The Wall Street Journal (subscription required) and the Financial Times report that Sony may introduce a video download service as soon as the first part of 2007. The idea is to target those consumers that are purchasing movies online through iTunes and other services. The downloads will, of course, work nicely with Sony’s PlayStation Portable (PSP). Movie watching on PlayStation Portables hasn’t really been that popular, but apparently Sony doesn’t want to wait around till it is. As it is, the company is already late in the game.
The new service has been in the works for about a year now. Movies from Sony Pictures Entertainment will be the first available, though Sony eventually hopes to offer selections from other studios.
Also in the works: a video downloading service that would make it so you could bypass your computer and send new video content directly to your PSP. No time frame has been announced for the implementation of this new service, however.
Sony and other studios already have worked with retailers in releasing movies on the Universal Media Disc (UMD) format. The format is mostly for the PSP, though Sony had hoped that support for UMD would expand. Right now retailers are reluctant to take up shelve space with UMD movies.
It’ll be interesting to see if Sony offering downloadable movies will be met with success. And if so, will it help or simply replace the UMD format?