Sony to pilot cloud TV service

News Jane McCallion Jan 8, 2014

Blended service to unite TV and gaming in the cloud

Sony is to start testing a new, cloud-based TV service served up through its PlayStation console, according to the company's CEO Kaz Hirai.

The proposed service will bring together streamed and live TV with DVR and cloud gaming capabilities via a single device.

The announcement was made at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas, where Sony has adopted “Play” as its central theme.

“The definition of ‘Play’ can mean anything from playing games, to playing music, watching or participating in sports, to hitting ‘play’ on your favourite device – above all, it means fun,” said Mike Fasulo, president and COO of Sony.

“Our new products are designed to be there with consumers, enhancing the pleasure of activities they already love,” he added.

However, some have asked whether this move could sour Sony’s long-standing relationships with broadcasters.

"We're offering live TV and we're combining it with other video services... We don't set out to do this and say we're going to compete with cable companies," Hirai told reporters.

“Whether you believe it’s competitive or not, that’s your question,” he added.

While other tech companies, such as Intel, have tried to enter this space and struggled to generate interest in their services, Hirai said the company’s existing user-base of approximately 70 million households worldwide gives it a competitive advantage.

While the name and release date of the new cloud entertainment system have not been announced, the company did set out plans to launch a new service this summer dubbed PlayStation Now.

Andrew House, head of PlayStation, said Now will allow users to stream games from Sony’s cloud servers to TVs, tablets, consoles and smartphones, building on the technology the firm acquired after its $380 million purchase of Gaikai in 2012.