The Playstation 3, along with its rival console the Xbox 360, is more than just a games console. The Internet, and as a consequence online video, also play a part. As proven by VidZone, a new music video streaming service that launched in selected territories last week.
Games Console Evolution
I’ve been banging on about video games consoles and their emergence as a key element in the evolution of Web video for a while now. And it seems that every month something comes about to further cement my belief that the modern, Internet-connected games consoles are an important part of increasing the popularity and acceptance of online television in the living room.
This month it’s the turn of the PS3 to take the limelight thanks to the newly-launched VidZone. PS3 owners in the UK, France, Spain, Italy, Ireland, Germany, and Australia can now download and install VidZone from the Playstation Network and enjoy a music video streaming service which is almost as good as the music streaming service, Spotify.
VidZone For PS3
After a small install (23MB) which takes all of about 30 seconds, VidZone appears under the ‘Music’ category on the PS3 XMB. Clicking on it then brings up the lengthy terms and conditions and an offer to receive emails from VidZone from time to time. Once done, the service then starts up, building the music video lists as it goes; which can take some time on the first go.
Once open, VidZone shows its sparse interface, which could do with some work but is entirely usable. You are presented with selected playlists – music videos compiled into collections – or can explore at your own leisure. This is done by using the clunky ‘Search’ feature which relies on you spinning a letter at a time to find the ‘Artist’ or ‘Song’ you want to watch. You can also view by ‘Genre’ which helps cut the process down a little.
Music Videos Galore
Assuming you find the music video you desire, you can either watch it immediately or add it to the current play queue, which can then be saved as a playlist for future reference. The chosen video starts streaming immediately, with no buffering or pausing. Which immediately gives VidZone an edge over YouTube XL and the like.
You operate VidZone by using the PS3 controller, with buttons assigned to bring up full screen viewing, Play, Pause, Skip, Rewind, and Fast Forward. The full screen option doesn’t fill the screen entirely and in this view some videos, particularly older ones, have some pixelation. The other problem is volume leveling, or at least the lack of it, meaning you have to turn your TV up or down between videos.
The service is entirely free and supported by both banner adverts (entirely unobtrusive) and the chance to download a song to your mobile phone for £1.50 a pop. VidZone is due to be rolled out to other territories within the next 12 months.
VidZone on the PS3 isn’t perfect by a long chalk. It may boast a library of 10,000 videos but there are a lot of big artists and songs missing. Or maybe I just have eclectic tastes which aren’t catered for. The interface could also do with some retouching but then maybe I’m being fussy asking for this on what is essentially a free service.
YouTube will likely remain most people’s source for music videos, especially when Vevo launches later this year. But PS3 VidZone is great for longer sessions of watching music videos and is like having your own personal MTV. Which is something I personally have always wanted.
Buy ‘80GB PS3′ on Amazon – Perfect for streaming video to your TV.
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