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Sony to offer music downloads by satellite

But it's more about selling MiniDisc players and satellite TV subs than MP3

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Sony will allow Japanese music fans to download tracks via Rupert Murdoch's Sky digital satellite TV service next month. The consumer electronics giant will offer a set-top box that connects a hi-fi system to Sky's Asian PerfecTV service to receive and record CD-quality music. Sony is a partner in PerfecTV, alongside Murdoch's News Corp, and the music on offer will come from the company's Sony Music Entertainment subsidiary. Each track will be encoded to prevent unauthorised duplication, said a Sony spokesman, presumably through the copy protection system built into Sony's MiniDisc system, the new service's 'preferred' storage format. The shift to delivery by satellite contrasts with early reports in the Japanese business press (see previous story) that the service would operate across the Internet. Sony is certainly working on a Net-based music delivery system, codenamed MagicGate (see Sony enters digital music contest with MP3-beater), and while the two may eventually come together into a single system, the company's latest move seems to be more about increasing both PerfecTV's subscriber base and consumer support for the largely unwanted MiniDisc format. Sony clearly wants MiniDisc to emerge as the standard format for storing downloaded music, much as Iomega is pushing its Zip removable storage system to online music companies and consumer electronics firms. Given the majority of music downloaders may ultimately be hi-fi buffs rather than PC users, who might clearly prefer to use their hard drives to hold their music collections, that's not a bad plan. ® See also MS to unveil digital music delivery system next month UK company launches portable MP3 player

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