Sony is pushing to to make a full-scale foray in the U.S. market with the distribution of 4K-resolution movies online exclusively for its U.S. customers of its next-generation televisions. The company is also trying to expnd its footnote in the smartphone market with new deals with U.S. telecommunications carriers.
Speaking to The Asahi Shimbun newspaper on June 14, Sony President and CEO Kazuo Hirai said that Sony's 4K-quality film distribution services are scheduled to start in the United States this summer, and later in Japan. He sees the new film distribution services as a key weapon for increasing sales of 4K TVs. Most of the works on offer will be titles from Sony Pictures, and users will need dedicated receivers to subscribe to the services, Hirai added.
Sony has announced the FMP-X1 4K Media Player, followed by a 4K video distribution service. The player is curerently bundled with 10 feature films and video shorts in 4K resolution for $699. Later this summer, users of the same 4K Media Player will be given access to a fee-based video distribution service offering a library of 4K titles from Sony Pictures Entertainment and other production houses.
Sony's 4K TVs are not cheap. The XBR-55X900A (55-inch) and XBR-65X900A (65-inch) 4K Ultra HD LED TVs cost $4,999 and $6,999 respectively. However, the company hopes to sell 16 million units this fiscal year.
Hirai also said Sony plans to make a full-scale foray into the U.S. smartphone market by the end of the current fiscal year next March. He said that talks are under way for supplying smartphones to a major telecommunications carrier in the United States, where Sony has never made a notable footprint in cellphone sales.
"We will carve a foothold in the United States within the coming six months or one year to ramp up our market share in phases," Hirai said.