PlayStation shutting down ‘Vue’ streaming service

The Sony Corp. PlayStation Vue TV service is demonstrated during the E3 Electronic Entertainment Expo in Los Angeles, California, U.S., on Wednesday, June 17, 2015. Sony Corp. and Microsoft Corp. touted exclusive new video games, access to old titles and reality-bending headsets at dueling presentations this week, each seeking the slightest advantage in the fierce rivalry between the two largest makers of entertainment consoles. Photographer: Patrick T. Fallon/Bloomberg via Getty Images

NEW YORK — Thursday marks the final day of PlayStation Vue’s existence.

Beginning Friday, its users will have to search for a new way to stream their favorite cable networks. Sony, which announced the closure in October, explained it was closing Vue because of rising content costs and said it would rather focus on its core gaming business.

Vue was available as an internet-connected app for a number of devices, including Roku, Amazon Fire TV, Apple TV and Sony’s own PlayStation consoles. The cheapest package for a few dozen channels and a DVR began at $49.99 per month.

The service faced tough competition when it began in 2015 because a wave of other cord-cutter bundles launched around the same time. For example, Dish Network’s Sling, Hulu with live TV, Google’s YouTube TV and AT&T’s formerly named DirecTV Now (now known as AT&T TV Now) all began within two years of each other. (AT&T owns CNN’s parent company WarnerMedia.)

Sony’s service also never caught on. Research firm eMarketer most recently estimated that Vue had 800,000 subscribers. The most popular service with live TV is Sling, with 2.4 million subscribers.

The surge in these services are driven by people wanting cheaper alternatives to cable or satellite TV. But the prices of programming licensing deals continue to soar and companies are passing along the prices to customers, which is leading to price hikes. Hulu announced two price increases for its live TV service last year.

More people are still using old-fashioned cable and satellite services rather than what the new streaming competitors are offering. EMarketer estimates that the number of US households with pay-TV last year was 86.5 million, while those with a cord-cutter package only came out to 9.1 million.

Here are some of Vue’s biggest competitors.

Sling TV

Sling has the most variety out of all the packages, and it begins at $30 per month. The service is easily customizable because it sells add-on packages of channels for sports or international networks that start at an additional $5 per month.

AT&T Now

The cheapest package now costs $65 per month. It includes HBO, more than 45 channels and a DVR that holds 20 hours of shows. There’s also a sports-centric package that is $80 per month with 60 channels.

Hulu with Live TV

Hulu combines its on-demand service with live TV channels for $54.99 per month. It has more than 60 channels and a DVR with 50 hours of storage.

YouTube TV

Google’s service costs $49.99 per month for more than 70 channels and a DVR with unlimited storage.

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