PlayTV tuner device
|Manufacturer||Sony Computer Entertainment|
|Type||DVB-T tuner, Digital video recorder|
|Generation||Seventh generation era|
|Storage capacity||Hard disk (via PS3)|
|Controller input||PlayStation controller, BD Remote, Sony PSP system or Sony VAIO using Remote Play|
PlayTV is a HDTV/DVR add-on unit for the PlayStation 3 (PS3) video game console. It allows the PS3 to act as an HDTV or DTV receiver as well as a digital video recorder (DVR) for recording television programmes to the hard drive for later viewing. The application will only start up with the DVB-T adaptor connected.
LiveTV: The Live TV feature allows access to free-to-air (unencrypted) channels in the widely available DVB-T network (known as Freeview in the UK, Australia and New Zealand). While using the Live TV option, live programming is cached as it is displayed, so that users can pause, rewind and fast forward through any recently viewed material, as well as record and turn subtitles and audio description on/off. Screen size can also be changed. PlayTV allows users to watch one programme while recording another. Live TV also has a now and next bar enabling users to scroll through live TV and see what is on other channels and what is coming on next.
Guide (Electronic Program Guide): The software features a 7-day electronic program guide. PlayTV allows users to set recordings and change channel from the Guide; also selectable is a Favourites guide which is a list of a user's favourite programmes. The Guide shows a full description of all programmes. While setting recordings, users can set whether they would like to repeat the recordings daily or weekly for up to 26 times but lacks Series Link.
Library: The PlayTV Library is where all the recorded content is stored. The content can be viewed in a list view or in a thumbnail view. Its also fully sortable by date, channel and name. The library is also where content can be exported to the PlayStation 3's main menu to be stored with the rest of the user's video files. While playing back the recorded content, users can pause, fast forward, rewind, skip to/from and turn subtitles and audio description on/off. Screen size can also be changed.
Schedule: The schedule feature allows users to edit their future recordings. It is also fully searchable.
Find and Record: The find and record feature allows users to search the next 7 days worth of TV programmes by searching with a key word in the title of the programmes and/or the description of the programme. Find and record also lets users set manual recordings using the channel, date and time that you wish to record.
Mobile TV with PSP: Wi-Fi connectivity with a PlayStation Portable allows for portable viewing of live or recorded television programming. By using the Remote Play feature of the PlayStation 3, owners can use a PlayStation Portable to access their PlayStation 3 console from anywhere in the world via the Internet. The Remote Play feature has the ability to 'wake up' the PlayStation 3 from stand-by mode, allowing the user the ability to watch live TV, set recordings and watch previously recorded content anywhere in the world direct from their PlayStation 3 to their PlayStation Portable via the internet. The new Sony Ericsson Aino has been confirmed to link up to a PlayStation 3 and will use Remote Play which allows users to watch PlayTV on their phone.
Manuals: PlayTV displays an on-screen manual. This acts as a quick reference to the various functions of a controller, Blu-ray remote control and remote play using a PlayStation Portable.
Settings and other features:
- Turn Subtitles on / off
- Turn Audio Description on / off
- Set whether you would like live TV to always be recorded or just when paused for trick mode.
- Screen Size settings
- Game play recordings on / off (See below)
- Parental Lock
- HDD Size: PlayTV can only record to the PlayStation 3's own internal hard drive. Recorded video can then be transferred to an external storage device in some regions.
- Codecs: PlayTV supports MPEG2 SD. AVC/MPEG4 is now available with the latest PS3 firmware update. (UK manual only states MPEG2 in the supported codecs under technical specs)
- Twin DVB-T tuners (one dedicated to recording, the other to live viewing). Tuners are HDTV capable in areas with HD DVB-T broadcasts.
- PlayTV can be controlled using a PlayStation controller or Blu-ray remote control.
- Antenna input only. No antenna output.
Sony previously stated that PlayTV would be able to record TV while playing PS3 and PS1 games, the code for the function has already been incorporated in the version 2.41 firmware update. To use the product however a 5 GB install is required from the disc provided with the PlayTV device.
The device was launched in the UK, Germany, Italy, Spain and France on 19 September 2008 with other regions in Europe following.
Australia and New Zealand  were originally to receive the PlayTV accessory 2 months after Europe but it was delayed until 26 November 2009 in Australia along with an HD software update. In New Zealand the device was pushed back further to a release date of 25 November 2010.  The update underwent testing in both countries due to the wide availability of HD channels and use of common broadcast codecs (MPEG 2/MPEG 4).
