Microsoft may have been ridiculed for its frankly baffling emphasis on television during the Xbox One’s reveal back in May, but Sony was never going to let its competitor outright dominate the market that it’s been fighting for ever since the PlayStation 2 included a DVD player. The Wall Street Journal reports that the platform holder is on the cusp of a groundbreaking deal that will see it streaming Viacom channels through an Internet-based TV service on its range of PlayStation platforms, Bravia displays, and more.

While the ink’s not dried yet, the site implies that the signed documents are being hung out as we type. The deal would allow the firm to broadcast content from the likes of MTV, VH1, Comedy Central, and more. Apparently the company is in deep discussions with Disney, Time Warner, and CBS, too. This is all in addition to its own gigantic library of TV shows and films, which would potentially give it an enormous bank of content to play with.

The significance of the deal is potentially massive. It’s not just Microsoft that wants to rule the living room, but Apple, Google, and many more, too. However, content providers have been notoriously difficult for all of these juggernauts to deal with. The implication is that Sony’s just cleared the first hurdle, and that actually puts it a step ahead of the competition for a change. That could prove pivotal in the Japanese giant’s battle for entertainment superiority – and the PS4’s fight against the Xbox One.

And it’s the timing that makes it most exciting. According to the Wall Street Journal, the platform holder is hoping to roll out its online TV service by the end of the year, with the PlayStation brand set to lead the charge. As already alluded, the company hopes to expand onto tablets and smartphones eventually, but it sounds like the PS4 will be spearheading the initiative.

Sony has already reiterated multiple times that it’s still eager to be a player in the entertainment race, even if it's positioned its next generation console as a games machine first and foremost. That’s smart, because it’s the hardcore fans that will drive the penetration of the PS4. If the platform holder can sell the next generation console on the basis of being an awesome gaming device, but still end up penetrating a larger market with broader entertainment options, it may have an even bigger hit than we anticipated on its hands.

[via online.wsj.com, gizmodo.com]