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Sony Launching PlayStation TV Oct. 14

23 Sep, 2014 By: Erik Gruenwedel

PlayStation TV

Crowded streaming device market gets new competitor with a coveted brand name — but no separate OTT video channels at launch

The PlayStation brand is a market leader in the video game industry, which success-starved Sony hopes will help sell the PlayStation TV streaming device, which hits retail Oct. 14 in North America and Canada.

The $99 PS TV, which enables Internet video to stream on a television, will come loaded with about 700 games, including Metal Gear Solid and the "Killzone: Mercenary" franchise, according to a blog post. A bundled PS TV package, which features the DualShock 3 wireless controller, an 8GB memory card and a digital edition of The Lego Movie Video Game, retails for $139.99.

PS TV was test marketed in Japan last year under the PlayStation Vita label.

The device enters a streaming device market dominated by industry pioneer Roku, Apple TV and Amazon Fire TV, among others. Roku recently announced it had sold 10 million units since launching in 2008 with a Netflix-branded player.

Notable to the launch is the fact that PS TV's unique over-the-top TV service will not be available at launch. Sony distinguished the PS TV from other streaming players when it signed a distribution deal with Viacom for streaming rights to 22 of the media company’s broadcast channels.

Sony made no mention when the OTT video component would become functional. Roku, Apple TV and Amazon Fire TV do not stream live TV. Instead they enable access to third-party content to authenticated users, in addition to offering transactional VOD and electronic-sellthrough movies from sources such as Blockbuster On Demand.

Standalone OTT video services are the talk of the town as multichannel video distributors seek ways to entice Millennials, cord-cutters and cord-nevers with lower-priced bundled channel services delivered over the Internet.

Dish Network earlier this year signed a landmark TV retransmission deal with the Walt Disney Co. allowing itself to launch branded OTT video services featuring Disney Channel content, among others.

At the same time, media companies and content holders such as Time Warner, which owns HBO, and CBS (Showtime Networks), have eased concerns about OTT video services cannibalizing the traditional bundled channel ecosystem.

Time Warner CFO Howard Averill recently told an investor group HBO could be targeted to the 70 million U.S. pay-TV homes that don’t subscribe to it through an OTT offering.

“It makes HBO, in effect, cheaper. It allows HBO to attack an entirely new market within the existing ecosystem,” Averill said.

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