Play TV is a dual -tuner freeview box and is one of the many devices which Sony hope will broaden the appeal of the PlayStation 3 console. It was launched on the 19th of September 2008 and connects to both the PS3 console and your TV allowing the PlayStation 3 to record one channel of television onto its hard drive whilst you watch another or play a game. There has been a lot of confusion regarding what this device can and can’t do, so this is an attempt to unravel the mysteries of Play TV.
The unit itself is light and compact and comes supplied with a USB lead. It is installed using on disc software which comes with the unit, once it has scanned and located the available channels you are all set to start using the accessory. The PlayTV menu offers seven options.
Live TV – This is where you watch TV. Aside from giving you the option of watching one channel whilst recording another, Play TV also allows you to pause the action, rewind and re-watch a favourite bit and then resume your viewing at leisure just like Sky +.
Settings – This is where you can adjust PlayTV to your own personal preference.
Manual – A guide to how the console works and how to operate it.
Guide – This is where you’ll find out what’s on TV for the next seven days. The Live TV channel guide presents upcoming shows in an easy to understand, user friendly manner and once you have recorded a show it can be accessed for repeat viewings from the Library.
Schedule – This is where you organise your upcoming recordings.
Find and Record – Using keywords here will help you find your favourite programmes.
Library – This is where your recordings are stored. Half an hour’s worth of recording amounts to about a gigabyte of memory so you may well feel the need to get hold of a bigger hard drive if you plan on making the most of the accessory.
There was a minor sense of deflation when it was announced that Play TV wouldn’t be able to stream content directly onto the PSP despite initial reports to the contrary, however it now seems that everything is back on track with PlayTV possessing the ability to export recorded programmes from the Library to the PS3’s XMB menu allowing the user to transfer the recorded content to the PSP as MPEG2 files.
PlayTV is currently available for around £60 (it’s RRP is £69.99) it’s quite pricey for what it presently provides and it will only appeal to those who already own a PS3, but with Sony seeming to produce increased functionality via firmware updates on a regular basis it could be improved upon in the near future and if you already own a PlayStation 3 console it may be worth shopping around for one.