PlayStation maker Sony is reportedly at work on a multi-channel TV service that will rival cable, sources have told Hollywood news site Variety. The Japanese technology giant is currently in "active negotiations" with at least two "major content companies" to license their programming for a service that would launch in the United States as early as later this year.
The unnamed sources described Sony's ongoing discussions as "far beyond exploratory." A Sony representative was not immediately available to comment.
Details are thin on Sony's supposed TV service, though it is expected to be composed of linear channels similar to that of traditional TV providers. The main difference is that such programming would be delivered through a broadband connection, thus allowing access to subscribers across the country.
Such a TV service would work with Sony's lineup of connected devices, which include the PlayStation 3, its rumored successor, Bravia TV sets, Blu-ray players, and first-party tablets. It is not known if Sony would need to build new hardware for the service to work or whether not not it would be compatible with third-party offerings. Channels are not expected to be available on an a la carte basis, the sources said.
Sony competitor Microsoft was, in November 2010, rumored to be in talks with various networks to create a "virtual cable operator" through the Xbox 360. This never came to fruition, though Microsoft has since teamed up with Comcast and others to offer streaming access through Xbox Live applications.