Hey, you remember Sony, right? Not that the tech-gadget company has completely gone away or anything, but you remember when it ruled the world with such cool devices as the walkman or discman, don’t you? You remember the days when you would walk down the hall of your college dormitory and find some dude reading a Hunter S. Thompson book while blasting Sublime on something that showcased the letters “S” “O” “N” and “Y” at least six times on the design, right? How about traveling with the rest of your high school basketball team and being bummed out when the batteries ran dry on your way home from a crushing playoff loss? You remember those memories, right?
Right. It’s true: Way before the world of iPods, iPads, iMacs, iCars, iVision and iWonderwhenalowercaseiwillgooutofstyle, Sony was on top of the world. It was like the mid-90s version of today’s gigantic Apple conglomerate. Both my CD and record players don the Sony brand and even today, you can find many a television set with that word molded onto the front of it. It’s not that Sony doesn’t matter anymore, per se. It’s just that Sony used to matter the most. These days? Not so much.
So, with what do you think the Japanese stalwart made news on Friday? The latest model of its mini-disc player? Nope (though as I know my father would argue, those products did serve some pretty cool purposes). From The Independent…
“The Japanese electronics giant believes it may be one of the companies powerful enough to dislodge cable TV providers and satellite broadcasters from their entrenched position in American homes, and it is in negotiations to assemble content for a new internet TV service for people who buy its devices,” the UK news giant wrote recently. “There are already more than 18 million homes in the U.S. with an internet-enabled PlayStation 3, and Sony’s new mid and high-end televisions all come with an internet connection. The company already offers movie rentals through its devices, but now wants to add whole TV channels.”
Sony’s back! Notice the exclamation point.
The article goes on to explain that in recent weeks, the company has allegedly been in talks with NBC Universal, News Corp. and Discovery Communications about the possibility of future partnerships. And in addition to the PlayStation 3 and television sets, remember, Sony is also a player in the Blu-ray market, thus allowing for a connection with the growing number of consumers who are ditching their DVD players in favor of the latest laser-disc technology.
And that’s why this news actually might mean something. Sony isn’t Google. In fact, Sony isn’t even Apple. Sony is its own brand that has been around for ages. And I mean A-G-E-S. Having been in people’s living rooms since the mid 1940s, the electronics giant already has a pretty reliable fan base, who have grown up with Sony, currently use Sony products, and plan on sticking with Sony for the rest of forever and ever. Who’s to say it wouldn’t make an impact on the world of Internet television if it actually, truly put its head down and made an attempt at being a major player?
Richard Broughton, head of boradband media at Screen Digest, noted how much of an edge Sony may have.
“Cable companies have to be careful about not annoying their existing customers, whereas device manufacturers can put new services on new devices and test things in the market in a way that a cable or satellite company cannot,” he told The Independent. “The technology is now, and you can reliably deliver TV by the internet to most consumers in most markets at high quality.”
And so it goes. With the addition of Sony’s hat in the race for Internet television domination, is there any major player left that we haven’t heard from? That’s a good question, disembodied voice. I’ll be sure to ponder that as I spend this weekend figuring out who released the best music within the last 12 months. If only my discman still worked …