updated 09:05 am EDT, Tue September 4, 2007
Sony Considers Movie Store
Sony is contemplating creating its own direct-download movie store, the company remarked today in comments to the press. Spokesman Shigenori Yoshida explained that the firm was "looking into the area" of video downloads as a possible business venture, pointing to its practical reality in the market. The representative made no mention of how likely the service was to come into existence or what formats it would support, though a future development might require unprotected H.264 or MPEG-4 movies to support Sony's new video Walkman players as well as the PlayStation 3 and PSP, none of which currently play copy-protected video formats.
Separate sources suggest that regardless of the company's official stance, its chief executive Sir Howard Stringer intends to make online video a focus and will extend the video service as far as recent Bravia LCD TVs, many of which support the Bravia Internet Link that will access online content without requiring a separate computer. The sensitivity of movie studios to copy protection issues may however require adding a digital rights management layer to much of this pipeline, said the insiders, though whether this will involve Windows Media Video or a new format is unknown.
The hint comes just days after the company announced it was shuttering the Connect store, triggered in part by the company's previous insistence on using the proprietary ATRAC format that would only function with its own devices and software. Connect's downfall was followed by the release of new devices that would support protected WMA songs, allowing them to support most online music stores.