Turning its video-game console into a video-on-demand device, Sony last week launched the PlayStation Store, an online portal that will let users of the company's newest game devices download 300 full-length movies and 1,200 TV episodes.
PlayStation Store titles are available to customers in the United States with PlayStation 3 and PlayStation Portable (PSP) systems.
Sony's move positions its game platforms more directly against Microsoft's Xbox 360, which has offered movie and TV-show downloads since late 2006, as well as other Internet-enabled video players like Apple TV.
Sony initially will rent and sell video content from studios including 20th Century Fox, Lionsgate Entertainment, MGM Studios, Paramount Pictures, Sony Pictures Entertainment and Warner Bros. Entertainment.
The portal also will rent TV shows from various television partners — including A&E Television Networks, Discovery Communications and Turner Broadcasting System — as well as movies from Walt Disney Studios.
Movie titles include 20th Century Fox's Jumper, MGM's Rocky, Paramount's Cloverfield, Sony Pictures' Spider-Man and Warner Bros.' 10,000 B.C. Disney titles available to rent include Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest.
TV shows available for rental include Discovery Channel's Deadliest Catch, Cartoon Networks' Aqua Teen Hunger Force and A&E's Criss Angel Mindfreak.
Sony said one of the key value propositions of the service is portability: Consumers are able to transfer digital content from the PS3 to the PSP portable for watching video on the go.
The PlayStation Store will rent TV shows at $1.99 per episode, with movie rentals running $2.99 to $5.99 depending on format and title. Movie purchases are $9.99 to $14.99.