[NOTE: Pheonix Blood has already written all the details on the front page
but I just spent the last hour and a half writing this so I thought I'd put it up anyway]
and it's about bloody time! While the US has had Netflix to satisfy their movie on demand needs, us poor Europeans have only had the abysmal Microsoft movie rental service and if you owned just a PS3 you were out of luck for any kind of online movie service.
That is until now!
This week sees the launch of Zune HD on the Xbox 360 and Sony's own Video Delivery Service (VDS) on the PlayStation Network. Last night saw the official launch party for Sony's VDS in a secret location in London and of course Dtoid UK was there to represent. The question is, is the service really something Sony can be proud about?
The Sony Video Delivery Service!
(Couldn't they have thought up a catchier name?)
The VDS has actually been live for most of the day now so if you're reading this then you've probably had a look around the store and maybe even downloaded a few things so I'll skim the details (some of which I'm having to remember from last night and well let's just say there was an open bar...) and just lay out the main points.
1.) To access the VDS you just need to click on the tab at the top of the menus in the PlayStation Store to swap between games and movies. Alternatively if you access the PlayStation Store via the store icon under the movie section on the XMB you will automatically be taken to the VDS.
2.) There are over 2000 movies available at launch (today, for this week) with at least 50 movies being added every week.
3.) The movie updates will happen on Mondays (in the UK) to coincide with the retail DVD/Blu Ray releases that happen in stores on Mondays, so you don't have to wait until Thursdays when the rest of the PlayStation Store gets updated.
4.) You can rent movies in SD and HD but at present only SD movies can be bought and stored on your PS3 hard drive. However, Sony are hoping to allow you to buy and store HD movies in the very near future.
5.) When renting, you will have the movie for 14 days but as soon as you press the play button, you have 48 hours to watch it. Renting costs £2.49 and you can transfer the movie to your PSP and watch it on the go as well.
6.) If you buy a movie. You own it. This means that you can transfer it to other devices and stream it on your PSP via remote play. There is also no download limit like there is on other content on the PlayStation Store, so you can re-download any movie you've bought as many times as you want.
7.) You can only watch SD movies on your PSP.
8.) You can download movies in the background of the XMB while playing other games so long as you are not playing anything online.
9.) The VDS may include TV shows in the future.
10.) The VDS features full parental controls, similar to the rest of the PlayStation Store.
11.) On an average internet connection (whatever that is?!) an SD movie will take about 1 hour to download whereas a HD movie will take about 3 hours. However, you can watch your movie while it is downloading and because it's not technically streaming there's no compression or drop in quality.
Overall I'm pretty impressed with the VDS. There's a lot of movies on the store which isn't surprising since they have the might of Sony Pictures but when the Microsoft video service only has a fraction of what's on offer on the Sony VDS after being out for a year, you've got to be a little impressed. The VDS shares the same user friendly interface as the regular PlayStation store and all the movies are sorted into genres and categories so it's easy to find a movie when you're in the mood for say a "superhero" movie or even a "movie influenced by a video game."
Quality wise I was impressed with what I saw. I saw a few HD movie clips and while they looked good I can't say if they looked just like their Blu Ray disk counterparts because I hadn't seen those movies on Blu Ray and the TVs at the event were HUGE! (way bigger than mine) and I had a lot to drink. All I can say is that the HD movies looked very good.
There are two things that disappoint me greatly with the service though.
1.) There are no movie trailers. There's no way to preview a movie before you rent/buy it.
2.) If you download a HD movie, you have to download the SD version separately if you want to watch the movie on your PSP. This isn't such an issue at the moment since you can only rent HD movies but when you are eventually able to purchase HD movies it's going to suck if you still have to buy the movie twice if you want to watch it on your PSP on the go. Hopefully this will be addressed in the near future.
All in all though, it's a service to download movies. It works, is convenient and well designed with lots of support, what more can you ask for?
The launch party was great! Free booze always leads to a good time but Sony really know how to throw a party. Any place where as soon as you step inside and there's a row of good looking people holding trays of multicoloured glasses, you know you're in a good place. Set up inside a seemingly normal (but huge) house in Soho, London it was a cosy affair but with plenty of room to explore. There were multiple rooms with VDS demos, large sofas, DJs including Radio 1s Annie Mac and a semi acoustic set from Little Boots.
I love semi acoustic sets since they are so different to what you hear on the record and while I'm not a huge fan of hers she's got a great voice and has some great catchy songs under her belt. It was just a shame that she only played about 4 or 5 songs and I was the only one dancing! Serious faces were indeed serious all around. I did get a shout out from Little Boots though as I probably was making a royale drunken arse out of myself! but at least I was clapping in time dammit!
So yes, we got drunk, Hollie and Lauren broke a bed, I broke a polystyrene P sign and Hollie dragged me into the ladies bathroom to pee. This my friends equals a fucking ACE night.
Thank You Hollie <3 lots! and thank you Destructiod.com!
I must also apologise for no doubt being a complete arse but hey at least if I look really bad, it makes you look even better!