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Sony Experiments with Digital (Before DVD) Release

Sony Experiments with Digital (Before DVD) Release

Hancock may not be winning over the critics right now, but even the most skeptical folks out there assume it will be a big blockbuster with audiences. Let’s hope so, especially now that Sony has decided to take an uncoventional approach for a major film release: shortly after the film’s theatrical window expires, Hancock will be made available to consumers directly over their Sony Bravia Internet connection. In other words, it will make the film available for direct download on home televisions, before it arrives on DVD or pay cable.

This news is particularly interesting when you consider that of all the companies out there, Sony is the one with the biggest stake in keeping the DVD market stable, what with their Blu-ray technology the soon-dominant force in that market. Like all things in the entertainment business, if this works, expect a tidal wave of followers. From Tim Arango’s New York Times piece on the announcement:

Sony lost a first battle to Apple and its iPod in the drive to create a digital music device for the masses, despite the predigital age dominance of the Walkman and Sony’s ownership of one of the largest music companies in the world.

With its Internet-connected televisions and content from its Hollywood studio, Sony is aiming to avenge its loss to Apple in music by being a dominant player in home entertainment of the future. (Apple, incidentally, also has designs on home entertainment with its Apple TV device.) “One of the most interesting things about this is putting the television front and center in the living room,” [CEO Howard] Stringer said, as opposed to having a computer or a hand-held device as the center for watching streamed video.

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