Stepping up its capabilities amid an increasingly competitive market for virtual pay-TV services, Sony said today that its PlayStation Vue service will now enable PlayStation 4 users to put three channels on their TV screen at the same time.
The feature is available in high-end pay-TV DVRs like Dish Network’s Hopper (which calls it “Sports Bar Mode”), but it isn’t something that has been available in virtual MVPD services yet.
Sony is strategically tying the launch of the new bell and whistle to men’s college basketball’s upcoming March Madness TV viewing extravaganza.
“With March Madness starting next week, this will be a great way to catch several live games at once from TNT, TBS, TruTV and CBS.*”
The asterisk next to CBS is strategic on the part of Sony, which finds itself in a particularly advantageous position in regard to March Madness—a heavy signup period for v-MPVD services.
Neither Dish Network’s Sling TV nor AT&T’s DirecTV Now have access to CBS channels, which will show the hoops tournament's national semifinal and championship games. Meanwhile, the v-MPVD market’s newest entrant, YouTube TV, doesn’t carry Turner Networks channels TNT, TBS and TruTV, which carry all the games leading into the semifinals.
While analysts say Sling TV has surpassed 1.2 million subscribers, and AT&T said DirecTV Now hit 200,000 users after one month on the market, Vue’s usage metrics have been somewhat shrouded in mystery.