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ESPN, Disney and ABC networks finally coming to PlayStation Vue

Sony will soon fill a major hole in the channel lineup for PlayStation Vue, its streaming pay-TV service: The company has signed an agreement with Disney and ESPN Media Networks to bring channels such as ESPN, ABC and the Disney Channel to Vue, the companies announced today.

Since its launch in March, PlayStation Vue has offered three of the four major broadcast networks — CBS, Fox and NBC — and upward of 80 additional channels in its most expensive package. But Disney had been the lone holdout among the major media conglomerates that agreed to bring their networks to Vue, leaving the service without key channels such as ESPN and ABC Family.

"The addition of Disney and ESPN's primetime programming and live marquee sports to our portfolio ensures subscribers will have access to the most popular network programming on television today," said Dwayne Benefield, vice president and head of PlayStation Vue at Sony Network Entertainment International, in a press release today.

Sony's agreement with Disney and ESPN Media Networks covers 18 channels that will be coming to Vue at a later date; Sony did not provide any details on timing today. The list does not encompass all cable television channels owned by Disney and ESPN; notable exceptions include all the A&E Networks channels, such as A&E, History and Lifetime.

ABC's local affiliates will be able to opt into Vue in the seven cities where its multi-channel packages are available — Chicago, Dallas, Los Angeles, Miami, New York, Philadelphia and San Francisco — and regardless of whether the affiliate's live feed is viewable, ABC's prime-time programming will be available on demand in those markets.

The addition of ABC, Disney and ESPN networks to PlayStation Vue makes the service much more viable than ever before, although heavy hitters such as HBO remain missing from its channel lineup. And there's no word on where these channels will slot into Vue's programming tiers, which are still not cheap at $49.99 per month ("Access," currently 50-plus channels), $59.99 per month ("Core," 60-plus channels) and $69.99 per month ("Elite," 85-plus channels). Of course, those prices are for Vue alone; you need to pay separately for broadband internet access, and in many locations, it's cheaper to simply pay a company like Time Warner Cable or Comcast for a bundle.

Vue is available on iPad, iPhone, PlayStation 3 and PlayStation 4. Sony's main competitor is Dish Network's Sling TV, a streaming service that is available on a much wider range of devices (including the Xbox One) and, starting at $20 per month, costs much less than Vue. However, Sling TV doesn't offer any broadcast networks or DVR functionality, and you can only pause and rewind live TV on a few channels. Vue's interface and feature set far exceed those of Sling TV, so in essence, you get what you pay for.

We've reached out to Sony for more details on Vue's pricing tiers for the channel lineup, which you can see below, and the availability of ABC's local affiliates. We'll update this article with any information we receive.

  • ABC Owned Stations Group
  • ABC Family (becoming Freeform in January)
  • Disney Channel
  • Disney Junior
  • Disney XD
  • ESPN
  • ESPN2
  • ESPN College Extra
  • ESPN Deportes
  • ESPN Classic
  • ESPN Goal Line
  • ESPN Buzzer Beater
  • ESPN Bases Loaded
  • Fusion
  • Longhorn Network
  • SEC-ESPN Network

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