For most of 2010, Sony led the way in Australia for integrated IPTV in its television sets. But IPTV is only a small fraction of the potential for integrated entertainment on a flat panel television. Gaming is destined to be the next big boom for television screens, and it's time for Sony to leverage its assets by sticking a Playstation 3 console into a premium Bravia TV.
Sony understand the appeal of combining the Playstation 3 with Bravia televisions. For the past few years, it has regularly run bonus promotions offering a free PS3 with the purchase of a Sony television, all of which have been hugely successful. But there hasn't been the slightest peep of Sony taking the next step and integrating the console into the television itself, even with Sir Howard Stringer making it his personal mission to see the different business arms of Sony better working with each other.
The most surprising aspect is that it shouldn't be too difficult to do. We've already seen plenty of televisions on the market with integrated slot-loading Blu-ray players. As you can see from any PS3 teardown, the other main components of the console that would need to be integrated are the hard drive and the (admittedly large) circuit board that powers the console. But by making the PS3 the default operating system of the TV, you could potentially free some space by removing the default television circuitry.
Admittedly, there would be some engineering hurdles to overcome. The PS3 pulls a lot of power, and making the Playstation Bravia energy efficient could prove problematic. A good cooling strategy would also be essential, with the combined PS3 and Bravia destined to create a lot of heat.
But the advantages far outweigh both of those challenges. Consider the benefits of having an integrated Blu-ray player and games console. Consider the benefits of integrating Play TV into the television itself, creating a real DVR inside a television (unlike the USB version found on TVs today).
But most importantly would be the sense of innovation around such a creation. It's not like Sony would be completely killing off the dedicated console, but instead combining it into a premium unit, the perfect solution for the space conscious gamer who loves their high definition entertainment. It would be an advantage no other manufacturer would be able to top without forming a specific alliance with Microsoft or Nintendo, neither of which is overly likely to happen.
While the other major TV brands have all pushed out the idea of apps on televisions this year, Sony is still comfortable with sticking with IPTV (although the partnership with Google TV would address that should Google TV ever launch in Australia). But this idea could help the Japanese manufacturer break away from its competitor by leveraging its own strengths.
Make it happen Sony.