Sony is looking at launching ‘a different kind of TV set’, according to CEO Sir Howard Stringer, speaking to the Wall Street Journal.
Part of the plan is the launch of a new OTT IPTV service that would directly compete with traditional platforms such as cable and DTH satellite. “I spent the last five years building a platform so I can compete against Steve Jobs. It’s finished, and it’s launching now,” said Stringer.
The Japanese company, which is faced with increased competition in the market of TV screens, has approached several big media companies to negotiate the rights to offer their TV channels over the internet in the US. There is already a big universe out there of connected Bravia TV sets, Blu-ray players, home cinema sets and a further 18.1 million connected PlayStation 3 consoles.
Broadband TV Views. The traditional market for ‘regular’ TV sets is under increased price pressure and consumer electronics firms are now looking at ways to a) differentiate their TV sets from the competition and b) look at adding other income streams.
One of the ways to do is to connect the TV set directly or via a set-top to the internet to start streaming content over IP directly into the people’s homes. Philips has been experimenting with its Net TV service for some time. While the Dutch company has managed to offer a limited free-to-view and pay-VD offer, it has not made a dent into the market.
Now Sony is joining the ball game and – at least judging by the reports from the US – is trying to offer a full-fledged alternative to cable and satellite by offering ‘regular’ channels. With its international channel business, Sony already built expertise in this market, but it remains to be seen if the company can persuade channel operators to stream their channels directly to the viewers – bypassing their traditional distribution partners.
For the moment, the odds do not look very good. Despite its enormous clout, Google has trouble finding the right model for Google TV and even version 2.0 does not look like a winner. Also YouTube’s early ‘TV channel’ adventures do not look very promising. And even Apple has yet to crack the TV business.