Ever since Sony put a DVD player in the PlayStation 2, video game consoles have been expected to pull double duty as gaming systems and entertainment devices. These days, many of us use our PlayStations, Xboxes, and Nintendo Switches to stream TV, movies, and music when we’re not using them to play games. The upcoming PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X will be no different, but there are some major differences in the streaming apps these new consoles will support at launch.
This is important, since not everyone buying a new console will have a smart TV loaded with streaming apps, and these next-gen gamers might be expecting to do all of their streaming through their new PS5 or Xbox Series X. However, depending on which console you buy, early adopters will need alternative ways to access all of their video and music apps.
Xbox Series X streaming apps
Let’s start with Xbox. According to Microsoft, the Xbox Series X (and Series S) will have immediate access to all preexisting entertainment apps on the Xbox One. Notable services include:
- Amazon Prime Video
- Amazon Music
- HBO Max and HBO Go
- Hulu (including Hulu with Live TV)
- YouTube, YouTube Music, and YouTube TV
Several channel-specific streaming apps will also be available on the new Xboxes day-one, such as, CBS All-Access, NBC, Crackle, and Telemundo—just to name a few. You can see the full list of the Xbox entertainment apps here. (Note that Apple TV isn’t on this list.)
PlayStation 5 streaming apps
The PS5, on the other hand, has much more limited streaming video support at launch. Here are all the streaming apps confirmed for the PS5 (so far):
- Apple TV
The PS5’s only exclusive is Apple TV. That’s a notable addition, but the PS5’s launch-day list is definitely lacking in comparison to Microsoft’s gaming boxes. Hulu, Prime Video, and Plex are notable omissions on the PS5, considering all have PlayStation 4 apps you can download and use right now. A slew of niche and channel-specific apps are also skipping the PS5’s launch but will be available on Xbox Series X.
(That said, Sony notes that, “Additional streaming apps coming to PS5 include Amazon Prime Video, MyCanal, Hulu, Peacock, and more.” So, they’ll get there eventually, but not on launch day.)
What about 4K streaming?
The PS5 and Xbox Series X support 4K, HDR video and high refresh rate displays, but we don’t yet know if you’ll be able to stream 4K content from all the available apps on day one. The most likely scenario that it will vary from app to app—many don’t support 4K, and those that do only have a limited selection of 4K content. It’s a safe bet that at least some streaming apps will display in 4K on the PS5 and Xbox Series X.
To be clear, these comparisons aren’t meant as arguments in favor of one console over the other, but it’s still worth keeping in mind if you have a PS5 or Xbox Series X preordered. Unless something is announced within the next couple of weeks (entirely possible), you should find an alternative way to stream the services that won’t be available on your PS5 or Xbox Series X. Maybe keep your older console hooked up, or try plugging your laptop or smartphone into your TV and watching that way—at least until your favorite streaming apps are available on the new console.