Sony just hit the news as a major manufacturing partner in the new Google TV endeavor, but now there’s news it’s partnered with HBO to push TV shows over its PlayStation network to PS3s and PSPs. What’s going on in the TV world?
From today some Home Box Office network shows will be available to download over Sony’s PSN network, ready to be streamed over a PS3’s HDMI connection to your TV, or fired to the local storage on your PlayStation Portable, ready to be watched on your commute into work or on the plane or wherever. And these aren’t second-rank shows we’re talking about either–the list includes True Blood and Entourage alongside older content like The Sopranos and Sex and the City.
But Sony proudly stood behind Google at their launch event for Google TV, announcing a partnership that includes building Google TV technology into some of its future HDTV sets. So a new distribution deal with HBO can be seen as competing directly with Google–who’d pay twice to see a show on two different systems connected to the same TV? And though this is but one content provider, and Sony’s got a lot of catching up to do to rival Microsoft’s similar system on the XBox 360, it’s possible that other networks would leap aboard, keen to leverage the millions of PS3s already in living rooms and connected to TVs (unlike Google’s not-yet-arrived project).
This deal likely centers around PSP integration, which adds in a portable media angle that Google is missing, and places Sony’s plans somewhat closer to the Apple model, where shows are available to download to PCs, Apple TV and playable on iPads and iPhones. We know portable media consumption is very much a next-big-thing event too. So Sony is probably hedging its bets, by playing both in the Google TV game and its own media distribution game–this isn’t to say it thinks Google TV may fail, but the tech giant is playing cautiously, less it miss-steps.