Among the host of entertainment apps available on PlayStation 4, is Sony's own Video Unlimited hub. But how does the PS4 version differ from previous iterations on PlayStation 3 and Vita?
According to Mike Avitabile, director of operations for video, PS4's big difference is the cloud. "The Video Unlimited app is the way you access your library," he told Polygon. "It's cloud-based and exists on any networked Sony device."
For the first time, Sony is making use of Dynamic Adaptive Streaming (DASH) which Avitabile said will deliver content in between seven and ten seconds. Unlike the PlayStation 3, PS4 does not download any content, not even videos that are owned rather than rented.
"We talked to our users and asked them what matters the most, and they said it's immediacy," he explained. "If you start to introduce the notion of download, it's a bigger file and people become frustrated, and it wouldn't be able to realize this technology."
Avitabile added that Sony is "looking into," allowing downloads "for people who do want a downloaded copy and don't want to have to deal with their internet." But he stressed that cloud-based ownership is just the same as owning a copy on a hard drive. "You own this content. Whether or not you download this content, it's yours," he said.
Video Unlimited is available on all Sony devices, including Smart TVs and cellphones. Paused movies can be picked up at the correct place on any connected gadget. The service offers around 200,000 movies and TV episodes, which can be rented or bought for standard fees. Avitabile said that Sony had looked at a Netflix-style subscription service, but had decided that the market was too challenging.
The other new aspect to Video Unlimited is also that it is presented as a standalone app. On PlayStation 3, movies are accessed through the movie store, whereas on PS4 is acts as a holding place for bought and rented content.