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Play TV

January 4, 2009

ps3-play-tv This litte device – RRP £69.99 – plugs into your Playstation 3 and allows you to watch freeview via the PS3. The prime reason I got this was so I can record television shows straight to the Playstation for later viewing.

Similar to the Sky+ system, you can also pause live TV and, with the ‘buffer’ feature enabled you can rewind a channel that you have been watching should you need to do so.

When you first plug the Play TV into your PS3 you need to also pop in the disc and watch an introduction to the system; this will do a background install and takes a few minutes – after which you will be up and running.

A Play TV menu is now visible on the user interface. Clicking on this option opens the splash screen, and then the Play TV menu where you can go into the live tv mode. This is where the first real noticable difference comes in between watching TV normally and watching via the Playstation. When you switch on a TV, sound and image come through almost instantaneously. Switching on the Playstation and go into the Play TV takes 45 seconds in total – not to mention the additional electricity you use by having the Playstation on just to watch the TV.

playtvmenu

After you’re in you are faced with 7 Menu options
Live TV – this takes you straight in to watching the television.
Guide – Like the radiotimes, this brings up the television guide and is displayed in an excellent format. All programmes are shown over a 2 hour period and a cool faded white line moves across the screen dependent on current time so you can exactly how far through a programme you are. After a recent update it’s also extremely fast to load programmes for the whole week. Anything you have set to record shows up in red.
Find and Record – find a programme you wish to record and set it up. The record feature can be found during live tv and on the guide, so this part is only good for searching for a show by keyword – which takes just a few seconds.
Manual – I’m a bloke, I haven’t read it – but this is basic help for the live tv, guide and library.
Settings – within here you have the following options: manage favourites; parental lock, background recording, live TV buffer, screen size, subtitles, audio, setup, help, about. These are all straightforward options when you go into them. You’ll need to use the ‘about’ section when you see there is an update due for the system.
Schedule – This shows what you have scheduled to record, and features error reports for anything that may not have recorded (prime reason is running out of hard drive space).
Library – a collection of whatever you have downloaded. I use mine in a ‘thumbnail’ view which shows mini screens of wht you have recorded, and starts playing as you move over them so you can be sure you’re about to watch the right show before actually selecting it.
playtvguide

Recording
When it comes to recording it doesn’t seem to be consistent as to how much space is going to be used – and I think this must depend on the format quality being broadcast by an actual channel. 1 hour recorded is usually between 1GB and 1.5GB – but some films less that two hours do end up being over 3.5GB. Therefore, depending on how much you record, and what else you use the playstation for, you may find yourself quickly running out of space with the normal 60GB system.

I’ve attempted to record whilst also playing a game, and though it did manage to record the picture, there was no sound available.

If you set to record for a time when you’re not in, you can switch off the playstation. It will switch itself on when it needs to record, and off again once it is finished.

Remote Play
Play TV works very well with the PSP and Remote Play feature, meaning you can watch anything on TV, or anything that you have recorded, anywhere in the world when you have an internet connection.

playtv-psp

Pros
Record television straight to your Playstation 3, even when watching another channel
Excellent user interface
Works well with the PSP Remote Play feature, so watch your TV wherever you are

Cons
Long load time of 45 seconds from PS3 switch on to actual viewing
Inconsistent file sizes for recorded programmes
Still a few issues with recording things whilst playing games/watching Blu-ray

Usability

Performance
Value for money
Overall
   

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