Qriocity Music Unlimited Service - Bold Try, But...

John Archer

By John Archer



Our Score:


Adding songs from one of Sony’s playlists to your own collection is simplicity itself, meanwhile; all it takes is a couple of logical button presses while a song is playing ‘live’ and you can then access that song again at will from any of your Music Unlimited-compatible devices.

We did find one extremely irritating shortcoming about the current OS, though, namely that you can't scroll along the premium playlists. So, for instance, if you choose the Indie Rock and Alternative Top 100 premium channel, it starts playing the number 1 track, shows you the artwork for the next track, but won't let you just skip the track that's playing to get to the second - or subsequent - tracks. This is presumably to maintain the seamlessness of the experience, rather than throw up buffering delays, but it really reduces the sense of freedom that's so essential to music browser platforms. And it’s obviously a bit of a bummer for whatever poor band is occupying slot 100 on the chart...

Once you've listened to a track on a premium ‘channel’ right the way through, it gets added to a 'played' list that you can then scroll back through. But ‘forward shifting’ really needs to be supported as well.

If you’re using your personal library rather than Sony’s Premium Channels for your listening, you’ll find that your content is organised according to playlists, albums, or artists, plus there’s a ‘shuffle all songs’ option too.

Arguably, the biggest single strength of Music Unlimited is the quality of its sound. We’re not entirely sure what level of compression is being applied to the songs the system distributes, but our feeling is that it’s precious little, for songs appear on a Bravia TV’s speakers or even an attached amp/speaker system to be impressively dynamic, clean and pure.

In Conclusion

The basic idea of Music Unlimited is sound. After all, the ability to easily share all of our content across all of our devices, including our TVs, is one of the holy grails of the new AV world. Its execution is bold too, and the scale of its ambition startling. However, Music Unlimited also suffers with a few significant problems.

First, there’s the simple fact that Sony is trying to create a new music platform - again! - when rival platforms are already established and widely used. We suspect that for many of you, a Spotify Premium or iTunes app would have been a much more appreciated addition to the Bravia Internet Video TV online platform.

Music Unlimited does, of course, get mileage from the notion that it provides a well-designed, user-friendly portal to your own and third party music via a TV rather than a computer. But the fact that it’s coming so late to the music server table still makes us think that most people who adopt it will be relatively PC-illiterate people who haven’t already got a music collection established on their computers. We’re certainly not convinced it will persuade many people to spend £9.99 a month to ‘migrate’ from their current music platforms, despite all of its presentational bangs and whistles.

Still, we concede that it is at least possible that the market for people not previously into music on their computers is quite large. Even if it isn’t, that shouldn’t reduce Sony’s achievement in working so hard to satisfy this technologically.

Perhaps the biggest problem we have with Music Unlimited as it currently stands, is that with its lack of Mac support, inability to skip forward through Channel tracks, and potential for not importing all the tracks in your PC library, the Unlimited part of its name seems rather inappropriate...

Overall Score


Scores In Detail

  • Value 7
  • Sound Quality 9
  • Features 7


January 21, 2011, 1:12 pm

"Even better, it was a Christmas present exclusive to the UK and Ireland; for once the rest of the world was (and still is) having to wait while we get our hands on a bit of new technology first."

Funny. Meanwhile, back in parts of "the rest of the world", we're still waiting for such technological achievements as Last.fm, Pandora and even iTunes Store...

Hamish Campbell

January 21, 2011, 1:41 pm

Any chance of a qrocity on demand video review?

Hey look, first time posting about an online service without complaining that it's not available here in Denmark!!


January 21, 2011, 2:43 pm

I do wonder how much demand there is for controlling the music you listen to thru a TV screen and remote control. No matter how pretty the album art is on the screen the average tv remote is going to be the weak link in the chain. If you're going to have to go to your PC to do anything useful with the playlist then it rather defeats the point.

People have gotten used to scroll wheels and touch interfaces for controlling their music playback - I don't see it taking off unless Sony are going to provide smartphone or tablet apps or an open remote control api for 3rd party developers to do so.


January 21, 2011, 5:25 pm

@Epic - I regularly listen to albums on CD or on the computer. Last time I checked a mouse and scroll wheel was not an essential part of the process!

I do take your point on the playlist side of things though. But then if there are quick search functions using "txt chat" input like you do on a Sky remote then it shouldnt be that much of an inconveinience.


January 21, 2011, 5:38 pm

Again, I know I'm on the naughty step, but fwiw this service is unfinished. I was speaking to some people at Sony who said they want to expand the catalogue to 20m tracks by the end of March so the library will be a lot more comprehensive. Also you can skip forwards in playlists using R1. It is actually a feature of the service that it has unlimited track skipping in the £9.99 package, you just have to wait for the playlist to load and then you can skip using R1.

Hamish Campbell

January 21, 2011, 6:41 pm


R1 on your tv remote?

Caffeine Dependent

January 21, 2011, 7:28 pm

"The basic idea of Music Unlimited is sound."

Best sentence in the whole article.


January 21, 2011, 7:59 pm

I'm sorry, I'm not sure I get it - are you telling me they want you to pay £3.99 a month to listen to your own music?


January 26, 2011, 11:07 pm

Hi, just signed up for the 30 day trial to give it a try out - not sure what the reviewer was doing wrong but I can skip forward/back as much as I want on the premium channels. Like what I've seen so far, with one exception. If you put an album into your library, it plays the tracks in a random order rather than the order they appear on the original CD/as intended by the artist - for some albums this is a major shortfall. I've put a query into their tech support - will see how responsive they are.

For Epic - if I want to listen to high quality music 0 I'm not going to do that on my computer set-up in the study - the TV/Hi-fi integration in the living room is where I want to do it.


January 28, 2011, 4:46 pm

As follow-up, got a prompt feedback - good, answer though "We apologize for the inconvenience. Kindly note that when playing back an album, all the tracks play randomly and not in the order listed on the original CD’s. Have a great day sir." So you have to playback on "shuffle" or go to the effort of creating individual playlists for every album. Personally I view this as a close to fatal flaw for the kind of music I want to listen to.


February 3, 2011, 6:09 pm

Apparently there is an app for this Music Unlimited service on Android and iOS devices...

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