Essentially it’s a Freeview HD decoder and software that lets you watch Freeview via the PS3, and as with TIVO and MYSKY, it allows you to record TV whilst watching another channel or DVD (or BluRay) or whilst playing a game (take that TIVO & MYSKY). It also allows you to pause and rewind live TV.
What’s more, it has a host of social attributes as well, but these quite frankly don’t interest me, mainly because I only know a handful of people who have PS3’s, and none of them yet have Play TV so the social aspects just isn’t an option for me at the moment.
The question is, how does the set up actually work, and is it easy to use?
Basically it’s brilliant, with a few minor gripes. Set up is a breeze, you simply plug your TV aerial into the back of the little Play TV box and plug the Play TV into one of your front USB receptacles. This is where my first minor gripe comes in. It would have been so much better to have the Play TV plug into the back on the PS3.
On with the set up – you pop in the software disc and hit install. This is all pretty painless, though was a little confusing at one point. Then you’re ready to go.
Setting up to record programs in advance is easy, as is finding them the next day. Doing other things whilst recording is seamless, and the PS3 will even tell you when it starts and finishes recording so you don’t have to worry that it might not be working.
The only downside, and this is my second and last minor gripe, is that it takes a while for Play TV to load, so unlike traditional TV’s where you can turn them on and they are on, with Play TV you have to fire up the PS3 (if like me, you keep your consoles turned off when not in use) and then wait for the Play TV program to load.
But this is a minor thing. Having the ability to pause a TV show because you need to go to the toilet and it’s not the ad break is a wonderful thing. Being able to record TV isn’t huge thing for me personally, despite what I said at the star of my review, because I mainly watch DVDs, but having said that, I was able to record Motorway Patrol the other night, a program that I never get to watch because we’re always doing something else.
The biggest thing for me is the on screen interface. Rather than having to flick trough channels to see what’s on, I can bring up the mini menu and flick through the information on each channel to see if there is anything better on TV without leaving the program I am currently watching.
It might only be a little thing, but in my mind it’s pure genius.
The other thing Play TV does, is it makes my seldom used DVD recorder and my Freeview HD box redundant and takes up a lot less space.
Play TV along with BluRay definitely makes the PS3 the main component of my digital viewing lifestyle.