Korean PS3 to feature VOD

[UPDATE] Sony plans to offer a video-on-demand service in South Korea, where the console is due to be launched mid-June; still no US release plans.

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Earlier this week, it was announced that South Korea would be getting a new model of the PlayStation 3 console, sporting a 80GB hard drive. So far, Sony has said that there are no immediate plans to release the new machine--said to be identical to the European model in every other way--in other countries.

The reasoning behind releasing an 80GB PS3 in South Korea is now becoming clearer--Sony plans to offer video-on-demand services to the region, reports the Korea Times.

Sony Korea spokesperson Park Seo-yun told the newspaper that the company was in negotiations with possible partner companies for the VOD service, although she declined to name them or offer a timeline. The PS3 is due to be released in South Korea on June 16.

An anonymous Hanaro Telecom--a Korean phone company--spokesperson commented, "We are negotiating with Sony and the atmosphere is pretty good. We hope to be able to reach an agreement in June."

Hanaro Telecom last July launched HanaTV, a VOD service that costs around 10,000 won a month (approximately $11) and lets users download a variety of different types of videos through a set-top box in South Korea. So far, the service has more than 430,000 subscribers.

Microsoft launched a VOD service called Video Marketplace over Xbox Live in November last year, allowing Xbox 360 owners in the US to download TV programmes and rent movies. So far, there has been no word of when (or if) the service is due to come to Europe.

The anonymous Hanaro spokesperson added that if the deal was successful, it would mean that PS3 owners could watch HanaTV without the need for a set-top box, and that the monthly costs would be the same as for current HanaTV subscribers.

[UPDATE] The addition of VOD makes the 80GB PS3 even more appealing to US gamers. However, Sony still has no public plans to bring the form factor to North America. "We are constantly looking at new technologies, services and configurations to meet the evolving needs of our PlayStation gamers," a rep told GameSpot. "But at this time, we have no announcement regarding any changes in our PS3 product offering in North America."

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