For those of you in Europe, congrats.
For those of you in the United States, condolences.
As expected, Sony — well, actually Sony Computer Entertainment Europe — announced that it’s turning the Playstation 3 into a super duper home entertainment device in early 2008. With the addition of PlayTV, the Playstation 3 will become a personal video recorder (PVR) with dual high-definition tuners, allowing users to view, record, and play free over-the-air TV channels through the Playstation 3 console.
This PRV capability, however, will be available only in the U.K., France, Italy, Germany, and Spain, with other PAL locations to follow later in 2008. It’s the first time that a game console has been given PVR capabilities (BBC News).
PlayTV is what we’ve been dreaming about ever since Sony, Microsoft, and, to a lesser extent, Nintendo promised that their game consoles would become the entertainment hub of our digital lives. Sony partly delivers.
What PlayTV Is
PlayTV will feature two high-definition TV tuners, allowing users to view one show and record another. It also supports standard definition television.
PlayTV can view, and play back high-definition signals in full 1080p.
Recorded programs can be streamed over a wireless Internet connection to the Playstation Portable (PSP) or transferred permanently to the handheld device via a USB cable for mobile viewing.
PlayTV also will feature “lightning fast” programming, possibly a step up from slow-to-respond electronic programming guides found in conventional cable or satellite services. Sony also notes that there will be single button help features, tutorial videos, and simple navigation to eliminate some of the complexity found on PVRs.
PlayTV also is upgradable via the Playstation Network.
What PlayTV Isn’t
From what is known at this time, PlayTV only receives over-the-air (OTA) signals, not cable stations.
There’s no Cable Card or Cable Card HD support.
There’s no satellite support.
While content can be downloaded onto a PSP, it does not appear that it can be offloaded to a USB hard drive or burned to DVD using Blu-Ray.
Oh. And it’s not available in the States.
Sony’s Phil Harrison told gaming blog Kotaku that PlayTV isn’t coming to the United States anytime soon because it does not have terrestrial digital television. Some cities such as San Diego have digital TV but other locations do not, making it not worth the effort for Sony to introduce PlayTV in the U.S. at this time. Harrison says when that changes, Sony will step up with PlayTV in the States.
That’s fine and dandy, but PlayTV may never make it to the U.S. because of the deep paranoia in TV Land and Hollywood, which are always concerned about piracy. PVRs/DVRs in the States already have dual high-definition tuners and recording capabilities, of course, but so far getting recorded digital content off the device — either backed up to a separate hard drive or burned to a DVD — is nearly impossible.
So to those in Europe, enjoy PlayTV.
And for those in the States, dream away.
Photo Credit: Sony’s Phil Harrison courtesy of Kotaku.