As part of Sony's Pause event in Sydney, Sony Computer Entertainment Australia announced a new service coming exclusively to the PlayStation 3 - Vidzone.
The new service is an optional download that places a new icon on the cross-media bar (XMB), allowing access to a massive number of music videos on demand.
VidZone will also be bringing live concert videos, as well as behind the scenes, interviews and making of footage, to your TV when it launches on PS3.
To quote: According to Michael Ephraim, Managing Director of Sony Computer Entertainment Australia, the service is aiming for a June launch, possibly to coincide with E3 - though this is subject to change.
The service itself, which is listed under 'music' on the XMB as a small TV set with a 'Z' in it, is free to all PS3 owners who choose to install the application. However, revenue appears to be generated from ad placement within the browser window.
While in the Vidzone, you can search for artists, by track, genre or album and you can save playlists. The menu is a simple up/down scroll through letters, rather than the pop-up menu generally used.
The selected video can be maximized with a tap of select, instantly filling the screen with sharp, streaming video content. You can also pause, fast-forward and rewind these videos.
We were impressed by the quality of the streaming video - loading without delay and running smoothly in a decent resolution - at this stage, the specifics are unclear. That said, Ephraim confirmed that the service would be cached locally, to ensure that every user, regardless of location, could expect excellent streaming.
That's not all - the service also allows you to set up playlists on your PSP while you're on the go, so they're cued up when you get home to your PS3 console.
Region-specific content is also on the way, and Sony hopes to have 10,000 videos on the service in the near future. Most major labels are currently in talks to bring their artists to the service; Sony has declined to comment further on this.
Stay tuned for more details on Vidzone and other announcements soon.
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