Sony and Netflix – the two of the fastest growing home entertainment brands in the U.S. – are joining forces to make movies and TV episodes from Netflix available to be streamed instantly to TVs via the PlayStation3.
The streaming via the PS3 system will begin next month at no additional cost to Netflix members in the United States who have a PS3 system.
There are undoubtedly pros and cons to having a single optical disc that can pack in 400GB of data – movies, music…whatever you can throw at it.
Pioneer is preparing for release a 16-layer Blu-ray disc that not only offers this colossal storage capacity but will play back on most current standalone Blu-ray players, including the Sony PlayStation 3.
For a while now, Sony’s PS3 has done very well out of being the best Blu-ray player in its price range – oh, and you can play games with it too.
So it will be interesting to see how it fares now that Microsoft’s Xbox is offering US users streaming HD content from Netflix.
That, and the fact that Blu-ray player prices generally are falling, may have some impact on the Sony console.
Nintendo’s lead game designer, Shigeru Miyamoto, has been making comments that suggest Wii could go HD sometime soon.
The ability to support true next-gen graphics on HDTVs is one area the Wii falls down on compared to competitors Xbox 360 or PlayStation 3.
Reports on Blu-ray’s progress – and difficulties – on the road to becoming the mass-market video format are legion.
Monica Juniel, vice president of international marketing for Warner Home Video, added an interesting statistic into the mix during her presentation at IFA 2008 in Berlin last week.
Sony has signed up the major studios, including Fox, Disney and Warner, to offer HD movies on its US download service.
The downloads can be transferred from the console to the Play Station Portable handheld device.
This latest development follows Microsoft’s announcement that it will add a NetFlix movie streaming service to its XBox 360 video game console.
The continuing rivalry between the console makers is good news for consumers.
Sony’s Play Station 3, with its integrated Blu-ray disc (BD) player, has given many millions of consumers their first taste of the high definition format.
But hopes that the makers of the video game console would give Blu-ray a further boost have been dashed by Sony Chairman Howard Stringer.
The Sony chief claims Microsoft’s decision to cut the price of its Xbox 360 by US$50 is evidence that it’s falling behind the PS3 in overall sales.
The world’s second-largest maker of consumer electronics aims to double its revenue in Brazil, Russia, India and China within three years by bolstering sales in seven main businesses including Bravia televisions and Blu-ray disc players.
Sony’s plans for sales of electronics to so-called BRIC nations will rise to 1.2 trillion yen (US$11.1 billion) by the 12 months ending March 31, 2011, from 600 billion yen last fiscal year.
Speaking in Tokyo, Sony chairman and CEO, Howard Stringer, was presenting the company’s mid-term corporate strategy, which included the first concrete details on the plan for on-demand video content, including a launch window of later this summer.
After touting an installed base of 50 million network-enabled PS3 and PSP units and a plan to achieve profitability this year, Stringer outlined a large-scale video service for Sony’s entire empire.
The as-yet-unnamed video store is described as a “premium film and TV service”. Aside from Sony titles, no other content deals have been announced.
The head of the UK’s Freesat digital service believes viewers will begin to resent paying for HDTV as increasing numbers regard it as the new “standard”.
Emma Scott, managing director of Freesat, which launched in May, said there were already over 10m HD ready TV sets in UK homes.
But at the time of Freesat’s launch only around 5 per cent of those HD ready homes were actually watching television programmes in high definition – and by subscription.
Addressing the Broadcast Digital Channels Conference 2008 earlier this month, she said consumers and retailers wanted HD content– but it was the broadcasters that had taken a while to catch up.
“Free HD is a long term opportunity for broadcasters and for Freesat,” she said. “HD is not a gimmick, it’s a new standard for television and one which every broadcaster I’ve met would love to deliver its content in."
An Australian consumer body has called for small consumer electronics devices to carry energy-usage labels following a survey into power consumption.
Tests carried out by Sydney-based CHOICE showed that a PlayStation3 left on but not in use would cost Aus$250 annually in electricity – over five times more than a medium-sized fridge.
The survey found the usage cost for the Xbox 360 was not much lower.