Sony has announced that Ten's new catch-up service will join Sony's Smart TV line-up in June. Ten's new offering, its first catch-up service, will join ABC iView, SBS On Demand and Plus7 to give Sony the widest catch-up channel offering to date.
Sony now claims 29 Smart TV channels available in its latest TVs, including on-demand services, like Quickflix and WiggleTime TV, as well as specialist offerings, like Billabong, and direct access to sites like YouTube.
There is a lot of competition to deliver the most comprehensive range of streaming services now, as well as to aim to deliver exclusive access to interesting niches, like LG's Red Bull sports offering. But the catch-up TV services may just be one of the more useful of all the services offered by Smart TVs.
Whereas streaming from paid, on-demand platforms or open video sites can be found in a variety of ways, most catch-up services are either locked to websites or can only be found now directly within smart TVs or new smart TV-branded set-top boxes and DVD/Blu-ray players. Catch-up services are also very time sensitive, with most programming disappearing within one or two weeks, so having quick and easy access makes a big difference in how much you are likely to use such services.
With that in mind, Sony moves closest to pulling off a full house of catch-up options, needing only the Nine Network to come on-board. Nine has a long-standing relationship with Microsoft, and currently offers some catch-up offerings via a NineMSN app on the Xbox 360. Whether it aims to remain exclusive or broaden its offering remains to be seen.
At a consumer level, we hope that the networks see more benefit in wide availability, rather than forming any exclusive relationships with manufacturers or platforms. But we know all too well that in the current market, competition is fierce and a lot of backroom bargaining is taking place.
Sony claims a win by having four network catch-up services on-board when Ten launches in June.
Who will be first to catch 'em all? Will it happen this year?