Sony will make its new animated hit "Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs" available to viewers directly through Internet-enabled televisions and Blu-ray players before the movie is released on DVD.
With the decline in DVD sales, down as much as 25 percent at some studios, finding new ways to distribute movies has become a necessity despite the risk of angering the DVD retail/rent sector.
The price of the film, $24.95, is high enough not to alienate retailers, Sony said.
"We don't need a war with Wal-Mart or any other organization, and I don't think they're hostile to this," said Howard Stringer, the chief executive of Sony. "It will make televisions more valuable, and that's a good thing."
Sony Pictures Entertainment, the only Hollywood studio tethered to a major hardware manufacturer, is in a unique position to experiment with selling movies directly to consumers through television sets, in this case Sony's Bravia Internet-enabled sets.
As part of this experiment, "Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs" will also be available through Sony's networked Blu-ray Disc players, which came on the market last month.