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Qriocity Music Unlimited Service review

John Archer



Our Score


Review Price free/subscription

The days when your TV is the same by the time you get rid of it as it was when you bought it are well and truly over. The ability to attach modern TVs to the Internet has suddenly made them wannabe PCs, regularly downloading firmware updates and even new features.

So it was that within seemingly hours of writing our previous Online TV Services update (published on December 28th, but written around the 22nd), Sony added yet another big feature to its Bravia Internet Video platform: Qriocity Music Unlimited. It felt like we’d been given a last-minute Christmas present. 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.

Now that we’ve had time to digest it, Music Unlimited - which is also available on the PS3 or your PC - has turned out to be extensive and interesting (though certainly not always in a good way!) enough to warrant a dedicated review.

There are essentially two main strands to the Music Unlimited service. First, it wants to give you access to music stored on Sony’s Qriocity servers, for streaming radio-style into your TV or saving into personal playlists held on Sony’s ‘cloud’. Second and, to be honest, more interestingly from our point of view, it allows you to create your own library of music to share across your supported devices (linked via your simple email account details and a password) by importing sounds from your existing PC library or by adding songs that you discover through the service.

Its catalogue currently runs to a rather vague ‘millions of songs’ - and no, we didn’t actually count them all ourselves - and Sony’s boast is that Music Unlimited has the flexibility to allow you to 'continue to enjoy your current favourites while discovering great new music through recommendations and channels organised by genre, era, mood, popularity and others'. What it neglects to say is that this is only the case if you don’t use a Mac.

For at the time of writing, there’s no software support for adding to the Music Unlimited system music stored on Apple Mac notebooks or desktops. When questioned about this, Sony’s reply was that Music Unlimited is designed for use with Sony products. The sheer dumbness of this is thrown into even starker perspective given the announcement just days ago of Apple’s soaring profits.

We guess you could just use the Music Unlimited service only on your TV, effectively as a ‘live’ radio station that also lets you build playlists from the content you find. But we really don’t think this level of service would be enough in itself to justify Music Unlimited’s cost.

Yes, that’s right, cost. For the elephant in the room we’ve carefully been treading around up until now is that Music Unlimited requires you to pay for it if you want it to deliver any even remotely useful level of service.

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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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