Wed, Dec 07, 2005 - Page 10 News List

New service brings TV to laptops

MOBILE VIEWING Sony will launch an Internet TV service next month that will enable users to watch local programs, even if they're not in the country

By Jason Tan  /  STAFF REPORTER

Starting next month, Taiwanese consumers will be able to view real-time local TV programs on their laptops even when abroad, as long as they have a broadband connection.

This is made possible because Sony Taiwan Ltd is set to launch its latest LocationFree TV product here in the middle of next month, the firm's division president Hiroyuki Oda told reporters yesterday.

"Taiwan is one of the most important IT bases in Asia, and consumers here easily embrace new high-tech products," he said, explaining why Taiwan was chosen as the third country for Sony to introduce the product.

The product was first unveiled in early October in Japan and the US.

LocationFree TV enables people to watch television programs on the go. With a broadband connection, its base station can broadcast TV and content from devices such as DVD players or hard-disk recorders across the Internet to wherever viewers are.

"LocationFree TV will especially benefit Taiwanese citizens residing abroad, as they will be able to watch all the local TV programs, just as they do at home," Oda said.

He brushed aside concerns about competition from similar Internet TV services.

Real time

Internet TV offers selected programs and limited content for home viewers, but not real-time viewing from any location, he said.

Since the service has been well received by Japanese and US consumers, the Japanese firm expects the same response in Taiwan, Oda said, while declining to reveal target sales or available units.

The product is priced at NT$9,990 (US$299).

LocationFree TV will gradually become available in other European or Asian countries next year, but the timeframe for its release has not yet been finalized, he added.

In addition to computers, users of PlayStation Portable gaming consoles will be able to watch TV as well.

More audio and visual products such as personal digital assistants or phones will possibly be added as viewing devices for LocationFree TV in the future, Oda said.

LCD sales rise

In other news, Sony said local sales of its 32-inch liquid-crystal-display (LCD) TVs will rise above 3,000 units this month, a figure which would make it the top seller in the 32-inch LCD TV category.

"We sold more than 1,000 units of the 32-inch Bravia series in October, which made us the No. 2 seller in the category. As we are increasing production capacity of these TVs to accommodate strong local demand, sales will double this month," Oda said.

In late September Sony debuted the 32-inch series at NT$59,900, a price similar to local brands, in an attempt to regain its past market leadership.

As Sony aims to grab the top spot in the local LCD TV market next year, it will expand its products to entice more buyers, and may include a 45-inch lineup, he added.

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