The PS3 is being pushed not only as a game device, but also a personal media center. The dual channel TV tuner peripheral and DVR software turns the PS3 into an advanced TV recorder, allowing you to watch, pause and record live TV. Much like TiVo and other DVR systems, PlayTV will record individual programs or whole seasons of shows to the PS3's hard drive.
The European system will use the Digital Video Broadcasting – Terrestrial (DVB-T) format. PlayTV will be able to show a 7-day Electronic Program Guide, the EPG2, for use in planning which shows to record or watch.
PlayTV provides quite a few features not seen on most DVRs. First, the PS3 PlayTV’s dual TV tuners are High Definition ready and are able to view, record and play back High Definition signals in full HD1080P. Most DVRs currently on the market record in standard def. In contrast to the electronic program guides found on consumer satellite and cable services, PlayTV’s guide is surprisingly fast, and can be controlled with either the Sixaxis or the Blu-ray remote.
Perhaps the biggest single advantage that PlayTV seems to have over TiVo and other DVR systems is its connectivity with the PSP. You can not only view live TV, but recorded TV. PErhaps the biggest surprise is the ability to control the PS3's PlayTV remotely using the PSP to select shows to record, as well as all other major PlayTV functions. Essentially you will be able to use your PlayTV DVR from anywhere in the world with a WiFi connection. Being able to watch Grey's Anatomy or Hotel Babylon from anywhere on the planet is a major step for the PlayStation platform. For quicker download, you can transfer shows from your PS3 to PSP via USB cable. Allowing you to watch recorded TV on the PSP with or without WiFi. Long flights just got a whole lot easier.
Sony claims that PlayTV will evolve with time. The functionality of PlayTV will be updated via the PlayStation Network. Sony has gone so far as to state that, "PlayTV will never be out of date."
David Reeves, President of Sony Computer Entertainment Europe, was enthusiastic about PlayTV, stating, "the introduction of PlayTV really will extend the already broad entertainment credentials of PS3, and makes it an exceptionally attractive proposition for the whole family. [The] PS3 already provides High Definition gaming, Blu-ray Disc movies, music, video, photo album, web browsing and PlayStation Network support. With the introduction of PlayTV’s state of the art TV tuner and PVR [Personal Video Recorder] functionality, [the] PS3 is now the best choice of home entertainment hub for the whole family."
One can only hope that PlayTV's European release is a sign of things to come for the rest of us. While there has yet to be a discussion of cost, PlayTV looks to be the first step in unlocking the full potential of the PS3.