Ditching cable TV using your Roku just got easier.
Today Sony announced that the app for its PlayStaion Vue live TV service is available for download to Roku, CNET's favorite platform for streaming to TVs. The app works with Roku Streaming Stick, Roku boxes and Roku TVs.
Sony also said that a Vue app for Android phones and tablets would be available next week. Like the existing iOS app for Apple phones and tablets, it will require an existing Vue subscription on another device (like a Roku, Amazon Fire TV or PlayStation 3 or 4 console).
In my review of Vue earlier this year I gave it a higher rating than competing live TV service Sling TV, mainly due to its larger channel selection, innovative cloud DVR, and advanced interface including profiles for different family members. It's more expensive than Sling, especially if you live in a city where local live broadcast channels are offered, but it's better overall.
Sling, meanwhile, recently launched on Apple TV.
Roku app simpler but less capable than original
In a quick hands-on test of the Roku app, the first thing I noticed is that the interface looks very different from the original Vue app as seen on PlayStation or Amazon Fire TV. It's much simpler, with plain text labels, big thumbnails and no overlays of moving video. Only two rows are available to see at once, so you'll have to scroll more to get to categories like My Shows and Channels.
I can guess why Sony went with the simpler interface here. Many Roku devices have relatively weak processors, especially compared to a PlayStation or Fire TV box, and Vue's original interface on a Fire TV Stick (with its slower processor) was a poor user experience.
With my 2016 Roku stick, Vue's interface is extremely quick, loading the next thumbnails as fast as I could click. Shows loaded fast too, and the DVR responded with alacrity.
Skipping commercials was basically a crap shoot, however, because unlike on the original Vue app, there's nothing displayed while you scan forward, so you have to guess where to resume. That issue alone makes Roku's app significantly worse than the original.
My first impression? I'd prefer to Vue via Roku than a clunky Fire TV stick, but the Fire TV box and PlayStation consoles (with a traditional remote, not the game controller) provide the best Vue experience.