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Sony’s Pay-TV Play ‘On Track’: Report

Sony’s plan to offer a virtual pay-TV service over-the-top via PlayStation consoles and other connected devices remains “on track” to debut sometime later this year, Shawn Layden, president and CEO of Sony Computer Entertainment America, told Re/code in an interview.

Sony has not announced any content partners for the coming service, but Layden said the CE giant is in talks with “a lot” of them, and acknowledged that putting the service together is “really complicated,” citing Intel Media’s decision to drop out and sell its “OnCue” assets to Verizon Communications.

“I believe we talked about bringing it to market in some capacity by the end of this year. I would say we are still on track to do that,” he said, referring to Sony’s announcement at the International CES confab in January that it would start to test an OTT service with live, on-demand and DVR services sometime in 2014. "It will be a revolutionary service to bring to market," Layden said.

Layden also didn’t announce which platforms Sony’s pay-TV service would grace early on, though the PS3 and PS4 consoles are considered good bets.  “When we flip the switch, it will be on the right array of devices to have a meaningful market reaction test,” he told Re/code.

He was also cryptic about Sony’s anticipated channel lineup, only saying that “you should expect to see the channels and content and partners that I believe you would find the most interesting…It’s not going to be based on the back of three channels and a video-on-demand service, that’s it, goodbye. That’s just a nonstarter.”

Earlier in the week at the E3 show in Los Angeles, Sony announced the anticipated that it would launch the $99 PlayStation TV, a miniaturized gaming console/media player, in the U.S. and Canada this fall. The device will be capable of pairing with the PS4 and deliver a variety of streaming media apps, but Sony didn’t announce if the PlayStation TV would also support its coming pay-TV offering.

Elsewhere, Dish Network is developing its own OTT subscription video service. According to Time Warner Inc. chairman and CEO Jeff Bewkes, Dish’s proposed, single-stream service will limit the number of subscribers to between 2 million and 5 million.