RealTime IT News

Sony Takes AV Broadband with CoCoon

Sony Wednesday unveiled a new strategy intended to create a "new style of audiovisual entertainment centered on home television" by equipping key gateway devices with large capacity hard disks and broadband connectivity.

Dubbed CoCoon, for COnnected COmmunity On Network, Sony's new line of devices will use the hard disks to enable consecutive recording and playback of both music and movies. Combined with broadband connections, the devices will be capable of network functions.

For instance, the first CoCoon product Sony will launch, also announced Wednesday, is a personal video recorder (PVR). The user sets preferences by selecting from 44 keywords, and the device can then access information online and records television programs matching those preferences. Sony said the device will be capable of analyzing previous user choices and items stored on its hard disk to tailor the user profile.

The device, which Sony plans to introduce in Japan on Nov. 1, will feature a 160 GB hard disk drive capable of recording 15 hours of high-definition programs or 100 hours of standard programs. Sony said it may expand the drive to 320 GB. Additionally, the company plans to offer a for-fee service that would allow users to program the PVR from a mobile phone.

CoCoon will encompass four lines of gateway devices: WEGA TVs, PlayStation 2 game consoles, VAIO computers, and "mobile devices" like phones. The CoCoon products will use Linux as their operating system, and microprocessors based on reduced instruction-set computing technology developed by MIPS Technology.