PlayStation Vue is a very good cable alternative. For a price starting at $39.99/month, you can get a package of 50+ channels, simultaneous streaming on 5 devices, and a reasonable DVR.



However, PlayStation Vue is not right for everyone. In this article, we’ll take a look at some of the problems you may encounter when using PlayStation Vue, and what streaming services make a good alternative. Let’s get started.

The Biggest Problems with PlayStation Vue

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Source: PlayStation Vue

Somewhat expensive

At $39.99/month, PlayStation Vue is not exactly a bargain option when it comes to replacing cable. A basic cable package usually costs around $50-$60 a month. Other services like Philo and Sling are much cheaper.



RelatedSling TV Review – Free Trial, Cost, Channels and Value

DVR’ed shows only last 28 days

We’re a bit torn about PlayStation Vue’s DVR. On one hand, you get completely unrestricted recording capabilities. You can record as many shows as you want, with no recording conflicts, and store them with unlimited capacity in the cloud.

Yet there is a pretty big limitation – you can only view these shows for 28 days. If you regularly have the opportunity to clear out your DVR, this may be fine for you. However, if you are busy and can’t always watch a lot of content at once, you may end up missing out on episodes of your favorite shows when they’re deleted after 4 weeks. In addition, some CBS-affiliated channels are not recordable with the DVR.



There are also some people who have said that the DVR does not always work properly, and saves your recording as “On-Demand” shows, rather than DVR recordings. In turn, this disables fast-forwarding and rewinding functionality, forcing you to sit through commercials. However, this seems to be limited to shows on FOX and AMC.

Limited on-demand functionality

Compared to some other services like YouTube TV and Hulu With Live TV, PlayStation Vue has somewhat limited on-demand functionality. You can select certain shows and movies to save to “My Shows” on PlayStation Vue, and watch them on-demand. However, availability of this content is limited based on each particular channel, and they’re only viewable for a short period of time.

What Alternatives are there to Playstation Vue?

Do the above problems have you reconsidering your PS Vue subscription? Here are your other choices.



DirecTV Now

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Source: DirecTV Now

DirecTV Now has a great selection of cable channels. There are 4 different channel packages available, and the cheapest one will run you $35/month for 60+ channels. The basic plan includes CNN, Comedy Central, and Cartoon Network, as well as AMC, FX, and dozens of other top channels.

Given that it’s a bit cheaper than PlayStation Vue, DirecTV Now is a solid budget alternative to the more expensive streaming service. You also get access to over 25,000 shows and movies with DirecTV Now On-Demand, usually only a few hours after they are aired. This is a better deal compared to PlayStation Vue.

However, there are a few drawbacks of DirecTV Now which may not make it the best choice for you as a PlayStation Vue alternative. First, DirecTV lacks a DVR. You can’t record your shows unless you’re part of the DVR beta program. DirecTV says that customers will all get access to a free DVR “sometime in 2018”, but we’re yet to hear further details about the plan for DVR rollout.

Another limitation: you can also only stream on 2 devices at once. Compared to PlayStation Vue’s 5-device limit, that’s pretty restrictive. However, it may not be an issue if you do not want to share an account with your family and friends.

If you are an AT&T Unlimited Choice subscriber, you can get a basic “The Good Stuff” package for just $20/month. For that price, DirecTV is worth looking into, even though you won’t be able to use a DVR.

Check out the service now with a free 7-day trial, and see if it’s for you.

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Sling TV

sling tv playstation vue cable alternative streaming service skinny bundle
Source: Sling TV

Sling TV is a good choice for a budget alternative to PlayStation Vue, even though their subscription model is a bit confusing and hard to understand. Here’s a quick breakdown of how Sling’s plans work.

Sling TV base subscriptions come in two colors – the Orange package and the Blue package.

Sling TV Orange costs $20/month, and consists of around 30 channels. You’ll get top networks such as AMC, ESPN, and A&E, as well as Disney, TBS, and TNT. Your selection is limited, compared to PlayStation Vue, but for half the price, that’s not surprising.

The primary issue with Sling TV Orange is that you can only stream on one device at a time. Again, this is not a problem if you do not share your accounts, but if you are looking to replace PlayStation Vue for your family, this is a big deal.

