 18, Russia Today
Hollywood Extra$5EPIX, EPIX2, EPIX3, EPIX Drive-In, Sundance TV

If that content feels a little light compared to what you might find on cable, it is. From CNET, here's a list of what you can't find on the services:

Top Sling TV Channels Missing from PlayStation Vue

Base package ($20/month)ESPN, ESPN2, History, Lifetime, A&E, Disney Channel, ABC Family, H2
Add-on packagesESPN News, ESPNU, SEC Network, EPIX, Disney Junior, Disney XD, LMN

Top PlayStation Vue channels Missing from Sling TV

Base package ($50/month)CBS, Fox, NBC, Fox News, Comedy Central, Nickelodeon, Bravo, FX, SyFy, USA, Discovery, Animal Planet, Nat Geo, BET, CNBC, MSNBC, E!, TLC, VH1
Add-on packagesYES Network,* Comcast SportsNet*, Golf Channel, Big Ten Network, TCM, Universal, Fox College Sports, Palladia, FXM

*Regional sports network (RSN) available in New York, Philadelphia, or Chicago.

Top Channels Missing From Both Sling TV and PlayStation Vue
GeneralPBS, ABC, CW, BBC America, CSPAN, The Weather Channel
SportsMLB TV, NBA TV, NFL Network, NFL Red Zone, MSG,* SNY,* most other regional sports networks

*Regional sports networks in New York

For gamers, the TV options are possibly a nice side offering for your console of choice, but neither one has a laid out solution that's perfect for everyone. Not yet, anyway. For even more in-depth and comparisons of the services, be on the lookout for upcoming reviews on CNET. In the meantime, here's everything you need to know about Sling TV.

But what do you think? Vue, Sling, neither, both? Let us know what you think about the services in the comments below!

Justin Haywald on Google+

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