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Last Updated: Wednesday, 22 August 2007, 16:15 GMT 17:15 UK
PlayStation to record digital TV
PS3, PSP and TV
The device allows transfer of programmes from PS3 to PSP
PlayStation 3 (PS3) users in Europe will soon be able to record and playback digital TV on their console.

Sony has unveiled a TV tuner which plugs into the PS3 and turns it into a personal video recorder like Sky+.

The company has held a press conference at the Leipzig games show in which it highlighted key multimedia capabilities for the PS3 and handheld PSP.

More than 200,000 gamers are expected at the German show, playing some of the year's biggest games.

Games on display at the show will include Halo 3, Mass Effect, Super Mario Galaxy, Pro Evolution Soccer 2008, Crysis, Warhammer Online and the new expansion pack for World of Warcraft, The Lich King.

Wireless internet

PlayTV for PS3 is a twin TV tuner that will launch in early 2008 in the UK, France, Italy, Germany and Spain with other countries to follow.

Recorded programmes can be streamed over a wireless internet connection to the portable PSP or transferred permanently to the handheld console via a USB cable.

In a statement, David Reeves, president of Sony Computer Entertainment Europe, said PlayTV would extend the "broad entertainment credentials of PS3".

It is the first time a console has been given PVR capabilities. Gamers will have access to free channels that are delivered over digital terrestrial.

Rival Microsoft has touted its Xbox 360 as a platform for internet TV but no partner has yet come forward while its Xbox Live video download service has not launched outside the US.

Instant messaging

No price details for the PlayTV tuner were given.

Sony also used the conference to give more details of a video chat and instant messaging system for the PSP, called Go!Messenger, developed in conjunction with BT in the UK.

PlayStation is developing into a media hub

PSP users in Europe will be able to send messages, and video chat with each other once the software behind the tool is released in January.

Sony also unveiled a GPS add-on for the PSP, called Go!Explore, and said a UK video download service for the console, developed in conjunction with Sky and called Go!, would launch in the UK in January.

Price details for the new services were not given.

Sony will be hoping that the new multimedia functionality for its PlayStation 3 and PSP consoles will make them more attractive to both gamers and non-gamers.

Both machines lag behind sales of rival devices from Nintendo and Microsoft, such as the Wii, DS handheld console and Xbox 360.

Increase shipments

Sony said it aimed to increase shipments of the PS3 to 11 million units by 2008.

Unlike other major games conferences, Leipzig is open to the public and 200,000 gamers are expected to attend the four-day event to get their hands on the latest titles.

"This year we are expecting over 9,000 trade visitors and some 2,800 journalists from over 35 countries," said Josef Rahmen, managing director of the Leipziger Messe, in a statement.

The industry has gone on a charm offensive in recent years to improve the profile of games in Germany, which has a rigorous ratings and regulatory system.

The country is the third-biggest market for video games in Europe, behind the UK and France, with PC titles dominating the market.

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