“ PLAYSTATION 3 already offers cutting-edge gaming and a High Definition Blu-ray Disc movie player, and soon you'll be able to watch, pause and record free-to-air digital television, thanks to PlayTV. It couldn't be easier to set up; simply plug a TV aerial into the back of the PlayTV Tuner, connect the PlayTV Tuner to your PS3 using a USB cable and then follow the on-screen instructions. And once you're up and running, you can record one channel while watching another or playing a PS3 game; see what's on now and next, with the easy to use Programme Guide; and watch TV when you're out and about, using Remote Play for PSP. In fact, you can enjoy all of PlayTV's great features on your PSP, whether you want to watch your recorded programmes or schedule new recordings. All you have to do is find a Wireless hotspot and activate the Remote Play feature. PlayTV is another reason to have PLAYSTATION 3 and PSP at the centre of your living room, and it's coming soon. „
Before you buy it make sure the games you want to play are on the compatibility list! (I pretty much only bought it to play Persona 4 Golden.) It can play many ps vita, psp, ps1, ps3 game (ps3 via playstation now.) and oddly some mobile games. It an also be used to steam media from your pc, ps3 or ps4. It also allows you to play ps4 games in a different room from your console via steaming. It's compatible with both ps3 and ps4 controllers (I recommend the ps4 controller because it makes use of the front touchpad to simulate the vitas touch screen and rear touchpad). So if it plays all the vita games you I recommend for sure, (keep in mind they are patching a lot of games to support it too!) But if you want all the vita games... just buy a vita. My only complaint is that some of the games look a bit choppy from being stretched on to a 1080i display, all they need is to add a AA filter and it wouldn't be a problem. But for 100$ I'm happy, I get to play the few vita games I want for less than half the price and with a controller :) All in all great little system I love it and will continue to do so. I mean for its price, its a really good deal like I said I can play vita games so im happy. Well I hope you all enjoyed my review!
I think this play tv tuner is of great design and i believe that the only flaw with it is not with the unit or software itself, but the playstation 3 console. I have concerns about leaving my console on for such a period of time to watch tv with and as such i do no use this tuner very often other than to watch and record the formula one.
With play TV you are able to record live freeview TV directly to your ps3 hard drive, you can not however export the video to be used on another device such as a pc as the information is encoded.
As i'm sure many of you who are reading this would like the device to record your favorite movies when they are on TV, yes you can, but they stay on your ps3. The only alternative is to copy the date from one ps3 to another but this only works if you also have play TV on this system.
The tuner itself is fairly small and quite attractive looking and it is very simple to set up. Your TV Ariel goes in one end of the play TV unit and it then connects via USB to a spare USB port on your playstation 3.
If you have a playstation 3 and you want to record/pause/rewind live tv then this is the product is for you!
The play tv plugs into your playstation 3 and your tv aerial and allows you to record freeview tv programs straight onto your playstation. The device its self is a small black box which is easy to install with the disc provided and then is ready to go.
The play tv allows you to record one tv program while watching another. You can turn the playstation off once a recording has been set, it will turn itself on to record the program and off again once its done. You are also able to pause live tv if you need to nip to the loo, or someone phones you or something and carry on watching when your done :) the cost is very reasonable (I got mine for about £30) compared to other tv recording devices, which will set you back upwards of £100, one of the reasons I got this was the cheap price.
The controls are easy to use, though I would suggest getting a playstation remote control as it makes things easier, you can use the playstation controller though.
(originally posted by me on Freeola)
We truly are living in an age of wonders. No longer do we have to be content with a mere five TV channels. Thanks to the advent of digital television, us viewers now have access to an amazing new world of entertainment. A world where there's so much to watch that we're spoilt for choice. At least, that's the theory. In actual fact, while there are some digital TV programmes worth watching, there are also a heck of a lot of repeats. There's only so many times you can watch the same episode of CSI before you find yourself mumbling the dialogue in your sleep.
But given that terrestrial TV is set to be turned off-some regions have already lost their signal-you'll need to switch to digital at some point. Otherwise you may find yourself watching static. There a few ways to gain access to digital TV, aside from paying for Virgin Media or Sky TV. You can buy a new digital capable TV, or pick up a plug-in set top box for your existing TV. Or, if you have a Playstation 3, you can use Sony's Play TV-a handy gizmo which plugs into your console and lets you watch digital terrestrial TV, or Freeview as it's known. Furthermore, you can pause live TV, and even record whole programmes to your hard disk. Although if you're planning on doing the latter and only have a 40GB hard disk, you might want to swap your hard disk out for a bigger one.
