Sony Marketing and NTT West have announced this week that they are experimenting in Japan with high-speed fibre-optic Internet connections for the PlayStation 2. With said connection, users can download all sorts of media (although mainly movies, anime and sports programming) over fibre-optic cables leading to their PS2. This is much more than current xDSL and cable subscribers can do with their Ethernet-based connections. According to Sony Marketing, they have lent 32 PS2 units and 43 PCs to 63 applicants living in Osaka. The transmission rate of the cabling (more than 3Mbps) enables users to watch shows at more or less their intended bitrate without issue. Although that said, as this glossary at the BBC explains, "For digital television, bit rate is closely related to the quality of pictures. Sport, for example, with lots of fast action, camera pans, etc might need as much as 6 Mbit/s; a talking head only 3 Mbit/s." Obviously with this in mind, providing shows on-demand over fibre optics may be slightly limited unless contention is low. Big-name Anime titles like "Mobile Suit Gundam" have already been confirmed for the system. It is thought that pending success in the closed testing, the fibre-optic option will become commercially viable some time this year.
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