At their IFA keynote today, Sony announced two new cloud-based entertainment services: Video On Demand powered by Qriocity and Music Unlimited powered by Qriocity. Okay, apparently the VOD Qriocity has been available in the U.S. for a while, but for anyone who missed that announcement, here’s what it means.
Video on Demand
You know the VOD service that you currently get on your PS3? You know, the one where you can buy or rent movies in either HD or SD? Well, Qriocity’s VOD service is pretty much exactly that, except without the purchase option and designed specifically for Bravia Internet Video devices like Bravia TVs and Sony Blu-ray players.
The entire Qriocity concept is based on leveraging the backbone of the Playstation Network. So if you already have a PSN account, that will automatically be your Qriocity account.
Because it’s designed for devices that don’t have a hard drive, the service is streaming only, which explains why you can’t buy any movies. Of the movies, they will include new release titles in SD and HD, with both versions available at two different bitrates depending on the speed of your internet connection.
For a monthly subscription, Music Unlimited will give you access to over 6.5 million songs, available to stream across a range of internet connected devices, including your TV, your home theatre system, your PS3, or your PC. Like Pandora, it will learn your music habits so it can better learn your musical preferences and suggest new types of music to suit your tastes as you rate tracks like a TiVo.
Music can be played back by artist, genre, different channels or moods (using SenseMe, which you may remember from Sony Ericsson phones).
Currently, there’s no integration with your personal music collection, nor is there support for portable devices and non-internet connected music devices. But that will probably change in the future, as Sony claims it’s “an evolving platform”, and considering Sony keep on keeping on with their Walkman line up, it seems common sense that the service would grow to include stored music.
The good news is that both Qriocity services are destined to hit Australian shores at an unspecified date and price. Sony wouldn’t give me any more info than that, but they did confirm it is coming. And if HD VOD movie rentals are joining iView, Yahoo!7 and Moshcam in the Bravia XMB, that’s a pretty enticing IPTV offering.
Nick’s in Berlin for IFA courtesy of Sony