updated 03:05 pm EDT, Wed August 22, 2007
Sony PlayTV and PSP VoIP
Sony Europe today revealed two additions to its PlayStation consoles that transform them into general-purpose devices. The PlayTV (pictured) is the first official TV tuner for the PS3 and incorporates dual DVB-T tuners that can either record digital Freeview broadcasts of two shows or play one and record the other; the system supports the full performance of the PS3 and will record and output in 1080p if the show and the TV support them, Sony says. A software update for PlayTV brings a 7-day programming guide to streamline the process, and owners who also have a PSP can play or queue shows from the Internet and transfer downscaled versions of shows to a Memory Stick over USB.
The console maker has also revealed several hardware and software additions for its PSP handheld. Validating its earlier plans, Sony and its deal partner British Telecom have revealed Go!Messenger, a messaging service that bridges online and real-world calls. Users with a Go!Cam add-on can start video and voice chats between fellow users; the camera or a compatible microphone will also allow voice calling to real-world numbers, Sony says. Pre-recorded messages can also be sent to users who might be offline.
Also announced was Go!Explore, a Western adaptation of the PSP GPS unit that combines an add-on GPS receiver and a UMD map library to provide navigation either for driving directions or on-foot navigation. Like dedicated GPS units, it includes a 3D view, points of interest, and multiple language support. The PSP's Wi-Fi link is also usable for downloading extra map information directly to a Memory Stick, Sony adds.
Lastly, the company has also reaffirmed earlier intentions to offer pay-perview video downloads from the TV network Sky, allowing British and Irish users to download the same movies and sports shows as in-home users and either watch them directly on the handheld or sideload them to a PC for a larger view.
No costs were provided for the PS3 or PSP devices, all of which except for Go!Explore will formally debut in early 2008; the exception is estimated to be priced between the equivalent of $135 and $200 depending on the region and costs by the time it becomes available. No timetable was given for the GPS service.