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Sony Remote Play: Cool tech you won't use

Sony Remote Play may let you watch movies streaming from your PS3 to your phone, but your monthly data allowance certainly won't.

You want to watch videos stored on your PS3 streamed to your mobile phone? It might sound like pie-in-the-sky tech, but Sony has developed exactly this and it's called Remote Play. It's a shame that most Aussies will never use it.

Sony Ericsson's Aino: the first phone with Remote Play. (Credit: Sony Ericsson)

Remote Play is software both on the PlayStation 3 and a compatible Sony Ericsson phone — to be released first on the Aino. Remote Play gives you control over your PS3's media functionality, letting you view media stored on the hard disk of the machine, and power it on and off.

When Remote Play is activated, the PS3 scales down its output to phone resolution (about VGA quality) and streams exactly what you see on the TV to your handset. On the TV this looks grainy and blurry, but on the phone you see the same picture crystal clear, including any full-length movie you have saved, or episodes of your favourite TV shows.

The reason most Australians won't use it is because streaming all the data to your phone will be prohibitively expensive. A Sony rep estimated that an MP4 video stream consumes about 750Kb-per-second, which would chew up even the most generous mobile data allowance in a single sitting. The alternative is Wi-Fi, but that's not going to help you when you're on the bus or train, or really anywhere outside a McDonald's in Australia. In fact, the only time we can imagine using Remote Play is in the bedroom, in lieu of buying a second TV, over our home Wi-Fi network.

The pain of knowing this tech exists but is mostly infeasible to use is heartbreaking enough, but consider how cool this will be when Sony finally gets around to releasing the Play TV digital tuner for the PS3 in Australia. You'd be able to set up your PS3 to record TV remotely using the phone, and because you are being streamed the output of the PS3 you could theoretically watch TV streaming directly to your phone.

To make this work Sony Ericsson will need to convince the carriers to give us the data outside the standard data allowances used in packages, similar to the way carriers create unlimited BlackBerry plans now. The difference, of course, is that BlackBerrys send tiny packets of data in emails while Remote Play will need huge amounts of data moving across the 3G networks.

Joseph Hanlon attends CommunicAsia as a guest of Sony Ericsson.