Last week during Sony’s press conference at the Leipzig Games Convention, Sony’s President and Chief Executive Officer of Sony Computer Entertainment Europe, David Reeves, dropped some giant TV shaped bombs on a largely unsuspecting crowd.
PlayTV – PS3 with Digital TV in Europe
The first was PlayTV for the PS3. Essentially via a slightly ugly but easy to tuck away box that you use to link your PS3 to your signal receiver/cable etc, the PS3 will be able to display live TV from any of the hundreds of free digital channels available throughout Europe.
Not only that, but the service will come complete with its own interface which although slightly grey and austere, looks very intuitive and not altogether different from that of Sky+.
PlayTV also includes seven day scheduling so that you can check what is coming over the next while as well as support for HDTV as and when HD signals begin broadcasting on the continent.
Perhaps the most exciting aspect of the service however is that it offers TiVo PVR like functionality. During the demo, one of the service’s chief architects, Mark Bunty, illustrated how easy it is to record programs for watching later.
This aspect of the service sports a full on library section (imaginatively titled Library) complete with video thumbnails to make finding what you have just recorded all the easier. Of course, no up-to-the-minute TiVo style device would be worth its weight in gigabytes (something the PS3 has 60 of) if it was unable to display live TV whilst recording from another channel and the PS3 is certainly capable of that.
SlingBox Type Placeshifting – PS3 to PSP
Now comes the broadband video stuff…
After wowing the crowd with this, Bunty went on to demonstrate how both live TV and recorded programs could be broadcast to a PSP via the PS3 using the remote play function.
What is particularly impressive about this aspect is that the PSP is not just a remote viewer for content controlled by a PS3, but can also browse through any of the available channels and saved videos. It is an elegant solution to on-the-move TV, as your PS3 is wired and has a constant signal so long as you have a solid wi-fi connection wherever you are, the PSP should maintain a steady live stream.
All very impressive stuff and it certainly propels the PS3 into WevTVWire’s realm. What will be interesting to observe is whether Sony opts to include on demand downloads such as movies and TV shows for the PS3.
PSP Video Calls
The PSP will also be able to perform video calls as part of its VoIP phone system. It will also have instant messaging and regular voice calls.
It will use the Go!Messenger wireless software. Sony is partnering with BT on this project and it will be launched in the UK, France, Germany, Spain and Italy before extending its reach to over 100 countries across Europe, Middle East and Africa.
Anything PS3 Can Do, PSP Can Do Smaller
Wireless TV for PSP
Which brings us neatly around to what Sony has planned for the PSP in the TV stakes.
At the same press conference, Sony confirmed that it will be rolling out a wireless on-demand TV, movie, sports and news download service for the PSP in conjunction with Sky.
The service will be branded under Sony’s new line of Go! products and services for the device (Go! Messenger, Go! Cam and Go! Explore) which has not been given a definite name yet.
Users will be able to either download individual shows or movies for a single fee as well as subscribe to more long term packages for more sustained quantities of downloads. This is the first time Sky has ever licensed its technology over to a third party so aggressively which gives some indication of the magnitude of this deal.
Will it be on the PS3?
We’re gonna go out on a limb here and suggest that perhaps the PSP’s Go! branded video service will make its way over the PS3 in some form and might even be embedded in the PlayTV set-up as opposed to separately on the Playstation Network.
Either way these are exciting times for PS3 owners and that gigantic price tag is slowly starting to justify itself. So far all of these products and services have only been announced for the European market (arriving in 2008) but if they are successful, and there is a good chance that they will be, it is entirely likely that Sony will look for partners in the US and Eastern territories to launch similar services.
A PS3 IPTV service in the Pipeline for USA?
Have you noticed something here? The USA is being left out of many of these features including video calls, a TV service and PVR functionality.
I somehow don’t think that Sony has forgotton about its U.S. customers. Instead I think it may have an IPTV service up its sleeve.
There is no reason why the PS3 can’t do this – the technology is in place and it is something that the Xbox 360 will be doing.
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