By MATT MOORE
FRANKFURT, Germany (AP) – Sony Corp. (SNE) took another step to lure new customers for its high-end PlayStation3, saying it would sell a device to let users record live television that can be stored on the game console or transferred to the PlayStation Portable for later viewing.
The combined television tuner and personal video recorder, dubbed PlayTV, is aimed at helping Sony boost sales of its high-end gaming console as well as its portable gaming unit. Sales are due to start in Spain, Germany, France, Italy and Britain in early 2008.
Sony announced the new product Wednesday at the Games Convention in Leipzig, Germany.
Using a format known in Europe as Digital Video Broadcasting – Terrestrial, the PlayTV integrates into the PlayStation 3 console and lets users record individual episodes or entire series to its hard drive.
Sony said the device’s twin TV tuners are high-definition ready and able to view, record and play back in that format. Recorded video can be sent wirelessly from the console to a PSP.
For all its advances, Sony’s PS3 has faced formidable competition from rivals like Nintendo Co.’s Wii and Microsoft Corp. (MSFT)’s Xbox 360.
Sony had sold 4.3 million PS3 consoles as of June, compared with 11.6 million Xbox 360s and about 8 million Wiis.
The PS3 retails for 599 euros ($808) in Europe and $499 in the U.S. The company did not say how much PlayTV would cost or when it would be available elsewhere in Europe, Asia or the Americas.
Jonathan Arber and Jonathan Coham, analysts at Ovum, a London-based research firm, said PlayTV was the “next logical step” for Sony in competing with the Xbox 360, but said Sony still has to overcome the console’s price and bring out more games.