In the absence of access to the BBC iPlayer or ITV Player, Sony delivers Demand Five. The front-end is divided into genres such as Documentary, Entertainment, Soap, New and Last Chance, though almost every programme also has a thumbnail icon of its own, too.
Home & Away and Neighbours feature heavily, as does the Gadget Show, in an ever-changing roster of 'light' fare. Sport content extends to just the Ultimate Fighting Championship, whatever that is.
The good news is that Sony is planning to bring BBC iPlayer, ITV Player and 4oD to the platform within months.
After the temporary domination of football is over, it's services such as LoveFilm that will determine the success of online video portals such as this.
It's a good interface that's divided into the same grid as every other widget, with easy-to-use chapters such as Highest Rated, Pick of the Week, British Classics and every other genre you can think of, but there's no search function, and nor is it free; unlimited access to 65,000 movies costs £9.99 per month, though if you visit the website you can sign-up to a free two-week trial – but only if you're not already a postal subscriber to LoveFilm.
Excellently this service loads quickly and includes access to trailers (also through a separate dedicated trailers widget on Sony's home screen), with movies loaded in around 30 seconds and streamed in decent DVD quality.
There's no chapter-skipping feature, but it's possible to scan through the movie very quickly using a visual progress bar. This is a standard definition service; there are some trailers for Blu-ray titles, but the picture quality is no better.
As with the LoveFilm's member's website, titles can be added to your postal list – essentially this is for titles (including all Blu-ray discs) not available on this streaming service.
Video sharing sites
Eurosport's rolling archive is divided into sports, but the inclusion of basketball and handball over cricket and rugby brings an immediate yellow card for cultural ignorance. Even the football footage is grouped into Football, World Cup 2010 and, err, Bundesliga, and is mostly interviews with managers.
Nor does it update regularly, while volume levels fluctuate wildly between clips. It's not a patch on Panasonic's version, and reveals that Sony's glossy interface is great for thumbing through archives, but not good at all for news services.
YouTube and Dailymotion are a welcome addition to Sony's platform and both are presented in the same easy-to-see manner. Featured, Most Popular, Most Discussed, Most Responded, Most Viewed, Top Favourites and Top Rated videos on YouTube are viewable, and are accompanied by a useful search function. YouTube is the only widget here that steers clear of the grid style used elsewhere by Sony in favour of its own native design.
Meanwhile Dailymotion's 40,000+ clips are unhelpfully divided into Other and HD, the latter of which are streamed in excellent quality. There's no way to find any particular video, making this widget another miss-fire.
A plethora of podcasts and videos from Videocast.com are also available, but short of some material from NASA and MTV it's mostly from US-based news networks and websites, and is of little interest for the living room.