PlayTV's interface works pretty well-once you've installed the software from the accompanying DVD, a PlayTV icon appears on your PS3's dashboard. From within the PlayTV software you can watch live TV, view a 7 day programme guide, view your recorded programmes and search for programmes by name. You can even set PlayTV to record the same TV show on a regular basis-although unlike Sky Plus, it won't automatically adjust the recording schedule if the show goes out earlier or later. You do have to have a decent aerial in order to view Freeview, but PlayTV is actually pretty good at handling channels with a lower signal strength; channels that I'd had problems with on my old Freeview box were actually watchable on PlayTV. PlayTV can also, in theory, record high definition Freeview broadcasts; although since there are no HD channels being broadcast on terrestrial digital, that's kind of a moot point. But PlayTV does a great job of upscaling regular Freeview programmes, making them look better on a HD capable TV than they otherwise would.
So is PlayTV an essential purchase for any PS3 owners looking to get Freeview? Not quite. There are a few issues with PlayTV,. The first minor niggle is that while PlayTV lets you watch one TV channel while recording another, you can't record two channels at once. There are some personal video recorders that offer this feature, and while it's not a facility I've needed very often, there have been occasions when there two programmes at the same time that I would have liked to record. Secondly, the PlayTV box has no aerial splitter built in, so if you want to send your aerial signal to another device, you'll need to pick up an aerial splitter from Poundland or somewhere.
Also, while Sony have now issued an update that adds a better TV guide and series link, you have to pay £6.99 for the privilege of getting these! If you have a Playstation 3 and don't have any other means of getting Freeview already, then PlayTV is worth a look. Especially if you can find it for £39.99 or thereabouts - a full thirty quid cheaper than it used to be. But bear in mind that the price of Freeview HD recorders will likely be dropping soon so it may pay to hold on. I also wouldn't put it past Sony to release a full HD capable PlayTV 2 - since it's rumoured they're already working on it.
RECORD TV DIRECTLY ON YOUR PS3...
Many UK households have a plethora of electronic devices stacked up near the TV - Sky Boxes, Freeview Boxes, consoles, DVD and blu-ray players to name just a few. Wouldn't it be great if you could combine some of these bulky electronics into one, thus saving both electricity and freeing up plug some sockets? Sony's PlayStation3 is already a bit of a multi-tasker with its game-playing, DVD-playing, blu-ray-playing, and BBC iPlay-ing antics - and if you purchase the 'PlayTV' add-on, the console will also be transformed into a Freeview recorder. Sound good? In this review I'll be putting PlayTV through its paces, taking a look at it's pros and cons before forming an overall assessment of the device in my conclusion.
DESIGN & APPEARANCE - what does the PlayTV unit look like?
PlayTV is simply a small, black plastic box which connects to your PS3 via a USB cable. At around the size of a mobile phone (albeit a rather bulky mobile phone), PlayTV can be placed where traditionally sized Freeview boxes simply wouldn't fit - you could even hide it behind the PS3 itself if you so desired. Thankfully, PlayTV doesn't need an external power supply, as it draws its energy direct from your console. The front edge of the PlayTV box features a small red LED light that illuminates when the device is in operation, whilst the back of the unit houses the input and output sockets. PlayTV doesn't come with a remote control - it doesn't need one, as you can operate it via your PS3 game controller. That said, although I found using a gamepad to be a perfectly acceptable method of navigation, I generally prefer to use a traditional "dobber" to control my AV equipment - so I invested in the official PS3 blu-ray remote (available for £12.99 from Amazon) which similarly allows full control over the system.
PRICE & AVAILABILITY - where to buy the PlayTV system
Currently, Play TV is available to buy from amazon.co.uk for £35.99 (the RRP is £69.99), which is arguably a reasonable amount to pay considering the fact that a decent standalone Freeview recorder can cost anything up to £250. Play.com's price is identical to that of Amazon's - but then the two online retailers often sell their goods for a similar amount. If you're searching for a bargain, then eBay is probably the best place to visit - here I've often seen new PlayTV systems selling for £30, and second hand ones going for around the £25 mark. Due to the fact that PlayTV is a reliable bit of kit, it probably *is* safe to opt for second hand - you don't often hear stories of them breaking down.
