SONY RECENTLY LAUNCHED its new video store for the PS3 and PSP, and over the weekend we've been poking at it thoroughly.
There's a large variety of content available, with some very recent titles - for example, the latest Transformers, Star Trek movie, Inglourious Basterds - however most of the films are considerably older amongst these newer hits. You can view the range of titles at Sony's video store website.
You have the option to buy or rent movies, with renting prices for new HD titles at around £4.49 per film, with older titles at £3.49, which seems a slight hike over traditional physical video outlets. A comparable Bluray from Blockbuster costs in the region of £3.95 to rent. SD prices start at £2.49 for older titles.
Purchasing a SD movie - HD titles aren't yet available - will cost about £11.99, which may appear to be a similar price to traditional physical media until you realise it's stuck forever on your PS3/PSP, for roughly the same price as a transportable DVD.
Rentals last for 14 days but once you press play you have 48 hours to finish watching the film before its gone.
There's a fair amount available, though more needs to be added - the service launched with more than 800 titles, 146 in HD.
There's one major problem with the service in its current guise though. It takes ages to download a film, especially if it's HD.
A typical HD film clocks in at around 8GB. We were using a connection that was downloading at a good 10 to 11Mbps, yet each HD film was taking a whopping seven to eight hours to download. In that time you could've retrieved several videos from Blockbuster, watched and returned them.
SD films chime in at around 2GB - which take about 2 hours to download. An hour a gig seems to be the going rate over our admittedly pretty fast broadband link.
Thus you'll have to think ahead before you want to watch something, especially in HD.
The service is lovingly presented, but the prices need to come down, and Sony needs to provide increased bandwidth to users of the store. With current broadband speeds there's always going to be a wait, but 1GB an hour is simply too much to ask. µ