Sony's PlayStation Video Store, which offers 300 movies and 1,200 TV clips for download, went live this week.
To access the store, you must have the latest 2.41 firmware installed and a PlayStation Network (PSN) ID. Once in the PSN, the actual video button that takes you to the store is oddly inconspicuous, a tiny capsule icon sequestered out of the way in the upper left hand corner next to 'Games' and unless you're looking for it, easy to miss. I've encountered dozens of posts on various forums in the last several hours from confused PS3 owners along the lines of "It's up? Where???" because they're looking for something a little splashier and obvious.
Cursor up and give it a tap and you're whisked into a sleek 'sort-by' interface with banner ads popping in like boxouts on a conventional webpage and category selection options on the left divvied into the following:
Available in HD
Getting around from there's pretty straightforward and works exactly like the rest of the recently updated PlayStation Store. Just click on something and you drill down, or tap the 'back' button to pull up again. One deficiency I noticed, though, was a lack of hierarchical labelling to give you a sense of where you're at. To be fair, you can only drill in three or four layers at any given point, so it's hard to get lost, but since you can access the same content from multiple nodes, it's impossible to quickly tell whether you're looking at a movie like Hellboy via New Arrivals, Movies, Available in HD, Rental, etc.
It'd be nice to see an index like that in a future store iteration, if only as a friendly way to help us keep our bearings. Given the mangled way hitting SELECT to read the service's 'about' info works, I gather Sony's challenge is screen real estate (the two or three word subheads for the 'about' section have to scroll left-to-right just to be legible, making its menu-bar look like a sloppy collision of letters and dots).
'Top Downloads' is currently empty and I'll bet Sony gives it a week or more to let the numbers aggregate.
As for the content itself, it's pretty much what you'd expect from a startup offering, mostly recent fare from shock-blockbusters like Cloverfield and 10,000 BC all the way over to stuff like Juno, 3:10 to Yuma, Napoleon Dynamite, and one of my personal favorite films of last year, The Darjeeling Limited. You've got a sprinkling of older films too, from Dances With Wolves and Hoosiers to Hannibal, Donnie Brasco, Child's Play, etc. and the option to view by movie genres or even individual studios such as Disney, 20th Century Fox, MGM and Sony.
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