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January 8, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

Sony chief Kazuo Hirai announced on Tuesday that the company plans to launch a new TV channel in the U.S. this year — but it won’t be on cable, on satellite, or over the air — but on the cloud. Speaking with reporters at the International Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, Hirai said the channel will include live programs plus on-demand movies and TV shows. And Hirai said that he won’t consider the channel a success “unless we have delivered that ‘Wow!'” He suggested that the channel would succeed largely because it had an established base of 25 million PlayStation 3 users in the U.S. — “a compelling number,” said Hirai. (And besides, the channel will also provide streaming video games.) At least one leading media analyst promptly threw cold water on Sony’s plans. Noting that Intel had ballyhooed a similar plan a year ago that came to naught because it was unable to sign content deals, Kafka said that while Sony has made some headway with Viacom, it had not signed a deal with anyone yet — including its own movie and TV studio. “Programmers are loath to give any new competitor — Sony, Intel, Apple or anyone else contemplating getting into Web TV — a feature that won’t be available to all of their customers,” Kafka observed. And Sony can’t make deals that would make its cloud service more attractive to customers than cable or satellite packages, “Why would you buy your TV from Sony instead of Comcast,” Kafka asks, “particularly when you’re still going to have to buy broadband from Comcast or somebody else?”