The PlayTV device, unveiled at a European game conference Wednesday, would connect to the PS3 and act as a kind of rabbit ears in picking up TV shows available over Europe's terrestrial airwaves, which broadcasts standard and high-definition television. Once software is installed in the PS 3, users would use a seven-day electronic program guide that also provides navigation for programming PVR (personal video recorder) features, which include watching, pausing, and recording shows.
The peripheral is scheduled for release before Christmas in Britain, France, Italy, Germany, and Spain. Pricing was not released. Other regions would be added later, but there are no plans to release PlayTV in the United States, Dave Karraker, spokesman for Sony Computer Entertainment America, told InformationWeek.
The announcement came as sales of the PS 3 lag behind the Nintendo Wii, which has attracted users with its low price and motion-sensing controller. Both videogame consoles shipped last November, and also compete against Microsoft's Xbox 360, which shipped a year earlier. In June, Nintendo moved almost four times as many Wiis as Sony sold PS 3s and almost twice as many as Microsoft did Xbox 360s.
Sony has fallen behind its own projections for PS 3 shipments, and has cut prices to boost sales. At the end of its fiscal year March 31, Sony shipped 5.5 million units, instead of the 6 million the company had been forecasting. Sony has said it expects sales to increase with the release of new games this year, and maintains its sales forecast of 11 million units in the first year.