Sony on Wednesday announced that its PlayStation Vue television service will start at $50 a month, offering consumers yet another alternative to cable.
Of all the cord-cutting services that companies have rolled out in recent months, Sony's probably most closely resembles the classic cable package both in terms of price and channel packages. The service is rolling out in three cities -- New York, Chicago and Philadelphia -- and includes live and on-demand programming from CBS, FOX and NBC, as well as channels such as Discovery Channel, USA Network, TNT, Nickelodeon and Fox News Channels. AMC will also join PlayStation Vue next month.
Sports fans will have to pay a little more. For $60 a month they can get access to local regional sports networks, the company said, in addition to other "sports and movie networks." For $70, subscribers get all the channels from the two other packages, plus an additional 25 unspecified "lifestyle, music and family" channels.
All tiers also get access to cloud DVR services, as well as personalization and search features.
Of course, you'll also need to have a PlayStation 4 or PlayStation 3 to use PlayStation Vue, which limits the service's audience to some extent.
But if disaffected cable customers wanted choice, they're getting what they asked for -- in spades. Sony's announcement comes hot on the heels of the announcement of HBO's standalone Now service, just a few months after Dish's Sling TV and in the middle of speculation about a broader Apple television service.
That makes for a complex landscape for consumers to navigate, leaving the distinct possibility that consumers could end up paying more for all those a la carte services than they paid for their old cable bill.
According to the FCC's 2014 media report, the average monthly price of an "expanded basic cable package" in the United States was $64.41. So if you picked up Sony's basic tier -- which, to be fair, may have better channels than whatever you get in a standard package -- you're already well on your way there.