There are plenty of internet TV stations vying for attention at the minute, but none that we know of are entirely advertising funded and tailored to individual customers like Sony’s new Japanese venture.
The company’s ‘branco’ station goes live at the end of March with six channels covering cartoons, drama shows, music videos and even Flash-animated cartoons only.
Like many satellite channels, each branco strand will repeat itself throughout the day – in this case, over six four-hour loops per channel per day. Sony plans to refresh each channel every other day.
Quality is claimed to be akin to a normal DVD recording, which accounts for the encoding rates Sony is using. A bandwidth requirement of up to 3.8Mbps may be too much for most UK home connections, but is hardly an issue in Japan, where 100Mbps fibre connections are both common and cheap.
The branco service, which is being offered only for Windows users through a downloadable Windows Media-based player, will rely on demographic data gathered from each viewer to decide what to broadcast.
As well as the attempt to tailor programming to users’ tastes, branco also includes an instant-message client that allows people watching the same content to get in touch with each other, presumably to bitch about the adverts.