PS3 Plays Catchup

11:40 AM -- Sony Corp. (NYSE: SNE) "is a company that has so much promise and so underdelivers," said Colin Dixon, an analyst with The Diffusion Group (TDG) .

We were talking last week about the PlayStation 3. Dixon follows IPTV -- and, increasingly, over-the-top video strategies -- and he was wondering why the PS3 isn't being used in more, well, out-of-the-console activities.

The PS3 can be a game player and a Blu-ray DVD player, but: movie downloads? Music? A tie-in with Bravia HD screens? "There's so much more they could be doing with that thing," Dixon said.

Sony addressed at least a little bit of that today, announcing movie downloads for the PS3, along with a price cut to $400 from $500 for the 80-Gbyte version. It's a start.

Sony announced this at E3, where the console makers aren't knocking anyone's socks off so far, apparently.

Movie downloads are a big deal for Sony simply because Microsoft Corp. (Nasdaq: MSFT) has them for the Xbox 360. (Apple Inc. (Nasdaq: AAPL) is a competitor too, whether Sony admits it or not.) Sony teased the world with talk of movie rentals in Korea last year but didn't plunge into the idea until a couple of weeks ago, when executives included video services as part of Sony's midterm strategy.

Dixon's quote might still be appropriate, though. Movie downloads are just a catchup move for the PS3. What about running the whole living room? BT wants to use the Xbox 360 as a set-top box, and you'd think Sony would covet that kind of position. (See BT Adds to Its IPTV Options.)

I do think there's a market out there for living rooms powered by a gaming console. Sure, some people won't want to have one company -- particularly Microsoft -- gain that kind of hegemony in their homes. But others would be drooling over the coolness (or simplicity) of it all.

— Craig Matsumoto, West Coast Editor, Light Reading

Sign In