October 22, 2008
Sony Premieres Internet Video Link Movies On BRAVIA HDTV Sets

By Gary Reber

Sony has announced that for a limited period, BRAVIA® Internet Video Link owners will have the opportunity to watch the Sony Pictures summer hit, Hancock, prior to retail DVD and Blu-ray Disc™ availability.

The movie, which can be rented for $9.99, will stream directly to BRAVIA televisions equipped with Sony’s BRAVIA Internet Video Link for a 24-hour viewing period. This offer will be available to BRAVIA Internet Video Link owners beginning on October 28 and running through November 10.

As a bonus to consumers who purchase the rental stream and who register online, a free Blu-ray copy of Hancock will be mailed to them after the Hancock Blu-ray street date, November 25. This combo package is valued at nearly $70 ($29.99 for the stream and $39.95 for the Blu-ray Disc).

This marks the first time a top-grossing theatrical movie will reach consumers’ homes via an Internet-enabled platform prior to the packaged media release. Additionally, it demonstrates Sony’s unique ability to combine its innovative hardware with content created by its own movie studio.
“Bringing Hancock directly to BRAVIA is something only Sony can do,” said Randy Waynick, Senior Vice President for Marketing in Sony’s Home Products Division.  “No other CE company has an entertainment portfolio like Sony, and we will continue to push hardware innovation that brings value to our customers.
“This is an important development not only for the industry, but for consumers seeking new entertainment options.”

Sony Pictures is in discussions to offer a high-definition VOD motion picture day and date with its DVD release, with premium pricing, on BRAVIA Internet Video Link and other platforms.

Sony will offer three versions of Hancock, including a high-definition stream (720p) and two standard-definition streams (480p) with different encoding for lower bandwidth customers. The BRAVIA Internet Video Link service will automatically detect the customer’s bandwidth and select the best stream for optimum performance. Once the customer clicks the “Buy Now” button in the BRAVIA Internet Video Link menu, the feature will immediately play.

The BRAVIA Internet Video Link Module, which attaches to the back of a compatible BRAVIA TV, streams on-demand entertainment, including hit movies, televisions shows, YouTube videos, and a variety of other high-definition and standard-defintion content not found on network or cable/satellite TV. The service connects to the Internet via an existing broadband Ethernet connection and streams content, much of which is available at no additional charge.            
Sony’s BRAVIA Internet Video Link Module is currently available for about $300 and can be purchased online at www.sonystyle.com, Sony Style retail stores, and Sony authorized retailers across the country.

Sony’s action is indicative of the future of movie downloads. As broadband speeds increase, I expect that the quality of streaming will become better, offering 1080p and even 7.1-channel surround sound.  Perhaps reference-quality downloads will become, at some point, a significant means of delivery of movies into the home and to portable devices. But for serious enthusiasts, I believe that adoption streaming as a “reference” source will depend on the quality equation. Blu-ray will remain, for that reason, for some time to come, the true reference-quality standard. 

Gary Reber
Editor-In-Chief & Publisher
Widescreen Review

Tags: - editor's couch - - Sony Pictures - - Sony Electronics - - BRAVIA - - HDTV - - LCD - - VOD -