Sony is going to roll out a video service that will offer movies and TV shows via its PlayStation 3, the LA Times reports. This is a direction Sony (SNE) and its competitors have all been heading in for years but has yet to arrive at: Creating an all-in-one hub for the digital living room.
So what will the service look like? We don’t know. In a recent PlayStation blog post a marketing exec acknowledges that the company is launching a video download service but didn’t provide any details. So we don’t know about pricing, or whether these would be for purchase or for rent. But in a tantalising hint, the report suggests that the service may not be as restrictive as, say, Apple’s (AAPL) iTunes downloads, which only work on iTunes and Apple devices. LAT:
“Sony plans to embrace open standards that would make its offering compatible with a range of computers and hand-held devices, including its PlayStation Portable.”
Given Sony’s long-standing insistence on DRM and content locks (not mention the fact that it’s a major content owner and producer itself), we wonder if this isn’t a bit of a red herring: We can see Sony boasting about the fact that the movies work on the PS3 and the PSP and, say, an iRiver player. But we can’t imagine you can do whatever you want with your video once you’ve paid for it.
Regardless of the details, the move will finally put the PS3 and Sony in direct competition with Apple, as well as Microsoft’s Xbox 360 (MSFT), which already offers movie and TV shows for download. The good news for Sir Howard Stringer: None of his competitors’ services have picked up any kind of significant traction yet.
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