Sony’s alternative to cable TV, Playstation Vue, has been available in select cities for a few months now. But it’s been just that — cable TV without the cable. You still had to pay at least $50 a month a bundle of channels. Well, starting in July, all that’s going to change.

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At the E3 event tonight, the Sony exec on stage dropped a small bombshell: real a la carte programming, allowing you to only pay for particular channels, without having to buy the bundle. Sounds great, right? Not quite so fast.

At the time of the July launch, there are going to be just three channels available to buy on an individual basis: Showtime, Fox Soccer Plus, and Machinima. The prices are what you’d expect, unfortunately: $11 a month for Showtime, $15 a month for Fox Soccer Plus, and $4 for Machinima. On the plus side, there’s a small discount ($2 per channel) for Playstation Plus members. If you include that discount, Showtime is the same price as you’d get it from a cable provider, and a little cheaper than Showtime’s own standalone service.

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Initially, then, Playstation Vue isn’t going to be a game changer for cordcutters — you still can’t put together a comprehensive TV package of your favorite channels for less than a regular bundle (unless you literally only watch Homeland, Premier League soccer, and gaming). If Sony manages to get all the big names onto Vue (and at a reasonable price!) then it could become a viable alternative — but that’s one hell of an ‘if’.

In addition to the a la carte news, Sony also announced that Vue will be available to residents of LA and San Francisco, starting tonight.


Contact the author at chris@gizmodo.com.

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