Sling Blue improves upon Sling Orange somewhat. You can get 45+ channels for $25/month with Blue, including FX/FXX, SyFy, USA and TBS, and most of the channels on Sling Orange (with notable exception being ESPN). You can also stream on 3 devices at once, which is a pretty good deal.

You will also have to pay extra for a DVR with Sling TV if you want one. DVR service costs $5/month. It’s a 50-hour DVR with no expiration dates.

If you want, you can combine Sling Orange and Sling Blue to get full channel coverage. That will cost you $40/month, and you can stream on 4 devices simultaneously (3 for Blue channels, 1 for Orange channels). You can also choose from a selection of other channel packages, and add them to your subscription for an extra fee.

Sling TV does also offer a pretty good library of VOD content, and it’s slightly easier to access than it is on PlayStation Vue.

Overall, Sling TV Blue or Sling TV Orange is a good choice if you need a low-budget alternative to PlayStation Vue, and don’t mind missing out on some features. However, paying $40/month for the Blue + Orange package doesn’t really make sense. The combo is more expensive than PlayStation Vue if you include a DVR.

Check this service out for yourself with a free 7-day trial.

Philo

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Source: Philo

If you’re on a tight budget, and you don’t mind missing out on quite a few cable channels and live sports coverage, Philo could be a good replacement for PlayStation Vue.

Philo offers two packages: a $16/month package with 37 channels and a $20/month 46-channel option. The channel menu includes Comedy Central, A&E, AMC, MTV, IFC, HGTV and quite a few other standard cable channels.

However, there is a complete absence of local channels like FOX/ABC/CBS/NBC. Plus, there are no sports channels. If you’re a sports fan, Philo is definitely not the right choice for you.

Philo also does not have the best VOD library, with only about 1,000 hours of on-demand content available. However, you can stream Philo content on 3 devices at once. Additionally, Philo’s DVR is a slight improvement on PlayStation Vue’s. Philo comes with an DVR that lets you record unlimited content for 30 days.

It’s hard to recommend Philo as an all-in-one alternative to PlayStation Vue. You just won’t get the same experience. But if you’re primarily interested in cable entertainment, don’t mind missing out on sports, and are on a tight budget, it’s definitely a reasonable alternative.

You can check Philo out with a free 7-day trial, using just your phone number.

Hulu With Live TV

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Source: Hulu With Live TV

Hulu With Live TV offers PlayStation Vue some extremely stiff competition. The two services have a very similar channel lineup and they both cost $39.99/month, so it’s hard not to draw direct comparisons between them.

You will get 55+ cable channels if you get Hulu, including entertainment programming like FX/FXX and A&E, NBC/CBS/ABC/FOX, and sports channels such as ESPN and Fox Sports.

One of the biggest selling points of Hulu With Live TV is that your $39.99 subscription comes with a basic Hulu subscription. This makes Hulu the best way to catch up on both live TV and VOD content. You won’t find a better, easier to browse library of VOD television from any other “skinny bundle” service.

Hulu With Live TV also has a pretty good DVR. It’s not unlimited – you only get 50 hours of recordings – but there are no content expiration dates. Hulu’s unlimited DVR is a better deal compared to the PlayStation Vue’s 28-day DVR. You can also boost your DVR capacity to 200 hours with the Enhanced DVR option if you get Hulu, but that will cost you an extra $15/month.

Simultaneous streaming is the main area where Hulu With Live TV falls behind PlayStation Vue. You can only stream on 2 devices at once with Hulu. However, you can opt to pay $15/month for Hulu’s “Unlimited Screens” package, which lets you get unlimited streams on your home WiFi network. Or, you can combine Unlimited Screens and Enhanced DVR packages for a single $20/month fee.

If you like Hulu, Hulu With Live TV is a better option than Vue. It’s not cheaper, but it does have some strong points that make it a viable alternative.

YouTube TV

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Source: YouTube TV

YouTube TV is a newer streaming service, and is not yet available in every location in the United States. However, it is expanding rapidly.

