PlayTV, Sony’s digital TV tuner and DVR add-on (see last100’s earlier coverage) is still on track to launch in Europe later this year.
After being privy to a private demo of PlayTV at Sony’s UK offices, BBC News correspondent Darren Waters reports: “The hardware itself is uninteresting – it’s the software and features that are worth talking about”:
- “PlayTV is a small black box which connects to a USB port on the machine and has an aerial port in (and a pass through port) to pick up digital terrestrial signals.”
- “It’s a very slick piece of user interface design. The Electronic Programme Guide and menu systems are well designed and laid out.”
- “Just like a PVR, you can pause and rewind live TV, as well as record programmes. The PlayTV has a dual tuner so you can record one channel while watching another.”
However, the feature that got Waters most excited about is the “ability to watch TV on your PlayStation Portable from anywhere in the world using PlayTV, turning the PS3 into a Slingbox on steroids.”
One limitation that surely must be resolved: You can’t record TV in the background while playing a game on the PS3. According to Waters, “the software developers are working hard to add the feature. If it isn’t available at launch, the feature could be added later as a software update.”
And that sums up the PS3 in general. It has so much future potential as a home entertainment hub. Bit by bit that potential is slowly being realized, either through software updates (like the recently added DivX support) or through hardware add-ons such as PlayTV.
Of course, Microsoft, Apple, Sling Media, TiVo et al. aren’t standing still either. The battle for the digital living room has only just begun.
Watch the video demo after the jump…