Sony yesterday effectively raised the price for all programming packages for its live streaming service, PlayStation Vue, by eliminating an option to subscribe to plans without local channels.
This has already triggered protests from Vue subscribers, particularly those who live in areas where the streaming service doesn’t offer local channels. Those customers can no longer opt to subscribe to Vue without the local channels for the lower price.
“Unless they plan on adding locals (at least some) to more regions, this is honestly unacceptable,” one Vue subscriber wrote on Reddit last night.
It’s not clear how many Vue customers have been getting the Slim plans without local channels. Current customers who have been subscribing to Vue plans with local channels will not see a price increase.
Sony did not provide a reason for the new pricing structure, but it was announced at its web site and in e-mails to current subscribers.
The new pricing plans are as follows:
The Access plan, which offers roughly 45 channels, is now $39.99 a month, regardless of whether you get local channels or not. The Access Slim plan, which previously cost $29.99 a month, did not include local channels, but that package has been eliminated. So if you want the Access plan, you now will have to pay the full $39.99 a month.
The Core package, which offers approximately 60 channels, is now $44.99 a month. Previously, you could get the Core Slim plan without local channels for $34.99 a month.
The Elite package, which offers approximately 90 channels, is now $54.99 a month. The previous price for the Elite Slim (no locals) was $44.99 a month.
And the Ultra package, which offers more than 90 channels, including HBO and Showtime, is $74.99 a month. Previously, you could get Ultra Slim without local channels for $64.99 a month.
Sony said in the e-mail that the old prices will stay effective for current Slim customers for three billing cycles. After that, current subscribers will pay the new prices for Access, Core, Elite and Ultra.
The new prices will be closer to what most rival live streaming services now charge. For instance, DIRECTV Now’s plans start at $35 a month and range to $70 a month while Hulu Live offers a single $39.99 a month plan.
Sling TV continues to sell a $20-a-month package, which has it done since its debut in January 2015.
— Phillip Swann