Like many other technology and media companies, Sony (NYSE:SNE) has its eye on the infant video-downloading market. In early 2007, Sony plans to sell video downloads that users can transfer from their PCs to their PlayStation Portable (PSP) devices.

Obviously, this is a bid to take on the elephant in the room, Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL), which offers music videos, video podcasts, TV shows, and feature films from Disney (NYSE:DIS) via iTunes.

The video-downloading market is still new, though, and many companies are trying to get in on the action. (NASDAQ:AMZN) has its Unbox service, and services like Movielink and CinemaNow are trying to jump into the market. They face several notable barriers to consumer adoption, particularly price and convenience. And of course, BitTorrent -- whose file-swarming technology speeds up downloads, addresses a major portion of the "convenience" hurdle -- is also jumping into the game, trying to go legit.

Sony is apparently in talks with, Movielink, and CinemaNow to participate in the service. (Of course, Sony also has the added advantage of its bigwig status in the movie industry, although it's interesting that its Sony Connect music download service doesn't appear to be mentioned at all.) Of course, it's not in the least bit surprising that there's no word of compatibility with iTunes.

Sony's aren't the only devices to join the iPod in coming up with creative ways for consumers to obtain and watch video content. Microsoft's (NASDAQ:MSFT) Xbox also allows folks to get movies and TV shows, and of course the Xbox allows people to watch that content on their televisions. Apple also plans to launch iTV early next year, in hopes of having a linchpin device to connect customers' computers with their living rooms.

The PSP, like the iPod, is a portable device with a small screen. There are 20 million PSPs out there, which does sound like a good opportunity to peddle video content. However, November data from Nielsen Media Research implied that video content on iPods may not be taking off as robustly as many assume. The data suggested that only 15.8% of the users in the study had ever played any video content on their iPods or iTunes. (One-third of that group of respondents didn't have video iPods.)

Legally obtained video content is still anybody's game. We'll see if Sony can make video magic with its PSP.

For related stories, check out the following: and Disney are Motley Fool Stock Advisor recommendations. Microsoft is a Motley Fool Inside Value pick.

Alyce Lomax does not own shares of any of the companies mentioned.