YouTube TV is cheaper than PlayStation Vue, at $35/month. For that price, you get a single set selection of channels that’s surprisingly comprehensive.

With YouTube TV, you get sports coverage from Fox Sports and ESPN and EPSN2, as well as local channels like FOX/NBC/CBS/NBC. Plus, you get a handful of entertainment channels such as FX, SyFy, and USA. Notably, Turner Broadcasting channels and Viacom channels like Comedy Central, TBS, and Cartoon network are absent.

YouTube TV has several advantages over PlayStation Vue. YouTube TV’s selection of on-demand content is strong and easy to access and browse, and it has the best DVR of any cable alternative. You can save unlimited TV recordings for a full 9 months, which is nearly 10x longer than you can save recordings with PlayStation Vue.

YouTube TV does not offer as many simultaneous streams as PlayStation Vue, but you can watch on 3 devices at once.

YouTube TV is cheaper than PlayStation Vue, and has a better DVR and comparable on-demand functionality. You’ll miss out on a couple channels, but that may be worth it if you’re looking to save a few bucks.

Our Verdict – The Best Alternative for PlayStation Vue

The budget option

The best choice here is Sling TV. With Sling TV, you won’t get nearly as many channels as you do with PlayStation Vue. However, you can get a good selection of live sports coverage as well as quite a few cable entertainment channels.

Philo is also a competitive budget option. At $16, Philo is definitely much cheaper than PlayStation Vue. However, Philo’s total lack of sports coverage could be a big problem.

Our top overall picks

Hulu With Live TV is an excellent choice if you like Hulu’s on-demand content don’t mind being having fewer simultaneous streaming options. It’s the same price as PlayStation Vue, but it’s slew of optional features makes it very competitive.

YouTube TV is also a great all-around pick. You get to stream on 3 devices with YouTube TV, plus you get a solid selection of channels. Plus, YouTube TV has the best cloud-based DVR offered by any “skinny bundle” service.

The outliers

We didn’t mention fuboTV here, because it costs $39.99/month and is not a great alternative to PlayStation Vue unless you really like rugby, soccer, and other international sports. However, if you are a big sports fan and don’t care too much about cable entertainment channels, fuboTV may be worth a try. Check out a free 7-day trial on their website.

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DirecTV Now may also be worth considering. It’s an okay service, but the total lack of a DVR really cripples it. If you can get it for $20/month with if you have AT&T Unlimited Choice. But if you’re not with AT&T, it’s not a great deal.

  • Darrell Birkey

    The fact that each of the streaming services is different so means that one of them is more perfect for you and another is more perfect for me. Isn’t that what we really want? There will never be one that is the right price/channel mix for everyone… and that’s a good thing. People cut the cord to get what they want not what others want.
    For me Vue is by far the best. One thing you missed when talking about on demand for Vue and other services it that signing up for Vue or the others also gives you availability to the individual channel apps of Roku and the other players.
    Fro example, on Vue I get the ESPN channels, but I also get access to the ESPN Roku channel that allows me to streaming everything on demand that ESPN offers… including ESPN 3.
    You don’t have to tell us which one is best as long as you tells us what each offers.

    • The Hockey Spaz

      I agree with you 100%. Well said Darrell.

  • The Hockey Spaz

    I am a bit biased by this review for 2 reasons.
    #1 – You failed to mention what devices you can utilize these streaming services for. Philo is fantastic in my opinion, but is a “Noob” in the era of the streaming devices it can be used on so maybe you should omit this service since you did it for FuboTV also because its “not a great alternative” since it only provides mostly sports channels. At least it’s on all streaming devices and Amazon Fire will be coming out in June or July of 2018.
    #2 – Why do you decide to play Hippity hop like at a barber shop with you review that each one is great but has its downside…did you consider how well their customer service is when there is an issue? How about downtime to restore services when there is an outage?

    Like I said, “Biased” I think they are all equally great but when it comes to the budget option based on pricing, Philo is currently $16. So if it’s not about anything but the $, Philo baby….Philo.

  • kevin o’donnell

    Eric, can u share any info about Hulu live coming out of beta? Specifically if they have plans to address chronic buffering problem on live streaming?
    Thanks