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Sony's Internet TV Trajectory

11/19/2008 2:37 AM

Sony Electronics has just provided another 2 million tiny reasons for people to cut their cable TV service.

The company announced a deal today to bring Slacker Personal Radio — which hosts a library of more than 2 million licensed songs — to its Bravia HDTV customers through the optional Internet Video Link device. Slacker provides "CD-quality music" through more than 100 programmed genre-based channels.

The Slacker music service is akin to the Music Choice channels widely offered by MSOs, satellite and telco TV services. Except that allows users to create custom stations by artist, year, popularity and other criteria.

Sony also struck a deal with Howcast Media, which will offer nearly 100 instructional videos through the Bravia Internet service including select content from channels like “Hot How-To’s,” “Fun & Games,” “Food & Drink,” “Home & Family,” and “Health & Beauty.” 

Those channels add to the existing Bravia Internet Video Link lineup, which includes: Amazon Video On Demand; YouTube; Dailymotion; CBS; Yahoo!; Sports Illustrated;; CondéNet’s,, Epicurious, and channels; and Sony Pictures’ Crackle. Sony also recently trialed a pre-DVD digital release of Hancock through the Internet service.

The $300 Bravia Internet Video Link Module attaches to the back of a compatible Bravia TV and streams video via a broadband router.

Sony touts its selection of video as "not found on network or cable/satellite TV." "Internet content is expanding faster than ever and Sony is bringing it straight to Bravia televisions," said Randy Waynick, senior vice president of Sony Electronics’ Home Products Division, in announcing the latest deals. 

Now, is this hodge-podge of stuff a replacement for cable TV? No way. 

But it’s nibbling at the edges. As Sony increases its presence as a multichannel-video distributor, it could conceivably put together a subscription package of content that starts to rival cable’s lineups.