SETTING UP PLAY TV - what do I need to do to get started?
To use PlayTV for the first time you'll need to first plug it into your PS3 via the USB cable (provided) - also plug in the aerial cable, and then install the PlayTV software which comes on a disc. The process is a simple one and is explained fully in the easy to understand manual. Once the disc is in your console, select its icon from the Playstion menu and press the 'X' button on the remote or controller - a short video guide will begin playing whilst the software is installed. When the installation is complete, a new PlayTV icon will appear in the Playstation's menu, and it is this that you will need to select every time you want to use PlayTV. The system takes a while to start up; perhaps thirty seconds or so - to be honest, it's quite a slow initiation time for a set top box, but you'll quickly become used to it, and probably won't notice it too much in the long-run.
EASE OF USE, FEATURES, & PICTURE QUALITY - the most important part of the review
Quite simply, if you have the technical skills which are required to operate a regular Freeview recorder, you should have no problem in getting to grips with PlayTV - once it's up and running it acts in an identical manner to a regular set-top box. The menus are arranged in a slick and intuitive system, allowing you to navigate with consumate ease through the non-complicated options. The seven day electronic programme guide (EPG) is brought up by pressing the square button on your remote or gamepad - it looks great and is very responsive whilst scrolling through it. To record a TV show, you merely select the programme's name from the EPG and then click on it - simples.
Compared to the similarly priced Freeview recorders on the market, PlayTV is generally quite feature-laden; there's the ability to pause and rewind live TV, and due to the fact that it features a dual tuner, you can watch one programme while recording another - you can even play games whilst recording. Other features include the 'find by name' option, which (as its title suggests) lets you search for you favourite program and see when it's next on - plus, there's the standard 'favourites menu' which you can add channels to. One especially good thing about PlayTV is the fact that there are frequently a number of firmware updates available for it, with Sony doing their best to fix the minor bugs which have been reported with the earlier versions of the software.
Picture quality is very impressive - I've noticed a fluidity to fast-paced movement (such as sports coverage), plus colours are nicely saturated and natural looking (although the latter will have as much to do with the quality of your TV as anything else). In comparison to my television's in-built Freevew tuner, PlayTV's quality is far superior - images are certainly shaper, and the menus are easier to read. In terms of the playback quality of recorded programmes - well, to me it looks almost the same as did it during the original broadcast. This shows that recordings aren't too heavily compressed (they take up around 1.5GB of your PS3's hard-disk space per hour of video), meaning that you'll be able to enjoy high quality renditions of your favourite shows at a time which is convenient for you.
THE DOWNSIDES - what could have been improved upon?
In terms of the downsides, well there aren't too many - but PlayTV does have a couple of niggles which prevent it from being the truly exceptional device that it perhaps should be. Firstly, PlayTV only allows you to watch in standard definition - there are no HD channels available. This may seem a little backward in 2011, but to me it really isn't an issue - PlayTV will 'upscale' your images for you, allowing you to see standard definition Freeview with just that extra bit of clarity and sharpness (assuming you've got an HD Ready TV and have connected up your PS3 via a HDMI cable), and the results are generally impressive. To be honest, i'm not especially dismayed about the lack of HD, as my local transmitter isn't even broadcasting in HD yet. The second negative point is that Play TV only has an RF aerial input, and not an RF aerial output, meaning that you can only forward the aerial's signal on to you PS3, and not to your TV. On paper, this means that when you want to watch TV you'll have to always do it via PlayTV, as you won't be able to use your television's own Freeview or analogue tuner. The problem can be solved via investing in an aerial splitter (they only cost a couple of quid), but it does seem like an oversight on Sony's part.
FINAL WORD - should every PS3 owner go out and buy the Play TV system?
Personally, I feel that If you own a Playstation 3 and want a Freeview recorder, then PlayTV should be an essential purchase - that's if (and it's a big 'if') you don't mind watching non-HD content. Of course, PlayTV not being able to broadcast in HD has it perks for buyers - it's one of the reasons why the system is available for such a reasonable price; a bargain price in fact. At the end of the day PlayTV is an excellent device which is really easy to use, and features an impressive looking menu system - for the price I honestly believe that it's the best Freeview recorder on the market today - highly recommended.
