Skip to main content

Rumor: Sony in talks about Internet-based rival to cable TV

sony-buildingWith Google and Apple looking at ways to change how TV shows are delivered into the home, it may come as little surprise that other tech giants are also beginning to examine the same area.

Cable TV operators will be disheartened to hear that Sony is the latest company to take an interest. The Wall Street Journal reported on Wednesday that the Japanese electronics firm is talking to “several big media companies” in the hope of persuading them to offer their TV channels over the Internet. The WSJ quoted “people familiar with the situation.”

Apparently Sony has the idea to send programming content via the Internet to its own televisions, gaming consoles and Blu-ray players, by-passing the need for a cable provider.

Giving some indication of audience reach, the WSJ reported that, up to now, Sony has sold somewhere in the region of 18 million PlayStation 3 consoles in the US. In contrast, Comcast, the largest US cable operator, has just over 22.5 million video subscribers.

Among the companies Sony is thought to have so far approached are Comcast’s NBCUniversal and News Corp. If the Tokyo-based company was able to reach agreements with some of the big media companies, and Google and Apple made headway with their similar projects, it would leave the cable companies with little choice but to adapt or possibly perish. As the WSJ’s Sam Schechner says, it might result in some of them offering Internet-based packages. At the least it should, in the face of increased competition, see a drop in rates for cable subscribers.

For Sony, if it succeeded in striking deals, it would breathe some much needed life into its struggling hardware business, driving sales in its loss-making TV set division, as well as of its gaming consoles and other equipment.

Indeed, its TV-set business hasn’t made a dime in eight years, with the company announcing in August that it would be undertaking a review of its entire TV division. The results of part of that review could be linked with today’s news that it is looking into the idea of distributing TV shows over the Internet, and to recent reports suggesting that the company is looking to build a “different kind of TV set,” likely for use with its rumored Internet-based TV project.

Editors' Recommendations

Trevor Mogg
Contributing Editor
Not so many moons ago, Trevor moved from one tea-loving island nation that drives on the left (Britain) to another (Japan)…
Exclusive: An inside look at Sony’s exciting new mini-LED backlight tech
A prototype Sony television with half the screen as normal, and half the screen showing a representation of how the new backlight system works.

Anyone who has followed our TV reviews over the years has heard me repeatedly say what Sony has always told anyone who asks for specs and details on its backlight systems: It’s not the number of zones or the number of LEDs you have in the backlight setup — it’s how you use them.

Upon hearing this, I've always told Sony, “OK, I’ll accept that. But will you please dish on how you use them that’s different?” And, of course, Sony wouldn’t say. That is until Sony hosted me at a small press trip in Tokyo in November 2023, which laid the groundwork for what you're reading here.

Read more
Sony Bravia X95L mini-LED vs. TCL QM8 QLED: The best LCD TV and the one you should buy
Sony X95L vs TCL QM8

This comparison puts Sony’s flagship mini-LED TV, the Sony X95L, versus the TCL QM8, TCL’s best mini-LED TV. I’ve called the Sony X95L the best LCD TV I’ve ever tested, and I’ve said that the TCL QM8 might just be the best value in TV right now, despite a few notable quirks.

But is this really a fair fight? There’s more than $2,000 separating these 85-inch TVs. In terms of price, Sony’s X90L is a closer match to the TCL QM8. But in terms of technology and the fact that these are the best LCD TVs on offer from Sony and TCL, I think this versus will be fun — never mind whether it makes a lot of sense.

Read more
Sony’s A75L is its most affordable 4K OLED TV so far
Sony Bravia A75L OLED 4K TV.

Sony has announced that it's about to begin taking preorders on its 2023 Bravia A75L OLED 4K TV -- a model that shares all of the same high-end picture quality technologies found on the company's Bravia A80L, but costs much less. The A75L is available in 55- and 65-inch screen sizes, for $1,600 and $2,000 respectively. That's up to $500 less than the same sizes of the A80L. Sony expects preorders to begin in early October.

The A75L definitely brings the price of Sony's incredible OLED TV picture quality within reach of more people, but if you're in the market to buy a new TV right now, you may want to check out Sony or Amazon for their current pricing on the Bravia A80L: the 55-inch model is $1,600 (the same as the A75L) and the 65-inch model is just $1,800 ($200 less than the A75L).

Read more