Sony has announced yet another deal to help bring the Internet to PlayStation 2, this time with British cable operator Telewest. The alliance is intended to bring Europe its first broadband console network within the next year. EuroGamer fan and part-time SCEE president Chris Deering cited Telewest as "an excellent partner to help us move forward with our broadband network strategy." Continuing, he said: "They have the motivation, the expertise and the infrastructure to quickly develop tangible applications with real commercial potential." Well, we hope they will have the infrastructure soon Chris, most of our nation's capital has been spared the delights of Telewest's "Blueyonder" cable service until recently. The move is the fourth big deal in as many days for Sony (some would say third but we like Flash), who have also linked arms with AOL, Macromedia and RealNetworks. Although Sony haven't formally explained how everything will work, we have a fairly good idea now of what its new entertainment portal machine (formerly PlayStation 2) will look like. Firstly, consumers will need a PlayStation 2, which will likely be accompanied by a keyboard, mouse (both USB) and a broadband network adapter (now we see why they used "network" in the AOL release), along with a hard disk device of some sort, perhaps at optional sizes. We had suspected that the AOL announcement meant Sony was going to allow narrowband (sorry, modem) connections, but we're not so convinced now. Instead, we now think that the customer will be able to plug the network adapter into a Telewest-provided cable modem (much as PC users currently do) and using AOL produced software, log onto the Sony network. At this point they will be greeted with a Flash-driven front end, inviting them to play games, surf the web (using Netscape Navigator) or even watch the news, listen to the radio and such over RealNetworks' integrated Real Player. We like the sound of this. And will all of this run off BeIA or a similar operating system once Sony have bothered to acquire it? It might just do. Technical trials for whatever Sony comes up with air sometime toward the end of the year, when both Microsoft and Nintendo have plans to launch new consoles. Congratulations Sony, we're genuinely impressed!
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