*It should be pointed out that although the vast majority of the reviews I have read for PlayTV have been positive, there have been a few reports which claim sporadic moments of juddery and pixellated playback of recorded programmes. Whilst I personally I haven't encountered any such issue myself, I feel that in order to make this as thorough review as possible, it should be noted nevertheless.
This is a great piece of kit and an essential part of making your PS3 a more rounded multimedia tool.
It's easy to use and install although do bear in mind you will need an aerial splitter if you're intending to run Play from your main TV aerial, as there's only an "input" socket but nothing coming back out again.
The best thing about this it has turned the PS3 into something my wife now views very favourably, having previously been of the view that it was just a games machine.
It is fairly quick to load up from the PS3 home screen. Recording programmes is a doddle - there's a search function or alternatively just access the 7-day TV guide (all Freeview channels), scroll over the programme you want to record and just press "select" and the programme is marked in red for recording. You can then check your schedule of recordings separately.
There is a stick-on overlay for the PS3 DVD remote which is helpful, with extra controls marked, and Play is marginally easier to use with the DVD remote.
A typical programme takes up around 1 - 2 GB of hard drive space so there's loads of room on the standard 120BG hard drive on the new PS3.
The box is small and discrete and I just keep tucked away behind the PS3.
It can record whilst watching another channel, watching a DVD/Blu-ray and whilst playing a game. Only downside is if recording late at night, the PS3 whirs into life in its rather noisy way (we have the PS3 in our bedroom).
I also wish there were some way of making it compatible with Sky as I have Sky but can't get Sky plus.
Overall the pluses (ease of use, the fact that my wife now likes one of my games machines) far outweigh the few minuses above.
Ive always loved my playstation 3 but I loved it even more when I purshased Play tv on launch day. Its a great add-on to your PS3. The freeview tuner is great quality which upscales your standered definition picture to its best quality. I compared the quality against my samsung freeview and Play tv was far superior. The electronic programme guide(EPG) is also very slick and a joy to use. Play tv is also software upgradable meaning that it can be updated when new features become available and keeps the technology up to date.
The pause and rewind function also works great as does recording a program. Another good feature is that you can transfer your recordings to the PS3 home menu (XMB) so its easier to access. Overall, if you have a PS3 and you're wanting to record and pause live freeview you could do much worse than play tv!.
Play TV has got to be the best accessory for the PS3 on the market, Fair enough the PS3 is a games console and this is clearly not a game but what it is in fact is a huge money saver!!!
If you were to go out and buy a free view recorder from anywhere that i know of at this moment in time you would quite easily be looking at £120 as a bear minimum. and this would then be another box to sit underneath you tv and yet another control for you to have to use.
The menus for play tv are all very clear and easy to use, i have personally owned two free view recorders before buying play tv and i can honestly say that play tv by far exceeds them both.
the only slight gripe i have about play tv is that you cant set up a series link :( however sony have released a press statement claiming that they will work on that in future updates
Play TV is an add on to the PS3 allowing you to record programs that are shown on any of the freeview channels onto your PS3's hard drive. FANTASTIC!This item is briliant, it works really well with the PS3, lets you record one thing while watching another and even records while you are playing games and a pop up box shows at the top so you know whats recording. And the plus side is that it was easy for my partner to use, she can get a bit annoyed with anything new technology wise but she knows how to play back recorded programs and how to record so fantastic.The play tv will also work with your blu ray remote control, you get a nice little overlay that comes with play tv so that you know what all the buttons do.
This product is an add on to the Playstation 3, therefore you must have a Playstation 3 to use this product.
I am not a very technical person, therefore I have written my view on this product as myself an average mummy, rather than a computer whiz, because with the technics I haven't got a clue.
The Play TV box works the same as a freeview box; it allows you to watch free digital TV channels through your Playstation 3 console.
Play TV also allows you to record TV programmes instantly or on a schedule, and store them using the Playstations hard drive in an easy to follow menu to watch another time. It depends on how much memory your Playstation has, and what other information you have stored on the hard drive as to how many programmes can be stored. As I have said I'm not very technical so I couldn't give any storage figures.
TV programmes can be recorded whilst you are watching another channel, a DVD or playing on the games. However the Playstation must be on standby at least to record a programme.
