Sony Unveils PS3 Digital TV Tuner/PVR; Works With PSP Handheld

Sony will release a digital terrestrial TV tuner and PVR for the Playstation 3 in Europe early in 2008, SCEE announced at the Leipzeig Games Conference. PlayTV will combine two HD-ready DVB-T tuners for watching over-the-air programs (record one channel while watching another) with software that records to the console’s hard drive. Including the ability to download each episode in a program season, it will allow users to transfer content to their PSP handheld console via USB, and PSP users will be able to set PlayTV’s recording schedule and watch programming remotely using a WiFi net connection.

The box will launch in UK, France, Italy, Germany and Spain early next year with further PAL territories to follow. It’s designed to take Playstation 3’s footprint further in to the living room but, by limiting itself to digital terrestrial, named Freeview in some countries, PlayTV seems unable to handle content for the considerable digital satellite or cable user base. PlayTV’s competition will be the existing terrestrial PVRs, badged “Freeview Playback”. Why not let viewers also transfer content to their iPod or Archos or generic portable media player, rather than the PSP alone? Well, that’s Sony Corp for you. Last month, U.K. digisat operator BSkyB said it was embarking on a PSP on-demand TV venture with Sony.