Sony has approached "several big media companies" about streaming television channels directly over the internet to Sony consumer electronics devices, writes the Wall Street Journal. According to the publication's anonymous sources, the company's considering the launch of an IPTV service to compete with cable, possibly fulfilling CEO Sir Howard Stringer's promises last week that Sony would build "a different kind of TV set." The Journal reports that the service would stream to PlayStation consoles, TVs and Sony Blu-ray players, all of which already support the company's Video Unlimited service, but this time we'd be looking at live TV rather than a selection of video-on-demand movies and television. With Microsoft on the IPTV warpath with the latest Xbox 360 update and rumors of Apple working on similar deals, perhaps IPTV might finally have a chance at success. Sony won't comment on what it's calling rumor and speculation, but unless Sir Howard was exaggerating about a fix for eight years of unprofitable television sales, something at least this drastic is in the works.

Update: Those "several big media companies" are NBC Universal, Discovery and News Corp, according to an update in the Journal.