PS3 tuning into digital TV?

Sony has revealed that it hopes to give the console TiVo-esque PVR functionality in 2008.


Unlike other consoles, the PlayStation 3 is "future-proofed," Sony New Zealand executive Warwick Light has boasted to The Press.

Sony Computer Entertainment New Zealand's head of marketing told the newspaper that the company had many different plans to make sure that the machine lasted well into the next generation.

Light made digs at both Nintendo and Microsoft, saying of the former that it had freely admitted the Wii was not a next-generation machine, and of the latter that, "look at the tangible differences between processing power and scope for scalability between the PS3 and the Xbox 360, it is clear that the PS3 is designed to last until the next generation...DVD is current generation. Why would you support current generation?"

The executive also revealed that Sony aims to turn the PS3 into a personal video recorder. "We're also hoping next year--about the same time that Freeview launches its terrestrial broadcasting service [in New Zealand, expected to be in March]--to release a digital tuner for the PS3, turning it into a programmable TV recorder," said Light. He did not say if the functionality would come via a hardware add-on or update to the PS3's firmware.

Freeview is a digital terrestrial television provider based in the UK, which allows owners of a set-top box connected to their TV or a Freeview-enabled television to access a variety of extra channels and digital radio stations for no monthly fee.

A PS3 with PVR functionality would mark Sony's second attempt to give a console TiVo-esque functions. In 2004, the company released a PVR-equipped version of the PlayStation 2, the PSX, in Japan to dismal sales. It was discontinued in early 2005.

Though Nintendo has repeatedly said the Wii won't have any nongame video playback functionality, Microsoft is already competing against Sony in the sector. Currently, Xbox Live Marketplace offers a variety of TV shows for purchase and films for rent, and will purportedly be getting IPTV functionality in the future.

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