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1874 posts

Uber Geek


#15476 24-Aug-2007 15:50
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Blog: PS3 turns into a personal TV video recorder

Sony adds a personal video recorder to the PS3.

Sony has confirmed it is rolling out its killer device for the PlayStation 3 - a new external unit that functions as a digital TV tuner and recorder.

It further takes the console towards the company's plan for the PS3 to be more of a media centre in the lounge than just a device to play games on.

The device is being called PlayTV, and makes all the sense in the world as we start to treat TV differently - something some have already found with Sky's MySky recorder or those who use a DVD recorder. Personal Video Recorders have been around a few years, the most recent addition being the Freeview product available in retail stores such as Dick Smith Electronics or Harvey Norman chains.

Play TV will let you watch high-definition TV broadcasts and record them to the game unit's hard drive. It will also allow transfer of recorded content to the handheld PSP for Remote Playing.

Sony will roll it out from early next year. New Zealand is not on the first list of countries but there was a hint from Sony locally a month ago the newly-released free to air Freeview would be involved in the plans. A software update for PlayTV provides a seven-day programming guide to streamline the process.

It would be great if this were also available for Sky TV but this may cut across Sky's marketing plans for its MySky device which depends on Sky holding on to the exclusive rights to its channel on-screen electronic programming guide.

Play TV lets you watch, pause and record live TV and record a whole TV series at the touch of a button. Sound familiar? Yes, this puts it in direct competition with MySky, which is expected to have an upgraded device sometime mid-next year.

This steps up the battle for the next-gen viewing a notch in a week where there has been more blood on the floor over whether we will all go Blu-Ray or HD DVD.

The PS3 comes with the ability to play the new Blu-ray format DVDs.

Paramount and DreamWorks this week declared their exclusive support for HD DVD and placing their stakes in an already diminishing format.

Right now, the consumer is the one who suffers. The Transformers movie director blew a fuse in an online forum about it and threatened he would not be involved in any sequel movie if people couldn't buy it on either format. He later calmed down.

But it's crazy that 20 years on from the VHS vs Betamax format war, we the consumer may still be unable to play a movie we want to watch. And this is all because we bought a particular format (however naively) player of a common DVD player.

One hurdle already cropping up is the quality of TV broadcasting which has seen TV3 news reports toting their latest 'widescreen' viewing format in April which looks unsightly on standard TVs. So too for the new HDTV formats where connectors and resolution settings have yet to be ratified into standards for public mass consumption. This is where devices like Play TV can throw some serious weight into what should be standardised and is a perfect go-between until we see free-to-air HDTV standards for NZ. As for Digital Terrestrial Television ( DTT ) being called the Freeview standard, check out the video here.

The best news about Play TV is recognition from Sony that the world changes fast and such things need to be futureproof. Sony says the device and its capabilities "will evolve with time - with new features added and updated via the PS3 online network." This allows a lot of room for growth and potential to stream media from online providers where Terrestrial coverage may be lacking (we all remember being in a low coverage area for a particular TV channel and having a grainy picture or worse - no picture at all) - which affects 25 per cent of the population.

It will be interesting to watch over Christmas if PS3 sales jump in the regions such as the UK where this will be rolled out first.

Or will the battle continue to be about HD games for a while with people holding off thinking about the big picture?

Would this tempt you to get a PS3? Is this right direction for a personal media centre?

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274 posts

Ultimate Geek

  #83660 24-Aug-2007 19:58
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Now, there is reason to buy 8G+ memory stick.

I can show "In the Night Garden" while my son bored in the car.

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