You can also pause, rewind and fast forward live TV using the Play TV
You can view the TV guide with a click of a button, you can view what you are watching now, and next with programme information, or you can also choose to view the TV guide for all of your channels and also you can scroll across and view the programmes for the next 7 days, allowing you to schedule your recordings if you wish to do so.
It is very compact as it is a very small box which just plugs into your Playstation 3 though one of the USB ports. You then just plug in your TV's analogue aerial into the Play TV box. You then run the set up disc which comes supplied which automatically sets Play TV up and installs itself onto your Playstation.
It saves messing around with TV channels and ariels when switching from TV to Playstation and vice versa.
I have found Play TV very useful, especially having a small baby as I can pause my programmes or just record them if my baby or my little girl requires my attention. (Not that I get to watch much TV!)
I do tend to record programmes too and watch them when my kids are in bed.
Play TV can be controlled by the game pad, however, I purchased a remote control for £18 in Asda which is much easier to use, than the pad.
I paid over £80 for this product when it was first launched, however, you can now pick it up for around £50 to £60
Play TV is an add on accessory to the Sony Playstation 3 which allows you to watch freeview television through your console. But with so many different ways to now get freeview, how does this approach compare?
There are countless amounts of freeview players out there which just hook up to your existing television sets and you're ready to go. Another approach is to use an exisiting PC with a TV tuner in a media centre type arrangement.
With Sony Play TV, you can turn your PS3 into a true entertainment hub with all the other things it can do all ready, you are now able to watch & record freeview television. As it has a dual-tuner, this means you can record one programming whilst watching another. Programmes are recorded directly on your PS3's hard disk drive making them easy to reference in the future.
The provided electronic programme guide is clear and concise and very easy to navigate around. Also if your console is connected via an HDMI lead to your high definition telly, the picture will be upscaled to near HD quality.
Available at just under £70, it certainly not the cheapest freeview player out there but in my opinion it's well worth it if you own a PS3.
The Play TV box connects to a Playstation 3 via one of the USB ports at the front and basically turns your PS3 into a freeview+ box.
The set up is very easy, you insert a disc to install the software onto your playstation and after that follow the onscreen instructions - and then Play TV does the rest, searching for and storing the freeview channels available.
You can then record the programmes you want, or if you have an interruption whilst watching something you can pause it and begin watching again when it's convenient for you. The library where your programmes are stored is easy to use, and it also uses a book-mark system so if you start watching a recorded programme but don't have to time to finish watching it you can turn it off, go back and it will still be at the point that you stopped it before. This saves having to fast forward through parts of the programme you've already watched. You can also leave it on standby, it will turn on to record the programme you've set and will then turn itself onto standby again afterwards.
Also provided is a transfer sticker to put on a Playstation remote so that you know buttons are what in conjunction with Play TV. I bought a remote as I found it was easier to use than a games controller.
The only downside is that when you view the TV guide it doesn't always give you the programme info, unless you're actually on that channel at the time, which can be quite annoying.
The PlayTV is one of the best accessories for a games console I've ever seen. A USB freeview tuner that gives your PS3 the ability to watch terrestrial digital TV broadcasts. This alone makes the PlayTV an good piece of hardware and has helped integrate my home entertainment setup even more.
However the PlayTV isn't just a good piece of hardware, it is excellent. Using the power of the PS3 and built in hard drive, the PlayTV allows you to watch TV upscaled to high definition, record, rewind and pause any broadcast and thanks to the dual-tuner setup you can record one program and watch another. The picture on a HDTV via HDMI connection is excellent and all broadcasts appear to be of the highest quality possible. Its integration into the system is also excellent, you can set the PlayTV to record a show and then carry on using the PS3 for other things. This feature really makes the PlayTV feel like a bonus and not a hassle. Using the software is a dream, the TV guide is easy to browse and very functional, it allows you to access shows up to a week ahead and schedule recordings. Very handy if, like me, you're prone to forgetting.
There are one or two small drawbacks however. Some of the features such as upscaling are not part of the product out of the box, they were added later via software updates. While it is excellent that they continue to improve the product, the update procedure must be started manually and is quite hard to find in the menus. However, a later update does move the option somewhere more sensible.
