If you've been hankering for a guest programming gig at ABC1's Rage but somehow haven't managed to be part of a world famous act nor nabbed your own ABC show, VidZone for PlayStation 3 might be the go for you. Just don't ask us when it's coming out.
You don't need to be Lawrence Leung to choose your own music videos.
This morning Sony Computer Entertainment Australia revealed its new VidZone service, which will allow PS3 users to stream music videos to their TVs for free. Developed by an independent UK company, VidZone will feature video clips from "thousands upon thousands" of artists from all labels, not just Sony's. Although indy labels are included, the target audience is mainstream, so you can probably expect more Beyonce and less Seasick Steve.
According to Sony reps, the system will stream appropriately compressed videos for your internet connection's bandwidth; however, they weren't able to say how many megabytes a high quality clip might chew through. During our time with VidZone today, video quality ranged from decent — probably the only time we'll attach that adjective to Guy Sebastian — to downright blocky.
Although still under final development, the version of VidZone we saw today was "about 85 per cent" complete and was stable, aside from some seemingly unrelated networking issues, allowing users to not only search predictively for artists but also create playlists. Supported by some website-like on-screen advertising in the menus, as well as small overlays at the beginning of clips, VidZone will be a free download from the PlayStation Store and is free to use — broadband limits not withstanding.
Along with the UK, Ireland, France, Germany, Italy and Spain, Australia will be one of the first countries to receive the service. Although when we pressed Sony representatives for a launch date they ummed and ahhed, muttered something E3 and then distracted us with another video from C+C Music Factory's oeuvre.
At the very worst, it has to be better than watching Video Hits or, natch, Eclipse, and unlike MTV you'll actually be able to watch music videos instead of The Hills.