With more and more households ditching traditional cable in favor of streaming services like Netflix, Hulu, and HBOGo, Sony is looking to join the fray with its own multichannel TV service.
A new report from Variety claims Sony is looking to rival cable with an its own MSO, short for Multiple System Operator. According to the site, the Japanese tech giant is in "active negotiations" with two major content companies about licensing their channels.
“Few specifics are known about the proposed service,” Variety admitted, “but it would be a package of linear channels akin to what pay-TV distributors traditionally provide, only delivered via broadband connection. In contrast to the cable operators who are bound by a geographic footprint, a virtual MSO can conceivably offer TV service to any subscriber nationwide.”
One major hurdle, however, could be the cost. Variety estimates it could cost Sony billions of dollars for the necessary "content and infrastructure"; it's money Sony doesn't necessarily have. Such an endeavor could worry investors, already concerned about the company's recent financial troubles (though it is slowly improving).
Interestingly, Variety said it remains "unclear whether Sony would have to create additional hardware to activate a multichannel service within those devices or whether a deployment would even be restricted to Sony products." Also, the service isn't expected to offer channels on an a la carte basis.
Sony's move into a virtual MSO market is definitely risky, but it's also bold. With the recent acquisition of cloud gaming firm Gaikai and now this, Sony could be readying an impressive new PlayStation console. Microsoft has already made it clear that they intend for their consoles to expand well beyond gaming, and now it appears Sony is following suit. Is this a smart move for Sony?