Another issue, though this is more of a problem with the Playstation than the PlayTV, newer models of PS3 only have two USB ports. As the PlayTV is connected VIA usb this can be a bit of a nuisance for people like myself who keep a portable hard drive and controller cable connected regularly. While it's not too much hassle to change cables round, there have been situations where a scheduled recording hasn't been able to kick in because I've forgotten to reconnect the cable. Given the shortage of USB ports, a sensible option would have been to put a spare USB port onto the PlayTV unit so that two were still left open. This is an approach used by Apple for their keyboards and Microsoft for the 360s HD-DVD drive, it would have been nice to see it here.
Otherwise, the PlayTV is an excellent piece of hardware for the PS3. It is particularly useful for anyone still without a Freeview box or anyone looking for a Digital Tv Recorder. For those that own a PS3 already you are getting a HDMI, upscaling, DTVR for an excellent price.
"Watch, pause and rewind live TV" says the ads. It certainly does all of this but I dont believe it does it all that well.
I bought it when it came out hoping to use it to record all those late night programmes or programmes that were on at the same time as each other.
It is simple to set up and forms part of your X media bar. Navigation is also pretty good. Recording is easy, simply highlight your programme and press a button. You can set it to record a few minutes before and after incase it runs on and will even turn off your ps3 when its finished. Programmes are stored in a library within the play tv utility, you can send them to your hardrive where you could then copy to an external hardrive, psp or any other multimedia device.
Provided out the box is a sticker to place over your sony blu-ray remote. Pretty handy as it opens up a lot of features which would normally take a bit of practise (and guess work) to use with the standard ps3 controllers.
Overall it is a very good tool but it has got bad points. To start, you should be able to play a game while recording. You can but the results arent good, you end up with a very poor recording which stutters and sound isnt good. The same thing happens when you try and watch a programme while recording another.
I own a HD tv with built in freeview, this plays havoc with play tv. I have to unplug the ariel from my tv to get a decent picture. I dont live in poor reception area and I think it would have been better if they put an aux out so you could manage the input reception better. maybe!!!
My ps3 is in my bedroom and if your recording late night programmes you have to put up with the low hum of the playstation. Fine for me but my girlfriend is a light sleeper and I get earache for it.
Overall a top product that performs well and is well thought about. Its just a few annoying niggles that let it down. I just sold mine on ebay for £50 after a year of owning it so it will be no great loss if it turns out to be not for you.
My fiancé and I don't watch a lot of TV but the programmes we do like to watch (Kickboxing, X Games) tend to be on during the early hours, so we wanted an inexpensive PVR (Personal Video Recorded) to record a few things. So we figured that PlayTV would be a useful addition to our Playstation 3 (PS3).
WHAT IS IT?
PlayTV is a TV tuner and a PVR accessory for the PS3. It gives you the ability to watch, pause and record Freeview digital TV, even whilst you're playing games (but not PS2 games) or watching a DVD on your PS3.
It is simply a small plastic black box, which measures 14cm wide x 7cm deep x 4cm high, so it doesn't take up a lot of space like traditional PVRs do.
It has two TV tuners, so you're able to watch one programme whilst recording another.
GENERAL SET UP
It is very easy to set up the PlayTV tuner, as you simply plug a TV aerial into the back of the PlayTV tuner with your standard aerial cable (not supplied) and then connect the PlayTV tuner to your PS3 using a USB cable (supplied). Your PS3 should already be connected to the TV via HDMI or SCART lead. If you set up the PlayTV this way then you will have to watch TV through the PS3 all the time, since the TV signal is now going through the PlayTV tuner and not directly to the TV.
Our Personal Set Up
However, we don't want to have our PS3 on all the time just to watch TV (as it uses up electricity and gets very hot), so we use an aerial splitter, which takes the aerial lead into one end and splits it into 2 aerial leads the other end (so one for the PS3 and one for TV). This means we have to switch the aerial between the TV and the PS3, but this isn't a problem for us as it's easily accessible. Please note that our TV has built in Freeview, so this set up works for us, but if your TV doesn't have built in Freeview and you wanted to watch those channels then you would need to watch TV via the PS3/PlayTV.
Right, hopefully I haven't confused you too much! Once you've set up the hardware, then you need to insert the PlayTV software disc into the PS3. The software is installed after a couple of minutes and then you can scan for channels.
HOW DOES IT WORK?
The interface of the Main Menu is very easy to use and consists of the following icons which you scroll through. You can either use the controls on the PS3 SIXAXIS controller or use a Blu-ray Remote Control (a sticker is supplied to stick onto your remote control so that you know which buttons do what). I don't use the PS3 as much as my fiancé, but I have managed to learn how the controls work pretty quickly.
