Looks like Sony are trying to do what MS are doing... Should be interesting!
TOKYO, Sept 26 (Reuters) - Now that its blockbuster game console PlayStation 2 is hooked up to the Internet, Sony Corp <6758.T> is ready to upgrade the machine further so it can record television shows.
Sony said although the timing and details of the move have not been decided, it is set to make its game console more like a consumer electronics device.
"Our thinking is that it would be more convenient for consumers to enjoy home networking and manage broadcasting content as well," Kenichi Fukunaga, spokesman for Sony Computer Entertainment, the Sony subsidiary that developed the PlayStation, told Reuters on Thursday.
Sony has been trying to transform PlayStation 2, which has sold 40 million units globally, into a home entertainment hub allowing users to shop online and store music or movies.
The new product enabling TV programmes to be stored on a hard disk could give Sony an edge over its rival Microsoft Corp
, which is also eyeing the home entertainment business as an untapped source of revenue.
Fukunaga said Sony Computer Entertainment may offer tuner kits that would contain hardware to receive broadcasting signals, hard disks and software to run recording devices.
Sony may also roll out a new PlayStation 2 that has a built-in tuner and other necessary functions.
The upgrade will likely be first introduced in Japan, Fukunaga added.
GAME CONSOLE OR HOME APPLIANCE?
Fukunaga said the product is technically near completion but there are some problems to be hammered out before it can be commercialised. For one, how to market the product without conflicting with parent Sony Corp's own DVD recorder sales channels would be a challenge, he said.
"The game market and the audiovisual market are different, but this product could cover both," Fukunaga said.
Japan has digital, analogue, satellite and cable broadcasting and the company has not decided which signals should be received by the PlayStation machine, he said.
Sony has already powered up PlayStation 2 by offering broadband kits that include an Internet navigator, an Ethernet adapter and a 40-gigabyte hard disk drive.
With that, users can not only play online games but also store music from CDs and transfer it to their MD players, or save still pictures to enjoy slide shows on the TV monitor screen.
Microsoft has announced plans to launch online game services for its game console Xbox, which comes with a built-in hard drive and an Ethernet port, but the company said it had no plan to give the Xbox recording capability.
On Thursday, Sony shares closed up 3.82 percent at 5,170 yen, while the Nikkei average <.N225> gained 1.7 percent.