Apple TV to PlayStation Vue: You complete me

Apple TV just got a lot more interesting for cord-cutters now that its TV app supports PlayStation Vue.

The TV app, which aggregates video from different providers into a unified TV guide, previously didn’t integrate with any live TV streaming bundles. If you wanted to watch cable channel programming through that guide, you had to download and log into individual apps from networks like NBC and FX. Those apps don’t support DVR the way PlayStation Vue does, they don’t always offer live TV feeds, and in some cases require repeat logins because they don’t support Apple’s single sign-on feature. The whole thing was a hassle that made the TV app easy to ignore.

PlayStation Vue, which starts at $45 per month for more than 45 channels, appears to be the first live TV streaming service that integrates with the TV app. (Hulu says it will also add TV app integration to its $40-per-month live TV service soon.) That means you can access Vue’s on-demand shows, DVR content, and live sports straight from the Apple TV’s default home screen, alongside content from several other apps. With this one addition, Apple’s vision for the future of television seems a lot more complete.

One-stop shop

To be clear, a PlayStation Vue app has been available on Apple TV since late 2016. The difference now is that Vue ties into Apple’s own centralized TV guide, which by default pops up whenever you hit the remote’s home button. (This would be a lot less confusing if Apple used some other name, like Watch or Guide, for the Apple TV’s TV app.)

Why would you use the TV app instead of just opening Vue directly?

For one thing, the TV app lets you browse multiple streaming video sources at the same time. If you’re currently watching shows on PlayStation Vue, Amazon Prime, and PBS, the TV app provides a universal watchlist for catching up on new episodes. And when you’re not sure what to watch, the TV app gives you recommendations that span multiple services.

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The TV app is a hub for all the shows you’re watching on Apple TV.

I’d also argue that the TV app is easier to navigate than PlayStation Vue (and most live TV streaming apps, for that matter). The Vue app isn’t terrible, but it’s still rooted in traditional TV concepts like surfing live channels and scrolling through a sprawling grid guide, and it can also be slow to load.

Apple’s TV app cuts all that cruft away and focuses on a handful of basic concepts. Your watchlist is at the top of the screen for easy access, followed by sporting events, news feeds, and recommendations. (You can also add sporting events to the watchlist and get reminders when they’re live.) The lack of a traditional grid guide seems like an intentional—and in my view, welcome—design choice.

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