PlayStation Vue Will Sell (Sort Of) A La Carte Pay-TV Channels; Launches In L.A., San Francisco

HowToVue-PS4xPS3-535x317Sony’s PlayStation Vue streaming pay-TV service launched earlier this year in three markets and while it offers up competition for traditional cable and satellite providers, the bundles weren’t that different from what we’ve been getting for decades. Tonight, the company announced vague plans to offer more customizable pay-TV options through Vue starting later this year.

At Sony’s E3 press conference, the company said that it would be offering the ability to buy individual channels — without having to buy larger bundles — starting in July. While that news elicited gasps and applause from the crowd, potential cord-cutters should temper their excitement pending further details.

The only stations mentioned as a la carte partners by Sony were Showtime (which we already knew), gaming-centric Machinima, and Fox Soccer Plus. Sony said that PS Plus subscribers will get a discount for these channels, but didn’t give any specific pricing information.

Having a trio of channels sold individually is not quite the same as the true a la carte pay-TV model that a number of consumers have long been asking for (even though it could end up costing a lot more than a regular cable subscription).

This, however, may be a starting point if more networks are willing to give it a shot. But given the negative reaction of some major broadcasters to Verizon’s recent attempt to offer more customizable cable packages, we’d be surprised to see many media giants jumping on this bandwagon. Let’s hope we’re wrong.

The good news for TV viewers — or at least the ones with PlayStations — in Los Angeles and San Francisco is that PS Vue is now available in their markets, giving them a pay-TV option that isn’t Time Warner Cable (or its possible new owner Charter) or Comcast.