By Kim Tae-gyu
Sony Computer Entertainment may link with Korean telecom companies to show video footage on demand to users of its PlayStation 3 consoles.
The outfit's Korean affiliate said Tuesday that it is in talks with multiple local telecom operators to enable people to enjoy video-on-demand (VOD) services via PlayStation 3 consoles.
``We are contacting some Korean firms in order to incorporate VOD applications into PlayStation 3 service line-up,'' Sony spokeswoman Park Seo-yun said.
She refused to elaborate about negotiation partners and a specific service timeline, but at least two domestic landline telecom carriers _ Hanaro Telecom and KT _ seem to be involved.
``We are negotiating with Sony and the atmosphere is pretty good. We hope we will be able to reach an agreement in June,'' a Hanaro spokesman said.
``Should we strike a deal with Sony, PlayStation 3 users can watch all the HanaTV programs after downloading software, without having to buy a dedicated set-top box,'' he said.
The Seoul-based Hanaro launched VOD services last July under the banner of HanaTV and attracted more than 430,000 clients as of the end of last month.
HanaTV lets its subscribers, who pay roughly 10,000 won a month, download various kinds of videos, including movies, music, soap operas and news.
The VOD services, otherwise called TV portals, are serviced by a broadband line and a set-top box that keeps TV sets hooked to the Internet.
The anonymous Hanaro spokesman predicted PlayStation 3 users will enjoy HanaTV content at the same price as regular subscribers when the firm signs a collaboration contract with Sony.
HanaTV users pay 10,000 won every month when they pledge to continue subscription longer than three years and the price will be cut by 20 percent for broadband clients of Hanaro Telecom.
Business bellwether KT, which offers its own VOD services named Megapass TV, also admitted to having met with Sony, but refused further comments.
PlayStation 3 refers to the third video-game console of Japan-based Sony, which is competing with Xbox 360 of Microsoft and Wii of Nintendo.
The console was released last November in Japan typically with a 60-gigabyte hard-disk drive, and has yet to make its way to Korea.
Sony plans to come up with 80-gigabyte models here next month, and this prompted rumors that Sony is preparing for VOD services that require big storage capacity.