Sony teams up with HBO to release TV shows for PlayStation Network

It’s showtime. So turn on your game console, baby.

Home Box Office is teaming up with Sony to provide original television programming for the PlayStation 3 and PlayStation Portable game systems.

The shows will be delivered via download over the internet to Sony’s PlayStation Network, which can display the videos on your TV set through the game console.

Starting today, popular HBO shows will be viewable on the PlayStation Network, including True Blood, Big Love, Entourage, Eastbound and Down, and older shows such as The Sopranos, The Wire, Sex and the City, Rome, Da Ali G Show, Curb Your Enthusiasm and Flight of the Conchords.

Sony is clearly trying to play one-up on Microsoft, which has a considerable amount of video programming available for the Xbox 360 via Xbox Live. Sony also hopes that the ability to watch the shows on either the home TV on the PlayStation 3 or on the run with the handheld PlayStation Portable will be appealing.

The agreement doesn’t say it’s exclusive, so it is quite possible that Microsoft might cut the same deal. But for now, Sony has an advantage. Nintendo is left out of this picture, but only Microsoft and Sony have had the ambition to make their game consoles into the entertainment hub of the living room. Most of the time, users play games on the consoles. But non-game use of consoles has been on the rise as more offerings become available on the systems.

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