Hands on: Sony Bravia Internet Video review

Bravia Internet Video hits the UK
Bravia Internet Video hits the UK

Update: read our full Sony Bravia Internet Video review.

Sony revealed more details of its Bravia Internet Video service today, which is available through its latest web-connected Blu-ray players.

The service is Sony's push into bringing web content to your TV, with the company trying to make it as easy as possible for you to enjoy internet content from your television set.

TechRadar were given a demo of the service and were impressed with what we saw. As it uses Sony's now-familiar XMB – well, familiar if you are a PS3 user – there's a sense of simplicity to how you access content.

All you need to do is flick to the Video section of the XMB and a number of feeds will be available to view.

sony bravia

Guiding us through Bravia Internet video was Ed Uzzell, Proposition Development Manager Services and Revenue Development at Sony, who explained a number of the features we can expect to find.

"One of our big partners is LoveFilm," explained Uzzell.

"While the films are only available in standard def at the moment, you can start streaming them straight away."

Streaming will be a main part of the service as there isn't actually any way to keep the content you are looking at. Unlike, say a PVR, as the service is on Blu-ray player – there's no hard drive inside for archiving.

We asked Uzzell why Sony chose LoveFilm and hadn't just gone with its own on-demand service Qirocity (which is out in the US). He noted that while Qirocity is coming to Europe ("timeline TBC"), the movies on it will be somewhat different.

"LoveFilm has a great selection of Indies. Qirocity will house all the premium movies when it comes to market."

Bravia internet video

One of the other big partners for Bravia Internet Video is Channel 5. Its Demand Five catch-up site is also included – offering shows like Home & Away and Neighbours to view whenever you want.

The quality of the stream was more than passable, something which Sony is priding itself on.

"Although the original source size picture is quite small, Sony's Bravia Engine 3 kicks in and scales it up to whatever size your TV is," explains Uzzell.

Bravia Internet Video isn't just about content you can already find on your television, though.

Sony is looking to bring in shows from which may not have mass appeal. One which we were shown was the Digital Concert Hall, which features music and visuals from the Berlin orchestra.

Some of this content will be free but there will be subscription elements to it. It seems that Sony is happy to be a provider of content for niche markets but only if it's of a good quality.

Bravia internet video

"The Bravia Internet Video service could cater for more niche content. For instance we have the TED Talks for the tech geeks. But we don't want every man and his dog on the service.

"We need to get the right content and the right strategy behind it."

One of the ways to do this is to offer subscription-based services. Something Sony is doing but keeping to a minimum.

"The Bravia Internet Service is not about erecting a massive pay-wall," notes Uzzell. "90 per cent of the content will be available for free, with some subscription deals in place.

"There will be RSS feeds you can subscribe to and unsubscribe too, so you can make the service your own."

Bravia internet video

Bravia Internet Video is definitely a step in the right direction for bringing web content to TVs.

With the likes of iPlayer launching on the service at the end of the month – and you can expect more big-names to come on board soon – as long as the content keeps on coming Sony may well be on to something special.

Marc Chacksfield

Marc Chacksfield is the Editor In Chief, Shortlist.com at DC Thomson. He started out life as a movie writer for numerous (now defunct) magazines and soon found himself online - editing a gaggle of gadget sites, including TechRadar, Digital Camera World and Tom's Guide UK. At Shortlist you'll find him mostly writing about movies and tech, so no change there then.