|Original PS3 on left, new slim PS3 and controller on right|
While many would like to see such a service, it does not look like anyone, including Sony, has found a way to address the three fundamental things that are standing in the way of such an offering:
- Some channels do not have the right to transmit their programing (which is often acquired from a third party such as a movie studio) over the "open Internet". "Open" in this case is related to security -- studios are concerned about piracy -- rather than "open platform" the ability to have third party applications and providers running on the network. Something on the open Internet can be reached by anyone with Internet access; something on a close network requires a user to be physically connected to it. I defer the discussion of whether a VPN is closed or open to others.
- Sometimes cable/DBS companies actually forbid cable networks from distributing their programming over the Internet, even if such delivery is only to paying subscribers.
- One of the other problems is that advertising produced for television/MVPD compensates performers differently than advertising produced for the Internet. The advertisers, not unreasonably, don't want to pay more if a handful of people watch "TV" on the "Internet". One example of this is that MLB Extra Innings on cable contains the local TV commercials; MLB Extra Innings on the Roku box or on your computer does not. No advertising effectively makes the platform much less attractive to all the ad-supported basic cable networks (e.g., ESPN, CNN, USA, Lifetime).
Frequent readers will recognize this list from my post of 5 Nov.
How would we get past these issues? If the FCC declared that an over-the-top video distributor would be regulated as an MVPD, all of these issues would be effectively resolved. Short of that, it will take awhile.