It's a Sony...Download
turbotodd 100000388Y Comments (2) Visits (2318)
Sony has apparently finally woken up to the threat that video-downloading services could pose to its consumer electronics hardware business.
According to a story in today's Wall Street Journal, Sony CEO Howard Stringer intends to use the PlayStation 3 and PlayStation (PSP) portable videogame machines -- and its Bravia high-def TVs -- to download TV shows and movies "similar to the way [consumers] download music and videos using Apple's iTunes store and iPods."
Which would suggest Sony has finally come to terms with the notion that good hardware without good software is kind of like owning a really nice sports car while having no gasoline to take it out for a spin.
I'm as big a Sony fan as the next guy. I owned some of the original Walkmans back in the 1980s, and virtually every portable music device I bought since was a Sony, including my first Mini-Disc player, bought while on a business trip to Tokyo back in 2000 -- that is, until I bought my iPod nano.
I also bought one of those big screen Sony Bravia HD TVs in 2005, and have been enormously pleased with it. It wasn't cheap, especially at that point in its lifecycle, but it's the most gorgeous consumer electronic I've owned in my life and I feel as though I got my money's worth.
But being completely dependent on my Time Warner Cable system for content has been frustrating. There's never enough quality content to be seen (especially movies), either on demand or via the cable networks.
So the answer is more downloadable content, right?
Which is why the Apple TV seemed like a logical investment. I could buy content from the Apple store and download it to the Apple TV device.
Only thing is, the filmed entertainment companies are scared out of their wits of getting locked into the Apple iTunes machine, so there's not much there there, either.
And as much as I like YouTube, which Apple TV now supports, I can only watch the skateboarding bulldog and Miss South Carolina's mapspeak so many times before starting to actually eliminate brain cells.
Of course, it looks as though the downloading future could get worse before it gets better.
Just last week, NBC Universal announced they were not re-upping their deal with the Apple store for downloading of their content (For the record, I didn't buy a single NBC title during its time on the Apple virtual shelves), allegedly due to NBC's wanting to double its wholesale price on its shows.
So, increasingly, I look for alternative content that is independently produced and distributed directly online. Which means I can't watch it on the big screen unless I hook up a convoluted display tool from one of my computers.
Somewhere, someone has got to be thinking up a solution to this dilemma. 500 something channels and nothin' on could be easily fixed with a few channels of quality downloadable content.
But entertainment companies with deer
I've got good money to spend, and am more than willing to spend it on good downloadable content.
But it has to be cheap, and easy, and without a lot of hurdles in my way. I didn't spend my good money on good downloadable content only to have to run an obstacle course to get access to it.
The last time I checked, I didn't have to run an Army Ranger obstacle course through the parking lot of the Cinemark in order to get into the movie theatre.
Who knows, maybe that's coming as well.
But until the great digital downloading breakthrough occurs, I'm gonna take my extra Dilbert pellets and go spend them on some books at the Half Price Books and Records store down the street.
As for Sony's new downloading mission, I wish them the best of luck.
They're going to need it.