* Live TV - allows you to watch, pause, record and replay live digital TV. It is incredibly easy to use, as you can just press the Start button on the controller to pause and then you press it again to resume watching. This is really handy if you're suddenly distracted or called away from the TV, so you won't miss a thing! Pressing the Select button starts recording the programme you're watching, which is great if you suddenly decide you want to record and you won't have to go into the guide and set it up that way. You can also pause Live TV whilst you're recording a different programme.
* Library - this is the folder where all your recorded programmes are stored. All the programme information is stored (name of the show, time & date it was recorded, programme info) and a thumbnail of the programme plays when you highlight it. You can also move a recording from your PlayTV Library to the Home Menu of your PS3, but this will delete it from PlayTV.
* Schedule - here you can view, edit or cancel scheduled recordings that you have made.
* Settings - this is where you can manage your favourite channels, enable parental lock, change the Live TV buffer and other settings.
* Software Update - this is a new icon that appeared a few months after we got PlayTV and it's more useful to have on the Main Menu, rather than searching for it deep in the settings menu. Sony update their software fairly often and ask their users for suggestions to improve their products, which I think is brilliant.
* Manual - this contains user help guides on how to use Live TV, the library and the Guide.
* Find and Record - here you can search by keyword if there is a certain programme you want to find, but you're not sure when it's on or on which channel. We've found this really useful, as quite often we see a snippet of an advert for a TV show and we can only remember part of the name of it. This search function shows you all the programmes that contain the keyword and from the results page it's easy to schedule a recording. You can also set up manual recordings here if you don't want to use the Guide.
* Guide - this allows you to view the TV schedule for the next 7 days so you can plan your viewing, schedule recordings or jump straight to a programme that you want to watch. The guide is easy to use, but one thing I would prefer is if the programmes list was on a loop, so that once to got to the bottom it would go back to the start of the list, rather than having to scroll all the way back to the top (it's not a big deal but I guess I'm just lazy!).
We think the picture quality is excellent and I honestly can't tell the difference between watching normal Freeview TV and watching it using PlayTV. The quality of the recordings is also excellent, not at all blocky and no lines running across the screen. It doesn't record in HD, but it also doesn't appear to compress the data, which means the file sizes are quite big, e.g. 3GB for a 2 hour film.
USING YOUR PSP:
If you have a PSP, then you can enable Remote Play when you're within range of a WiFi connection and you can watch your PlayTV on your PSP, which is good if you're away from home and desperate to watch TV or something you've recorded!
It is quite easy to transfer recorded programmes to your PC etc. You just need to export the file to your PS3 Home Menu, where it will become a M2TS file. You can then watch it directly on your PS3 or you can transfer it to your PC (easiest way is using a USB flash drive) and then rename the file to an MPEG so that you can play it.
* If you have set up a recording for when you won't have the PS3 turned on, then you will only need to leave your PS3 on standby mode, as PlayTV will turn on your PS3 to record programmes and turn itself off again when recording has finished.
* If you stop watching something you've recorded and turn the PS3 off, it will remember where you were up to and you can pick up where you left off.
PlayTV doesn't have the ability to record every episode of a particular series regardless of what time the episodes are aired, unlike more advanced recording systems like Sky+. So if your favourite series is broadcast at erratic times then PlayTV can't cope with this, as it doesn't have the sophisticated series link function, only the rather primitive 'repeat daily/weekly' option.
We've only experienced one problem in the 4 months we've had it and it was more of a glitch than a problem. We were recording a film and watching it at the same time, then suddenly we lost the picture, however the PlayTV carried on recording the film. It seems most PVRs have glitches from time to time, so we're not too concerned by this.
Overall, we're really pleased with PlayTV as it meets our minimal TV viewing and recording needs, it doesn't take up a lot of space and records TV very well. However, I think that the current price of £59.99 is a bit steep as there are some very reasonably priced PVRs available which can do more than the PlayTV is capable of. We were lucky that it was bought for us as a Christmas present, but if we had bought it ourselves we wouldn't want to pay more than £30-40 for it.
For use with: PLAYSTATION 3 (40GB), PLAYSTATION 3 (60GB)
Available from Amazon for £59.99.