Summary

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Online TV Services - Late 2010 Update - Sony

Since our previous look at online TV services, the BBC iPlayer has, as we predicted back then, gone live on Sony’s Bravia Internet Video platform. And it works very well, too.

However, there are also two further significant additions to what was already an excellent online service: Sony’s own Qriocity platform, and Sky News.

Qriocity lives up to its name at first glance. For it’s essentially a Video On Demand service enabling you to pay to download films. This isn’t odd in itself, but it does look a little bizarre when you consider that BIV already carries LoveFilm. Does a single online platform really need multiple film rental services? Especially when the newest platform only offers a quite limited amount of content?

Maybe. For it turns out that Qriocity justifies itself thanks to its pricing structure. LoveFilm uses a monthly subscription pay model, while Qriocity lets you ‘pay per view’; as in, you only pay for what you watch. So if you only imagine wanting to occasionally watch a film rather than watching films regularly, Qriocity could fit the bill. That said, it did seem to us that the service’s prices were rather high.

The new Sky News ‘app’ is simple but effective. Firing it up produces four boxes labelled Headlines, Top Story, Showbiz, and Weather. So obviously you just the option you want, from where you’re taken through to a video show related to the option you chose.

The footage in these sections has been specially shot and modified for the app; you don’t get simple re-runs of the live coverage from the Sky News studio.

The videos play in a constant loop, so you don’t always join them right at the start. But with this in mind they’ve been kept short, so you don’t have to wait long for the start to come round again.

News coverage was the one thing that wasn’t great about BIV before, while its interface feels a touch clunky, the addition of Sky News is overall very welcome.

The addition of two new services to the BIV offering has really started to make Sony’s interface creak under the strain, though. Just listing everything in a scroll down menu within the TV’s general menus once seemed like a great idea, but now it’s making looking for online content a chore, and harming the chances of content relegated low down the list ever being spotted.

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