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Wednesday, August 03, 2005
Sony launches Portable TV for PSP


If you've updated to the v2.0 firmware for your PSP, you can now use the Web browser to take advantage of Sony's new service that provides video clips for download.

The Portable TV portal, launched by the Sony Communications Network last week, opens its virtual doors with a small offering of movie trailers, animated shows, music, and sports and lifestyle programming.

The service is currently available to anyone with a user ID and password for SCN's So-Net portal. Users can sign up on the Portable TV home page, and membership is not restricted by geography or nationality, although the service and sign-up is available only in Japanese, said Yoshio Takushima, chief of SCN's mobile TV service group.

Although users will be able to use the PSP's built-in 802.11b wireless LAN adapater to directly access and download clips from the portal, Sony also offers downloads via PC. A 1GB file might take over 10 minutes to download over a wireless connection, but in Japan, where fiber-optic lines are the norm, users can download the same file over their broadband connection in approximately 2 minutes. Video and music clips can then be transferred to the PSP's Memory Stick Duo storage card via a USB cable.

To deter piracy, downloads will not be stored on the PC, and Sony's use of the AAV video codec and the AAC music codec provides it with a means to secure content via DRM. Content will initially be provided for free, but a subscription-based service offering a wider variety of downloadable media is planned. Although details are scarce regarding the paid service, Sony may lock down access to Japanese credit card holders only; a similar system is being used by Apple for its regional iTunes music stores.

While I can appreciate the capabilities of the PSP as more than a mere game console, Sony has yet to entice me to pay for anything other than more games, much less a for-pay video download service. The UMD format isn't enough of an enticement for me to repurchase movies that I already have or want, and "alternative applications" such as PSP Video 9 and iPSP let me put whatever I want onto my Memory Stick. Coming right on the heels of news that HBO will be offering its shows on UMD and speculation that the PS3 is aiming for the media-center market, the Portable TV service looks like the shape of things to come?at least, if Sony has its way.

From arsTechnica



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