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Of all the streaming devices on the market, Sony’s PlayStation is the only one made by a company with its own streaming TV service. That’s why the PlayStation 4 has the smallest selection of streaming TV options in the modern tech landscape. If you want to stream live TV on PlayStation 4, there are only two ways to do it, one free and one for a monthly fee. If you’re ready to stream live TV on your PlayStation 4, here’s everything you need to know, from what services are available to you to how much you’ll pay.
PlayStation 4 Live TV: How to watch your favorite channels
- Cost: $44.99-$79.99 per month (after a 7-day free trial)
- PlayStation Vue devices: PlayStation 3 and 4, Roku, Amazon Fire Stick and Fire TV, Google Chromecast, Kodi, iOS and Android devices
- PlayStation Vue local channels: NBC, Fox, ABC, CBS (enter your ZIP code here to check your availability)
There’s only one company Sony wants making money from streaming TV on the PlayStation 4, and that’s Sony. If you want to stream live cable and your favorite local channels on PS4, PlayStation Vue is your only option. The good news is that it’s a darn good service.
PlayStation Vue, or PS Vue, has packages ranging from 51 to 89 channels, each featuring big-name networks like Cartoon Network, ESPN, MSNBC, Food Network, Fox Sports, and more. Even the starter PS Vue package rivals what cable companies offer new subscribers. If you’re looking for more channels, PS Vue has the most reasonable price range of multi-tiered services. Its first three packages start at $44.99 and top out at $59.99. (Here are all of the PlayStation Vue channels.)
The most expensive option, PlayStation Vue’s $79.99 Ultra, includes HBO and Showtime. That means you get two the biggest movie channels for just $20 a month, instead of $14.99 and $9.99, respectively.
If you’re still looking for more entertainment, PlayStation Vue offers a wide range of add-on channels, from sports packages to premium movie channels to a collection of Spanish options. All subscribers get access to local channels, although your options will differ depending on where you live. Your membership to PlayStation Vue also comes with unlimited cloud DVR storage. Recordings are saved for 28 days so you won’t be able to hoard old Simpsons episodes forever, but you’ll never miss a show because you were out of space.
Each PlayStation Vue account can be streamed on up to five different devices at once. This feature comes in handy for families with multiple children or friend groups sharing an account. Vue on the PlayStation 4 also includes picture-in-picture mode that allows users to view up to three live channels at once. Currently, PlayStation Vue is the only streaming service that has this feature.
2) Pluto TV
- Cost: Free
- Devices: Desktop/laptop, iOS and Android devices, Pluto TV app on select Smart TVs from Vizio, Samsung, Sony, and more
Sony isn’t entirely opposed to other companies playing in its yard—as long as they don’t charge a fee. PlayStation 4 owners can also use Pluto TV, the greatest free streaming TV service on Earth. Granted, there aren’t many right now, but Pluto TV sets a hard-to-top standard.
Rather than offering traditional channels, Pluto TV draws its content from online streams, and there are over 100 streaming channels to explore. So while you won’t find ESPN or Cartoon Network, you’ll find a host of sports and cartoon channels. Comedy Central proper isn’t available, but two channels still stream its content. You won’t get MTV, but there are five channels with MTV programming.
Pluto TV has news from sources you trust, like CBS, CNN, NBC News, Bloomberg, and WeatherNation. Want sports? You’ll find everything from pro-wrestling (IMPACT!) and MMA (Fight) to Fox Sports, Major League Soccer, and more. There are over 20 stations devoted to comedy, multiple anime channels, music and visual relaxation channels, and traditional TV programming.
There are 25-plus movie channels, each a different genre, running 24 hours a day on Pluto TV. While you won’t be getting fresh releases, these aren’t just B-movies. Pluto TV is often a great way to catch up on classics you might have missed or want to rewatch like The Matrix, A.I., The Terminator, Indecent Proposal, Hugo, and Charade.
If you don’t want to wait for something to start, Pluto TV also offers on-demand programming. In an era where streaming-exclusive content is replacing classic movies, you can still watch Legally Blonde, True Grit, Planes, Trains, and Automobiles, Rango, Star Trek II on Pluto TV. Maybe you prefer episodic series? Enjoy Unsolved Mysteries, Cold Case Files, Forensic Files, Kitchen Nightmares, and more.
When I tested Pluto TV, I wanted to see if I would ever get bored. Pluto TV never let me down, always providing more options than we could ever use. From True Crime to classic sitcoms, there’s a little bit of everything. Its only weakness is the lack of first-run content but, again, it’s a free service.
The best endorsement of Pluto TV is that I use it every week, even while subscribing to a pay streaming TV service. Don’t look this gift horse in the mouth; throw a saddle on Pluto TV and ride it into entertainment heaven.
New to cord-cutting? Here are our picks for the best movie streaming sites of 2019 and free live TV apps and channels. If you’re looking for premium services, here’s how to watch HBO, Showtime, and Starz online. Want a specific channel? Here’s how to stream A&E, AMC, Animal Planet, BBC, Bravo, Cartoon Network/Adult Swim, CNN, CNBC, C-SPAN, Comedy Central, the CW, Discovery, Disney Channel, ESPN, ESPN2, ESPN3, ESPNU, Food Network, Fox News, Freeform, FS1 and FS2, FX, Golf Channel, Hallmark, HGTV, History Channel, HLN, Lifetime, MSNBC, MTV, National Geographic, NBA TV, Nickelodeon, PBS, Sundance TV, Syfy, TBS, Tennis Channel, TLC, TNT, the Weather Channel, Willow, VH1, and NFL RedZone without cable, as well as free movies on YouTube. If you’re on the move, here’s how to watch Fox Sports Go and live stream NBC Sports.
John-Michael Bond is a tech reporter and culture writer for Daily Dot. A longtime cord-cutter and early adopter, he's an expert on streaming services (Hulu with Live TV), devices (Roku, Amazon Fire), and anime. A former staff writer for TUAW, he's knowledgeable on all things Apple and Android. You can also also find him regularly performing standup comedy in Los Angeles.