U.K.'s Five tapping Sony video platform

Viewers can access programs through broadband

LONDON -- U.K. broadcaster Five is claiming to be the first British television content supplier to seal a deal with Sony to allow viewers access to content via the Japanese company's Internet video platform.

The agreement will mean those viewers with Sony television sets will be able to access TV shows by plugging the TV into their existing broadband connection from 2010.

Five said it is an early adopter because it's important to give viewers access to its programming in as many ways as possible.

The deal will mean that from early 2010, viewers will potentially be able to access whole episodes of their favorite television programs from Five, including "Neighbours," "Home & Away," "The Hotel Inspector" and "Extraordinary People" via a new range of Internet-enabled Bravia TVs, Sony Blu-ray Disc players and Blu-ray home cinema systems.

Last month Five became the latest partner in Project Canvas, a joint venture between the BBC, ITV and BT to deliver broadband-connected television to the living room here in the U.K. Five's strategy director Charles Constable said: "It's vital for broadcasters and other industry stakeholders to explore such initiatives if they are to gain a solid footing in the digital world.

As broadband content continues to grow in popularity, Five looks forward to working with Sony to explore and learn from the exciting opportunity to bring on-demand content to the television in the home."

Nicholas Barendson, Sony's category marketing chief here in the U.K., said: "In Europe and elsewhere, more people are watching videos on their PCs than ever before. This trend keeps growing and consumers are increasingly enjoying more on demand video online. However, watching full length TV programs on a PC, hunched over a screen can be a solitary experience.

Bringing on demand IP content to the TV is allowing consumers to share these viewing experiences with a greater degree of ease and simplicity." Bravia Internet Video aims to also offer a wide variety of free on-demand short-form video content, with Web sites such as YouTube and Wired confirmed so far. Users of the service in the U.S. can already access online video, music, and content from more than 25 providers including Amazon Video On Demand, Netflix and Sony Pictures.