Sony Upgrades LocationFree Platform

Sony is upgrading its LocationFree platform with more efficient video compression and a receiver add-on for televisions.

The upgrade comes a year after Sony last introduced a new base station and should mean better video images for users, the company said Wednesday.

Sony Headquarters
Sony Headquarters

The LocationFree platform allows streaming of a live video and audio signal from a base station to client devices such as computers and the PlayStation Portable games device. Streaming to local devices can be done via wireless LAN while a connection to the Internet allows video and audio to be streamed to remote clients anywhere in the world as long as they are connected to the Internet via broadband. The system is promoted as a way to watch local TV or other content from home when traveling.

Sony LF-PK20 LocationFree base station
Sony LF-PK20

With the launch of the new base station, the LF-PK20, Sony will begin the MPEG4 AVC compression system. This is more efficient than the MPEG2 and MPEG4 systems used in the current devices and should mean that a better quality image can be transmitted across slower Internet connections.

Sony is also adding a new receiver device, the LF-BOX1. Named the "LocationFree TV Box," the device connects directly to a television to allow for viewing of streamed video on a TV.

The LF-PK20 will go on sale in Japan on Oct. 20 and will cost approximately 33,000 yen (US$282), and the LF-BOX1 will be available Oct. 27 for about 23,000 yen. Details of overseas sales were not announced.

-Martyn Williams, IDG News Service (Tokyo Bureau)

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