CES - Sony to stream high-def broadband video to TVs

Sony has revealed a system that will allow viewers of its Bravia flat-panel TV sets to access broadband video content, some of it in high-definition (HD).

The Bravia Internet Video Link system will be offered on most new models of Bravia TVs and can be accessed at the push of a few buttons on the remote control. The service is populated with a number of programmed broadband video content channels and initial partners include AOL, Yahoo and Sony-group companies Sony Pictures Entertainment, Sony BMG Music and online video site Grouper.

In a demonstration of the service at the International Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas, Stan Glasgow, president and chief operating officer of Sony Electronics, accessed a music video, movie trailer and user-generated content through the service.

"With this new technology Sony is the first company that is able to stream HD content from the Internet to your television without using a PC," Glasgow said.

Viewers will also be able to call up local news, weather and information through RSS (really simple syndication) feeds specifically created for the service.

AOL content available through the service during the CES demonstration included a music video from an AOL-sponsored event with artists "Coldplay."

"Our partnership with Sony really represents a fantastic opportunity for us to extend our strategy, which is to bring AOL video content to platforms beyond the traditional PC and make it possible for consumers to experience that content anytime, anywhere," said Kevin Conroy, executive vice president of AOL, at a news conference.

All of it will be accessed through Sony's "Xross Media Bar" (the first word is pronounced 'cross'), a replacement for the conventional TV menu that is already in use on Sony TV sets in Japan, and on the company's PlayStation Portable and PlayStation 3 game devices.

Bravia Internet Video Link will be offered at no charge although viewers will have to buy an adapter that plugs into the back of the television set. The price of the adapter will be announced in the next few months, Sony said. Users will also need a broadband Internet connection.

"It's a small module that attaches to the back of the TV set for an integrated appearance. You control everything from the TV's remote control, it connects directly to the Internet without a PC," said Nick Colsey, director of business product planning at Sony Electronics Inc.'s TV division, at a Las Vegas news conference.

The first Bravia sets to support the service will be the S-series, which was also announced at CES. The TV sets come in 46-inch, 40-inch, 32-inch and 26-inch screen sizes and will ship in the U.S. in the spring, said Sony.

Sony doesn't have any current plans to offer the service outside of the U.S.

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Martyn Williams

IDG News Service
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