Sony expands Vue to L.A. and S.F, underwhelms cord-cutters with tiny a la carte offering

Sony announced the immediate expansion of its streaming pay-TV service, Vue, to Los Angeles and San Francisco. 

sony vue playstation
Sony's Vue service

But, in a move that will likely disappoint cord cutters, the Japanese electronics conglomerate touted a minimal selection (only three) of a la carte channels alongside its existing, very traditional-looking program bundle. Critics contend that Sony's Vue service has no price or choice advantage over existing, traditional cable options.

"Starting in July, we will be offering a la carte channels nationwide, and we will be the first pay TV service to allow users to subscribe to individual channels without the purchase of a multi-channel bundle," said Andrew House, president and global CEO of Sony Computer Entertainment, during the company's media event at the E3 gaming in show in L.A.

PlayStation Vue's initial a la carte offering includes Showtime's new stand-alone streaming service, which of course is already available in a la carte form. There's also Machinima, which can also be viewed without a pay-TV subscription at its point of origin, YouTube. The third channel is Fox Soccer Plus.

PlayStation Vue launched in March in New York, Chicago and Philadelphia with a $50-a-month base price for a fairly robust channel selection that includes broadcast networks and most major-conglomerate cable channels. Conspicuously missing has been ESPN.

With one media tech analyst calling Vue "dead on arrival," the service has been criticized for not having enough advantages over thicker traditional bundles on the high end of the pay-TV price spectrum. Meanwhile, on the lower end, Vue's price point--and lack of sports programming--renders it largely uncompetitive with Dish Network's Sling TV. Sling TV starts at $20 a month.

Vue was initially available only on PlayStation 3 and PlayStation 4 gaming devices, but Sony did announce expansion to iPads last week.

A Sony rep would not reveal PlayStation Vue subscriber numbers to FierceCable.

For more:
- read this Gizmodo story
- read this CNET story

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