Sony Launches Its Own Premium-Quality Streaming Service

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Just when you thought the world was done with new streaming services, here comes Sony with its own premium streaming service, “Bravia Core”.

The new service is only for films (for now?), but it promises the highest picture quality, and most importantly, it’s only available on some Sony TV models (for now?).

Bravia Core, the new streaming service from electronics giant Sony, was created in collaboration with Sony’s production company, Sony Pictures Entertainment. 

Core will be divided into two content libraries – the “unlimited” library, which holds a selection of blockbusters and classics from Sony, and the “Premium” library, which will offer a selection of at least 300 premium films in the highest streaming picture quality.

Films on Bravia Core
Photo: Sony

The Premium films will be streamed using a technology they call “Pure Stream”, which gives you near-lossless 4K (Ultra HD) picture quality, by streaming up to 80 Mbps. 

What does it all mean? When you watch a 4K film on other streaming services (such as Netflix or Disney+), the stream is usually highly compressed, so you could still watch it without any buffering on a standard broadband connection at home.

Due to the compression, the 4K picture quality you get – while still better than Full HD – won’t look as good as the one on a 4K Blu-ray disc, for example – where there’s no need for heavy compression.

Sony’s Pure Stream technology offers streaming rates between 30 Mbps – 80 Mbps (as opposed to Netflix’ 25 Mbps, for example).

But that means Sony’s service also demands a faster broadband connection: for 30Mbps you must have a minimum internet speed of 43 Mbps, and for the top 80 Mbps you must have a minimum internet speed of 115 Mbps, which is something many houses in the UK can’t even get at the moment (unless you’re with Virgin Media, or a few other local services).

In addition to Pure Stream, some of the titles on Bravia Core will also implement “IMAX Enhanced” technology, which features an expanded aspect ratio and immersive DTS sound technology.

Content shot with IMAX film or certified cameras, like Spider-Man: Far from Home, has an expanded aspect ratio that was designed specifically for IMAX, where it fills more of the screen.

What Can I Watch On Sony’s Bravia Core Service?

We don’t have a complete list of Bravia Core titles yet, but some of the movies which will be included in the service are:

  • Venom
  • Peter Rabbit
  • Ghostbusters
  • Blade Runner 2049
  • Jumanji: The Next Level
  • Little Women
  • A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood
  • Bad Boys For Life
  • Baby Driver
  • Bloodshot
  • Hotel Transylvania
  • Smurfs: The Lost Village

In addition to the films, you also get the “Studio Access” section, with a host of extra footage, interviews and more (similar to the bonus content you often get on DVD and Blu-ray discs).

How Can I Get Bravia Core?

Core was probably developed, at least in part, as a showcase for Sony’s top-tier televisions.

Therefore, for now at least, it will only be available on Sony’s newest BRAVIA XR TV models, such as the recently released MASTER Series A90J 4K HDR OLED and the upcoming X90J 4K HDR Full Array LED TVs.

Sony Bravia XR
Sony Bravia XR

The Premium library will use credits, where each credit is worth one film. Once you buy one of the supported TVs, you get free access to the streaming service (and to its library of films you can stream freely), depending on the model you bought:

If you buy the Z9J and A90J models, you get access for 24 months. If you buy the A80J, A84J, X95J, X90J, and X94J, you get access for 12 months.

In addition to the “unlimited” streaming section, you also get access to the Premium “store”, where you can redeem Pure Stream films with credits.

How many credits you receive, depends on the TV you buy – There are 10 movie credits included with the A90J and Z9J televisions and 5 with the rest of the BRAVIA XR models.

Once you use those credits – you’re done, as Sony’s terms currently state that “It is not possible to make monetary transactions within BRAVIA CORE or to purchase additional credits as part of this Program at this time”.

We assume Sony will eventually let you purchase more credits in the future – but that option doesn’t exist at the moment. We asked Sony for clarifications on this, and will update accordingly.

For now, this service can be viewed mainly as a “perk” for buyers of Sony’s top-tier TV models. Whether they will ever expand and open this service up on other devices – remains to be seen.

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