Sony Creates Original TV Series for PlayStation Gaming Console

Sony has released details of the first original series it has developed for its PlayStation gaming console.

The show, to be entitled “Powers,” is based on a graphic novel and follows the exploits of a mortal private detective in a world of people who possess incredible superpowers.

“Powers” will be produced by Sony Pictures TV, which has already churned out such hits as “Breaking Bad,” “Masters of Sex,” and “Hannibal.” Shooting on “Powers” has not yet begun. The show had previously advanced as far as the pilot stage with the FX network.

Reportedly, “Powers” will be available through the PlayStation network itself; users will be able to stream it in the same manner as they stream content from Hulu or other online providers. Sony has not yet released any information on pricing or availability.

The move allows Sony to enter the world of original production, following the successes of Netflix (“House of Cards,” “Orange is the New Black”) and Amazon (“Alpha House.”)

Microsoft is also reportedly working on original programming for its Xbox console—a show based on the video game “Halo”–but has not yet offered any concrete details.

Sony Announces Plans for Streaming TV, Video Games at CES

At last week’s Consumer Electronics Show (CES), Sony announced plans to enter the web-based video services market.

The company unveiled plans for an as-yet unnamed service that will allow users access to live television, video on demand and DVR in the cloud. Subscribers will be able to access cloud-based content on the more than 70 million Sony devices currently in circulation.

According to Sony, the service will not only offer users recommendations based on their viewing history, but also will allow for the creation of “personalized channels.” Sony also plans to incorporate social media into the service.

Also at CES, Sony announced plans to soon make available “PlayStation Now,” a streaming service that will allow users to access Sony’s PlayStation game library on PlayStation consoles, as well as on phones, tablets and televisions. PS Now will allow gamers the flexibility to decide how they want to access content—either renting by title, or subscribing to an “all-you-can-eat” plan.

“We are thrilled to deliver entertainment experiences only possible from PlayStation through our new streaming game service,” said Sony Computer Entertainment Inc. President and CEO Andrew House. “PS Now will allow users to engage in the world of PlayStation, whether they’re existing fans or have never owned a PlayStation platform.”

Sony will begin testing the service immediately and hopes for widespread availability sometime this summer.

A Continuing Commentary on My Search for a New TV: Are 4K TVs Worth It?

Those of you who have been following my quest for the perfect TV know that I am in need of an upgrade. Football season is coming and the Lions are poised for a Super Bowl run. Ok, maybe luck would be on our side if we scored more than four wins; that would be like a Super Bowl win for the Lions. I’ve been looking into Ultra HD TV, also known as 4K TV.

So what is Ultra HD/4K TV? Well, it has more than 8.8 million pixels, while a standard HD TV has about 2 million. This link explains it further, but the increased resolution is purportedly amazing.

There are a few on the market but dig deep if you want to buy one now because they are pricey. Reviews of the available models are excellent, with the general consensus being that, pricing and content availability questions aside, the picture quality is amazing. The real issues right now with 4K TV are content and whether the improvement in resolution is worth the price tag. Read more

What They’re Watching

Online blogs and trade news sources began reporting on April 10 that Sony would layoff roughly 6% of its global workforce as part of its reorganization. Sony reported a $6.4 billion loss for fiscal 2012 precipitating the cuts along with several product changes yet to come. Among those, Sony will focus its television manufacturing to high-end organic light emitting diode (OLED) sets and “Crystal LED” displays. Read more

Google TV Slowly Adding More Partners

LG Electronics joins Samsung, Sony and Vizio as a partner in the development of Google TV. This past October Google released the long awaited 2.0 version of the middleware to less than stellar reviews.

While the Google TV idea holds promise for combining content from the Web and from conventional television distribution, it remains to be seen if the addition of another electronics manufacturer and new chip sets can help propel Google to a wider and deeper market penetration. Logitech announced this past year that it was dropping out of Google TV development after developing the “Revue” box which reportedly created a $100 million loss for Logitech.

Google notes in blog postings that there are more than 150 individual apps built specifically for the Google TV platform with additional Android apps available to enhance the television experience.

It will be interesting to see what the Google TV partner companies demonstrate at CES 2012.

UltraViolet Licensing

Digital media asset collecting can now take a giant step forward. The Digital Entertainment Content Ecosystem (DECE) launched  UltaViolet licensing on Wednesday. The licensing of content, technology and service providers was seen as the final step in getting the digital entertainment asset platform moving. Read more

VOTW: PlayStation Network Attack, Outage

And last but not least, our video of the week (VOTW).

Several weeks ago Sony was hit with a massive network attack on it’s PlayStation Network, which boasts 77 million international users and connects gamers to play against one another as well as chat with each other. The Sony Qriocity service, Sony’s new cloud-based digital entertainment venture which is used to stream audio and video to Sony devices, was also compromised in the attack.

Sony responded to the security breach by turning off its network services until it can further investigate and strengthen the service.

In the meantime, questions remain about data the hackers were able to obtain. Security researchers have seen discussions on online forums indicating that the hackers may have accessed a database that includes customer names, addresses, usernames, passwords and as many as 2.2 million credit card numbers.

Congress sent a letter to Sony last Friday asking for detailed information on the gaming system’s security and privacy, and what it knows about credit card data that might have been stolen.

On the heels of Amazon’s EC2 cloud outage, this high-profile attack further supports the public perception that cloud services are insecure.

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