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Sky Provides Video Downloads to Sony PSP

Informitv reports that Sky, the UK satellite pay-TV service provider, has announced a joint venture with Sony Computer Entertainment Europe to develop a download service for the PSP portable games player.

The new initiative will allow more than 2 million PlayStation Portable (PSP) owners in the United Kingdom and Ireland to download videos and TV related content to their handheld devices. Due to launch in early 2008, it will be the first official PSP video download service in Europe.

The platform will offer programming spanning sports, entertainment, movies, music and animation from both Sky and third-party channel partners. Videos will be downloadable to the PSP either directly through a wireless internet link or through a connection to a personal computer. Programs will be made available on a pay-per-view subscription basis.

"Sky and Sony Computer Entertainment Europe have complementary strengths in content, marketing and technology," said James Murdoch the chief executive officer of BSkyB. "Together, we're ideally placed to make portable, on-demand TV a reality."

The announcement comes shortly after Sony announced a new lighter and slimmer version of the PSP that can also be connected to a television set. Further details may be forthcoming at the Leipzig Games Convention in August.

I believe that this service launch is part of the broader handheld device trend of new integrated portable entertainment systems designed to handle multiple applications -- music, video, photo, internet, and wireless connectivity, with games usage as its primary application.

I'm wondering, however, if the video will only be delivered in a Sony proprietary DRM format, or will it meet the need for a solution where consumers pay only once for content, and are therefore able to move it to any open standards-based consumer electronics device of their choosing.

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