Sony To Start Video, Subscription Game Service For U.S.

LAS VEGAS -- Sony Corp. will look to start a U.S.-based “cloud” video service after first starting up a new subscription gaming service this year.

Sony made the announcement at the Consumer Electronics Show here. The video service has been long rumored.

Few details were revealed about the video service, such as content partners. But the service will include live TV, on-demand and DVR content and would run through its Sony PlayStation 3 video game consoles and other devices.

Kazuo Hirai, president/chief executive officer of Sony Corp., is currently talking to a number of broadcast networks about the service, which will be tested later this year.

Why a new video service? "What we're trying to do is resolve one of the biggest hurdles that a lot of consumers have," Hirai said. "Watching live TV on one device; watching streamed video on another device."

Sony says it has some 70 million Internet-connected devices in U.S. homes and about 25 million PlayStation devices. All this would be comparable to the number of total U.S. TV homes that use pay TV providers -- cable, satellite and telco. That number comes to 100 million -- 90% of all TV households.

The subscription gaming will begin testing in January and will launch this summer.

Intel recently abandoned a somewhat similar Internet-based video network plan because of the inability to strike a sizable number of content deals. Intel has been reported to be looking to sell its video network structure.

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