Sony may be preparing an internet-based cable TV alternative

We've officially entered the silly season of pre-CES rumors, so take this with a grain of salt, but the Wall Street Journal reports Sony has approached "several big media companies" about distributing their channels over the internet. This comes on the heels of its report on comments by CEO Howard Stringer about significant R&D efforts going into a "different kind of TV", and the four screen strategy Sony would like to implement. According to the report, Sony's idea is to offer small bundles of channels over the internet to its TVs, Blu-ray players, and the PS3. Still, cutting deals with companies like CBS, that doesn't want to jeopardize its cable and satellite TV-based revenue, could be difficult. As for the competition, similar rumors about Microsoft turned into an effort that mostly works with partners like Comcast, U-verse, and FiOS, while Google is also pursuing a route of adding to, but not necessarily replacing, cable TV. Sony has positioned itself well, adding IPTV services including sports to the PS3 and live TV tuning capability, and its tested the waters of going over the top before, but so far whether it will actually pursue this new plan is unknown.