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An executive of Sony Computer Entertainment Inc. said in an interview that the company was going to launch movie download service for the PlayStation 3 owners, which should allow them to acquire new content without buying DVDs or Blu-ray discs. The move will also make the PlayStation 3 console an entertainment machine rather than a pure game console.

“I think PlayStation 3 needs to stand for gaming and digital entertainment in the living room pushing the envelope of high definition, pushing the envelope of broadband, and of course that includes more than just games. We don’t have the announcements that you're probably looking for today, but it is digital data. We have a hard drive, we have a commerce engine, it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out we will have that on the network very shortly,” said Phil Harrison the president of Sony Computer Entertainment Europe, in an interview with 1UP web-site.

Currently there are no details concerning movie downloads via PlayStation Network, e.g., pricing, however, in order to be successful, Sony offering should be as advanced as Microsoft’s Xbox Marketplace and Apple’s iTunes store. The former offers a variety of standard definition (SD, about $4 per movie) and high definition (HD, about $6 per movie) movies as well as SD (about $2 per episode) and HD (about $3 per episode) TV shows, whereas the latter offers below-DVD quality movies for $9.99 – $14.99 and similar quality TV-shows for $1.99.

“We made a very conscious decision in putting a hard drive in every machine and a minimum of 20GB, 60GB and who knows in the future, maybe that will rise – you know, that tends to be a trend. “The ten year plan of allowing people to download all kinds of digital content to their PlayStation 3 – not just games but movies, music, HD, standard definition TV, you name it. And that was a significant investment, but it was absolutely the right thing to do,” said Mr. Harrison.

In case Sony decided to let its PlayStation 3 customers to download music using the PlayStation Network, it will also have to consider whether to impose any limitations, e.g., to sell music in a proprietary format. Obviously, far not all PlayStation 3 customers use Sony’s digital media players or PlayStation Portable, hence, the music store will hardly become popular if the content will not be playable on devices like Apple’s iPod.

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