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Sony has again snubbed its Australian customers by this time isolating them from a host of new PS3 and PSP services including a new digital TV tuner that instantly turns the PS3 into a personal video recorder (PVR).

As first tipped by SmartHouse Online, Sony has announced a plug in for the PlayStation 3 (PS3) which will allow console owners to record and playback digital TV similar to the way that consumers can record to a Foxtel IQ unit.

However Australians have again been pushed to the end of the queue by Sony with the announcement that the device will only be launched in the UK, France, Italy, Germany and Spain with other countries to follow. This is despite the fact that Australians are forced to pay almost double for their console than a US national buying the same device.

Sony held a press conference at the Leipzig games show in Germany last night  in which it highlighted key multimedia capabilities for the PS3 and handheld PSP. The new device called PlayTV for PS3 is a twin TV tuner that will launch in early 2008 however no reason has been given as to why Australia has been isolated from the launch.

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.

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