Feeds

Sony preps video store to fill hole in PSP film revenues

What took it so long?

Beginner's guide to SSL certificates

Comment According to recent headlines, Sony is somehow going to challenge Apple iTunes with a film download service straight for the PSP. Instead those headlines should have asked why it has taken so long.

Sony is uniquely placed to offer a film download service in that it has a music download service in its Connect system, it has a perfect handheld video device in the PSP, and a High Definition device in the PS3, it makes PCs and it happens to have access to 8000 major motion pictures, and it has been promising to execute on online films for around 18 months.

It was a widespread fact in the Summer of 2005 that Sony had issued a new firmware upgrade that layered the H.264 codec onto the device, and it began experimenting with free video downloads as early as August last year in its native Japan, where it was being managed by its own ISP, So-net under the brand of Portable TV.

This system was put on trial, offering films in MPEG 4 (H.264) and using its own Atrac3 for the audio codec. Both MPEG 4 and Atrac3 were supported in a new PSP firmware issue, for the first time back when this service was first introduced, which is when the PSP was first able to play tracks downloaded from the Sony Connect music service.

This Spring it managed to get out a truncated version of the service, again in Japan only, and this time it only offering film rentals. There are no technical difficulties to speak of, and flash memory, although it is bigger and cheaper now, was cheap enough and came in large enough sizes before to make the proposition viable a year ago.

And anyway, as we know, people don’t tend to watch programming purely on the PSP, as they don’t on the iPod, they prefer to store it on the PC and view it that way, so memory was a non-issue.

Two years ago Sony had also promised to make its 500 most popular films available for download to a PC, but it never went ahead with its plan. It was in negotiations with ISPs throughout Europe, and a pricing schedule had been worked out, but then the initiative died. The question obviously is whether Sony goes with a non-branded ISP delivered option or a branded one, with software it had to write itself.

From a piracy point of view, managing multiple ISP delivery points would have been a nightmare, and why should Sony concede a huge margin to ISPs everywhere?

The Japanese trial offered films in H.264 using Atrac3 audio, and would communicate with the Connect Sonic Stage software on a PC, which sounds like the same system that has been launched now.

The original service that was launched in Japan was supposed to bypass the PC, and go straight to the PSP over a wi-fi link, but the US service is expected to use the PC, and the direct to PSP version to come out later.

What we suppose has happened is that Sony has wasted 18 months while it tried to push its Universal Media Disk, the tiny 1.8 inch miniature DVD format. These were massively overpriced by the studios, sold at a premium to a normal DVD.

Beginner's guide to SSL certificates

More from The Register

next story
Facebook pays INFINITELY MORE UK corp tax than in 2012
Thanks for the £3k, Zuck. Doh! you're IN CREDIT. Guess not
Happiness economics is bollocks. Oh, UK.gov just adopted it? Er ...
Opportunity doesn't knock; it costs us instead
YARR! Pirates walk the plank: DMCA magnets sink in Google results
Spaffing copyrighted stuff over the web? No search ranking for you
In the next four weeks, 100 people will decide the future of the web
While America tucks into Thanksgiving turkey, the world will be taking over the net
Microsoft EU warns: If you have ties to the US, Feds can get your data
European corps can't afford to get complacent while American Big Biz battles Uncle Sam
Don't bother telling people if you lose their data, say Euro bods
You read that right – with the proviso that it's encrypted
prev story

Whitepapers

Choosing cloud Backup services
Demystify how you can address your data protection needs in your small- to medium-sized business and select the best online backup service to meet your needs.
Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Storage capacity and performance optimization at Mizuno USA
Mizuno USA turn to Tegile storage technology to solve both their SAN and backup issues.