PlayTV is only capable of tuning DVB-T broadcasts, so is not available in regions which do not use DVB-T. A similar accessory known as Torne was made available in March 2010 available in Japan for use with their ISDB-T broadcast system. It is unknown if there are plans to release PlayTV or a similar device for use with North American NTSC/ATSC broadcasts.
On 12 September 2008, Sony released an interactive demo of PlayTV on the PlayStation Store in Europe.
First week shipments of PlayTV in the UK were reportedly 85,000 units, apparently with "specialist and national press giving thumbs up to the device."
Software updates are available via the About section in Settings using the "Game Update Check" Functionality (when using the original PlayTV software). In recent versions of PlayTV software, a Software Update function is available directly from the main PlayTV menu. A further update was announced on 2 April 2009 that will include new volume and search controls, upscaling of standard definition (SD) content and faster access to TV shows from the XMB menu system.
In February 2009 another update was released, which provided improvements to standard definition upscaling.
On 23 August 2010, details of a new update (version 2.01) were revealed. While part of the update is free, an unlock key must be purchased from the PlayStation Store in order to access some of the features (listed below). The update was released on 17 November 2010.
The following premium services are offered with the 2.01 update:
- Series Link - record a whole series at the touch of a button. (UK ONLY)
- Chat TV - live chat for up to 64 users during TV viewing.
- Recommendations - recommend shows to your friends via Facebook.
- Community favourites - Lets you see what your friends and the PSN Community are watching and enjoying. (Not available in Australia)
- Premium 7 day EPG - Electronic Programme Guide. (Standard PlayTV programme guide only in Australia)
- Search by actor, director and genre.
On 6 December 2010, another update, version 2.02, was released. Many users complained that since the update the PlayTV software became unstable, with the most commonly reported symptom being the software hanging on the PlayTV launch screen and not proceeding any further.
On 3 March 2011, bugfix update 2.03 was released.
On 23 May 2013, version 2.04 was released.
Linux and Windows
The device can be used in Linux since 2.6.30. It also can be used in Windows by patching the USB IDs in the driver of a card with the same dibcom hardware (such as the Pinnacle PCTV Dual DVB-T Diversity Stick). It can be used in both 32 and 64 bit versions of Windows using this method. There are believed[who?] to be two hardware variants of the device, using the ULI chipset.
In Linux or Windows, PlayTV can handle AVC/MPEG4 HD broadcasts which are used in Ireland and continental Europe. The UK has adopted DVB-T2 for terrestrial high-definition TV broadcasts, so the PlayTV will not give PS3 owners access to those TV channels.
An unofficial Windows application (in Spanish language only) allows users to edit the file channel_ps3.bin and customize the order of channels in the PlayTV software (a function not normally available). A PlayStation Jailbreak device is required in order to transfer the file from PS3 to PC.
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- Steve O'Hear (14 February 2008). "Video: Sony’s PS3 DVR, PlayTV". last100.com. Retrieved 2008-03-23.
- Installation Disc provided with the PlayTV device
- James Thorpe (30 October 2009). "EU Playstation Blog, PlayTV Update: Comment 2". EU Playstation Blog. Retrieved 2009-10-04.
- Jem Alexander (12 August 2008). "PlayTV coming September 19th, reasonably priced". ps3fanboy.com. Retrieved 2008-08-12.
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- Kennedy, Stuart (2009-06-23). "Global HD PlayTV test in Australia". The Australian.
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- "PlayTV ships 85,000 units in UK | News". Gamesindustry.biz. 2008-09-26. Retrieved 2010-08-24.
- PlayTV gets software update… 2 Apr. "PlayTV gets software update… | Three Speech: Semi-Official PlayStation Blog". Three Speech. Retrieved 24 August 2010.
- "PlayTV Is Set To Get Even Better – PlayStation.Blog.Europe". Blog.eu.playstation.com. 2010-08-20. Retrieved 2010-08-24.
- McGrath, Ross (17 November 2010). "‘Heads-Up’ Game Store Update 17th November 2010". SCEE. Retrieved 18 November 2010.
- "PS3 telly add-on update hit by splash screen crash -reghardware.com". reghardware.com. 11 January 2011. Retrieved 22 January 2010.