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Thursday, July 13, 2006
PSP Movies on Memory Stick

With the company's UMD format almost failing, Sony on Wednesday turned to its Memory Stick as a new way to deliver movies to its popular PSP portable game system.

Starting in August, the company will ship 1GB and 2GB sticks that come with a DVD copying application that would be able to transfer select movies from DVD to the PSP.

To use the application, the installer would be loaded onto a PC. From there, the user would enter an unlock code that would permit them to transfer one movie from the DVD over to the device. Movies that would be permitted to be transferred will be "Hitch," "S.W.A.T.," "The Grudge" or "XXX: State of the Union."

While the movies would be viewable only for the PSP, Sony said the Memory Stick could be used in any compatible device, such as Cybershot cameras, HandyCam camcorders and some Sony Ericsson mobile phones.

"The Memory Stick Entertainment Pack bundles fun with function," said Mike Kahn, senior manager for Memory Stick Media at Sony Electronics. "This collaboration with Sony Pictures provides a quick, simple way to get a full-length movie onto Memory Stick media at no extra charge."

The 1GB (MSX-M1GSTEP) and 2GB (MEX-M2GSEP) Memory Stick Entertainment Packs will be available next month for about $60 and $100.

It is not clear if the move signals a possible end to the UMD format for movies. Reports earlier this year indicated many studios began to silently withdraw their support. Universal Studios, Paramount Pictures and Image Entertainment all have stopped producing movies on UMD; 20th Century Fox and Buena Vista have cut back on new releases. Even Sony Pictures itself has scaled back its UMD release plans.

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