Sony's streaming TV service is expanding nationwide Monday, giving consumers a potentially cheaper way to get cable channels such as AMC and ESPN.
PlayStation Vue, which had been limited to major cities during its first year, will start at $30 a month in the new regions. That's $10 cheaper than current packages, but it won't include over-the-air channels, such as stations for ABC and Fox. Vue's seven older markets - big cities including New York City and San Francisco - won't have access to the new, cheaper deal.
U.S. consumers are swifting from traditional TV services to online offerings from the likes of Netflix and HBO Now. To reach them, cable and satellite TV companies are launching Internet-based TV services. Dish debuted its $20-a-month Sling TV service last year. Comcast has experimented with online TV packages, though none are offered beyond a few markets. AT&T's DirecTV service plans a nationwide streaming offering. Apple is also trying to develop its own streaming-TV service.
A PlayStation or an Amazon Fire TV device is needed to sign up for Vue.
Sony is offering cable channels live - more than 50 in the starting package. Programs from ABC, Fox, NBC and Telemundo will be available the following day, similar to the way Hulu works.
TV packages for Vue's existing markets won't change. They start at $40 and include the local stations. The broadcast-free, $30 option will be limited to markets outside the initial seven - Chicago, Dallas, Los Angeles, Miami, New York City, Philadelphia and San Francisco, as well as their suburbs.