Sony announces big changes to their streaming services

Sony announced last week that they were making amendments to the availability of several streaming services that they offer across the globe. The changes are quite far-reaching, and indicate that they’re finally ready to move on from supporting old equipment in order to spur on sales of new hardware. The affected services are PlayStation Now, their game streaming service for PS3-exclusive titles, as well as PlayStation Video, a streaming service for video content that was formerly known as Video Unlimited. Among the announced changes, the most notable one is that PS3, PS Vita, and PS TV consoles will no longer be able to stream games from PS Now.

In a blog post, Sony announced that as of 15 August 2017, they will be shutting down access to some streaming services to these products:

  • PlayStation 3
  • PlayStation Vita and PlayStation TV
  • All 2013, 2014, 2015 Sony Bravia TV models
  • All Sony Blu-ray player models
  • All Samsung TV models

Their motivation for the move is that they might be spreading themselves too thin across the supported device spectrum, and will concentrate on making PS Now compatible and a great experience on PlayStation 4 and Windows 10 PCs. “This move puts us in the best position to grow the service even further”, Sony explains. Sony’s engineers haven’t been able to crack virtualising PS3 games on the PS4 yet, it seems, which means that they’ll have no real answer to backwards compatibility the same way the Xbox One does.

“If you do not wish to continue your subscription, please remember to disable auto-renewal in your account settings so that your subscription ends by April 1, 2017 on 2016 Sony Bravia TVs, and August 15, 2017 on all other devices,” Sony warns further down in the blog post. Oh well, at least you can finally use a DualShock 4 controller on a Windows PC through a dedicated Bluetooth adapter.

In addition, Sony is also terminating video streaming through PlayStation Video/Video Unlimited on a number of dedicated devices like Smart TVs, Blu-Ray players, and some AV receivers and set-top boxes. This is an interesting development, because almost all of the affected devices like the set-top boxes do not support the H.265 video codec, which Sony was going to move to, to reduce bandwidth requirements for their streaming services. H.265 support is also needed for Netflix streaming at 4K resolutions, and perhaps the requirement for HDCP 2.2 support is also a factor in Sony dropping support for these older devices.

It’s not ideal, but that’s the way the cookie crumbles. If you have an affected device (which you can look for in this list), Sony advises that you terminate your subscription before 1 April 2017 in order to not be billed for extra months that you can’t use.

Source: Tom’s Hardware, PlayStation blog