A Japanese trial between Sony and Sentivision will allow users to access high definition video on demand that can be paid for by a contactless card or phone equipped with Sony’s FeliCa technology.
TOKYO–Sentivision Ltd., in collaboration with Sony Communication Network Corporation (SCN), has developed the world’s first video-on-demand (VOD) system that has enabled very easy payment using “Edy” electronic money.
With collaboration from Sony Corporation and bitWallet, Inc., Sentivision and SCN have started a trial of on-demand high-definition (HD) video streaming and downloads in Japan this April, using set-top boxes (STBs) that incorporate this billing verification capability. For this trial, Sentivision has mainly contributed to VOD system development and SCN has played a main role in content aggregation and total system integration.
Sentivision has developed a comprehensive VOD system solution, called the Sentivision Media Platform (SMP), which includes H.264 compression technology that enables effective video distribution on networks and RTSP/RTP server technology. Meanwhile, Sony has developed FeliCa, an advanced contactless IC card technology.
BitWallet operates the electronic money service “Edy”,for payment via FeliCa, which was used for over 100 million transactions in 2005. SCN provides the Internet service (Service brand: So-net) for three million subscribers, and is focusing on starting network services for TV.
The STB co-developed by Sentivision and SCN is supposed to be built into hard disk recorders and high-definition TVs, so that this compact device (100mm wide, 100mm long, 50mm tall) comes equipped with a hard disk drive and HD replay. In the trial that started in April, users can immediately receive VOD service simply by connecting this compact STB to the Internet and their TV without any time-consuming sign-up procedures.
Moreover, users can purchase or rent entertainment contents right away, simply by placing their “Edy” card or Edy embedded cell phone on Felica reader/writer connected to the STB. The HD content with higher resolution than DVD can be enjoyed using all the usual operations, such as fast-forward, rewind, and pause. The trial, which involves content rights holders, consumer electronics makers, and access providers, is scheduled to continue until the end of June.
Sentivision, which received investment from SCN in February 2006, is developing the system together with SCN. SCN is Sentivision’s leading shareholder and holding 36.8% of its issued shares. Sentivision will continue to study commercial development of the total VOD solution including ID, billing, and payment services together with the SCN group from various angles.
Together with SCN, Sentivision aims to deploy new services in collaboration with companies both inside and outside the SCN group, based on users’ requests and technological verifications through trials, in order to suggest new ways of enjoying video for the broadband era.