Sony Corp. will begin testing an Internet-based television service in the U.S. this year, challenging traditional cable and satellite providers including Comcast Corp. and DirecTV.
The product will combine live programs with an on-demand library of films and TV shows, Andrew House, chief executive officer of Sony Computer Entertainment, said Tuesday at the International Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. The Tokyo- based company will also test a video-game streaming service for its PlayStation 4 console, smartphones and TVs.
The cloud-based efforts highlight Chief Executive Officer Kazuo Hirai’s bid to remake Sony for a new generation of consumers who want to access content anytime, anywhere. Sony’s products must embody the Japanese spirit of “kando,” to inspire or capture users emotionally, Hirai said from the stage at CES.
“We don’t consider any product a success unless we have delivered that ‘Wow,’ ” Hirai said. “The mission of Sony is to inspire and fulfill people’s curiosity around the world.”
Sony executives didn’t offer details of any content agreements for the TV service. Sony reached a preliminary accord to stream cable television programming from Viacom Inc. over the Web, a person with knowledge of the matter said in August.
The game service, called PlayStation Now, will offer a subscription option and titles to rent, House said. The company will demonstrate it this week at CES on its Bravia TV sets and the PS Vita handheld device, and begin testing in the U.S. at the end of this month. Full introduction is expected mid-year, House said.
Since taking over as chief executive officer in April 2012, Hirai has trumpeted what he calls a One Sony vision – that he can deliver better returns making televisions, mobile phones and consoles under the same roof as movies and TV shows, video games and music.
He took another step, outlining how Sony can use its unique assets to create products that will inspire young people who have grown up in a digital age.
Hirai stumbled in October when Sony reported a $180 million quarterly loss at Sony Pictures Entertainment, giving credence to calls made last year by billionaire hedge-fund investor Daniel Loeb, who urged the company to sell as much as 20 percent of the film and TV production and music businesses in an initial public offering.
Since then, Sony has scored a hit with the PlayStation 4, which has taken an early lead over Microsoft Corp.’s Xbox One.
Sony sold 4.2 million PlayStation One units through Dec. 28, House said, exceeding analysts’ estimates.
Microsoft, based in Redmond, Washington, said consumers bought more than 3 million Xbox One players in 2013.