Traditional pay TV – death by a thousand cuts

Hot on the heels of Google TV Sony has announced a deal with HBO to release shows for the PlayStation 3 and PSP.  From yesterday HBOS shows old and new, including True Blood and two of my favourites The Wire and The Sopranos were viewable on the PlayStation Network (probably only in the US).

This deal takes a small piece of value away from pay TV subscriptions.  It will probably only cost them a few subscribers, but it is additive to other developments including movies on demand from Netflix in the US and Lovefilm in the UK (which is now available on Samsung and Sony TVs) and in combination these alternatives could undermine the subscription options from companies like Sky and Comcast.

The emerging challenge to the traditional set top box model looks like it will see third party technology embedded in either televisions or other devices already in the home (consoles, freeview boxes etc.) which are not tied to proprietary services.  My guess is that this will be an intermediate step before we have a PC based model that treats TVs as displays on a network.  In the long run standards based hardware should be the cheaper option.

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