Sony Looking to Cut Out Cable Providers with Web-Based TV Service

Last week, we noted that Sony was working hard on efforts to change the way users interact with and view content on their television sets, with CEO Howard Stringer openly acknowledging that the company was trying to find a way to compete with Apple's integrated ecosystem that is expected to expand to include television sets in the relatively near future.

sony logo
The Wall Street Journal now reports that Sony is working on the next phase of its efforts, seeking to launch a Web-based alternative to traditional TV that would skirt around cable companies' control of the market.

Sony is proposing to beam the channels over Internet connections to Sony-made devices, including PlayStation gaming consoles, TV sets and Blu-ray players, the people said. Sony has sold about 18.1 million PlayStation 3 consoles in the U.S. alone, according to NPD Group Inc., and many homes have other Internet-connected Sony devices.

Sony has reportedly reached out to a number of content providers, including Comcast NBCUniversal, Discovery, and News Corp., in attempt to strike deals to offer their shows on the service.

One stumbling block could be Sony's desire to license a smaller bundle of channels than existing cable operators offer to undercut the incumbents on price and flexibility, according to people familiar with the matter. That could be a nonstarter for media companies, which would prefer not to undercut their biggest customers.

The report notes that Apple made a similar effort several years ago, seeking to put together a "best of TV" package for delivery to viewers via iTunes, but those negotiations failed to produce a deal after content providers refused to budge on their demands for bundling channels together.

Apple clearly remains interested in the television market, with rumors of a Siri-enabled TV set launching in late 2012 or early 2013. It is not entirely clear what efforts Apple may continue to pursue on the content side of the TV market to complement the hardware and software, but just two months ago the company was said to have developed a "new technology to deliver video to televisions". As part of that work, the company was said to still have an interest in offering some sort of subscription TV packages.

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Top Rated Comments

sammaffei Avatar
163 months ago
This all falls flat on it's face...

...when your service provider limits your data to 250Gb a month. TV via the web will easy hit that cap when someone in your house has the set on most of the day.

The cable company still controls the pipe.
Score: 14 Votes (Like | Disagree)
emvath Avatar
163 months ago
Someone needs to find a way to give us what we all want. Ala carte TV. I only want like 4-5 different channels total.
Score: 12 Votes (Like | Disagree)
AppleScruff1 Avatar
163 months ago
It comes to light that Steve Jobs has "cracked" the problem and has a plan to cut out the middlemen with an Apple-like user experience to boot, and then wouldn't ya know it, these other guys pop up (some of them who can barely manage their core business, never mind build a viable, competing ecosystem) and say "What a coincidence! We've been working on the same thing of years now!"

Of course they have. LOL[COLOR="#808080"]


So they copied something Apple hasn't even done yet? I suppose you think they read the Job's biography and came up with this idea? :rolleyes:
Score: 8 Votes (Like | Disagree)
samcraig Avatar
163 months ago
It comes to light that Steve Jobs has "cracked" the problem and has a plan to cut out the middlemen with an Apple-like user experience to boot, and then wouldn't ya know it, these other guys pop up (some of them who can barely manage their core business, never mind build a viable, competing ecosystem) and say "What a coincidence! We've been working on the same thing of years now!"

Of course they have. LOL[COLOR="#808080"]

As if Steve Jobs was the only person who has been trying to break the Cable conundrum. Oh PLEASE LTD - get a reality check.

And it shouldn't be ANY surprise that Sony or any other TV MANUFACTURER would naturally be thinking in this direction.

It's not only possible -but very logical - that since Steve's bio came out and it was mentioned that Steve "cracked" the TV issue (which details are non existent) Sony wanted to let the world know that it's been something they've been working on for years. The press window opened up.

It's called positioning. Sony might have originally wanted to keep their work quiet and launch with a boom when they were ready - but since Jobs bio came out - they entered the media fray. There's nothing wrong or surprising about that.

Why?

Because if they hadn't - you'd still be arguing in 2-3 years when Sony came out with their product that they copied Apple. Or that they only started to work on the product BECAUSE it was known Apple was working on it to.

So again - LTD - you intentionally set up a no-win scenario for anyone other than Apple.
Score: 6 Votes (Like | Disagree)
voltes Avatar
163 months ago
That's the problem when you have a monopoly on cable television per city. I wish there was other choices so prices can be competitive. We get suckered to pay a lot since we have no choice.
Score: 5 Votes (Like | Disagree)
something3153 Avatar
163 months ago
Interesting point. If they can't even mange their own network (especially in light of what's happened over the past 6-7 months), then how will essentially the same crew manage something as ambitious as what they're proposing? They can't even get their TVs to sell.

Apple, I can see having a solid, workable plan that is already halfway there thanks to the successful ecosystem already in place and their experience with building exceptional hardware, added to that their obsession with getting major initiatives right the first time, out the door. Sony, I can't. even if they manage the content aspect, they'll have absolutely nothing at all on Apple when it comes to slick delivery.

You mean like all the issues with Siri? How can Apple manage something as ambitious as what they're proposing if they can't even manage their own network? :rolleyes:
Score: 4 Votes (Like | Disagree)