PlayTV Update

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Hello, I’m Mark Bunting, the Producer of PlayTV, here with some news and updates for all you PlayTV users out there.
For those of you who are new to PlayTV, here is a little bit of background for you: PlayTV is a combination of a USB tuner and software that you install on your PS3 to watch your favourite free-to-air TV channels and listen to your favourite radio stations. PlayTV works with terrestrial signals, which basically means the stuff that you will pick up with an aerial and not a dish or cable, the signal needs to be digital as this is the new format.


When we first released PlayTV, we enabled Remote Play which allowed you to use PlayTV via a Wi-Fi point anywhere in the world. There are some good instructions on how to do this in the online manual.
Right now, I’m working with the guys from Sony Ericsson to support their new mobile phone, the Aino, which will allow the same remote play functionality that you can get with the PSP. I am lucky enough to have one of these for testing and it’s a very nice phone.
It took us longer than expected to make sure that we were compatible with the current set of games on the market but we were very pleased that, on release, we were able to enable background recording so that you could enjoy playing games while still recording the programmes off the air.

[viddler id=2ce0a6ed&w=545&h=349&playertype=simple]

Here’s a quick round-up of the other features that we have in the current version of PlayTV, v1.10 (for instructions of how to download this update, check out the video above to see me show you how).
Live TV

  • SD Upscaling – This is taking the broadcast picture and improving the way it looks (magic with maths)
  • Direct to Live – You can choose to skip the main menu to get to live faster
  • Channel Switchback – use circle to switch between the last two channels viewed
    Favourites view option – Filter the list of channels to a smaller list using the favourites option
  • Local channel ordering – See the order of channels in your country the way they should be ordered
  • Fast channel change – We are proud of the speed it takes to switch between channels
  • Slick interface – This is self explanatory but was one of out visions for PlayTV
  • Interactive – MHEG – “Press Red” and bring up the red button interactive services
  • Subtitles – If it has broadcast subtitles you will be able to see them
  • Parental Ratings – Mostly applicable to European broadcasts at the moment but we support this
  • Text Button Support – Similar to interactive and a bit of the old school of broadcaster providing you with more information
  • Audio description – Some programmes have AD which provides additional information for those who are not able to see the picture as clearly. Try it out it is really handy if you are doing something while watching TV
  • Alternative audio options – If there is a separate audio track in a different language then you can select this track and listen to it in that language


  • Find and Record – from the main menu search the guide to see if there is something that you want to watch or record
  • One Button Recording – Press select while watching a channel (not in pause mode) or select in the guide and you will instantly set (or cancel) a recording
  • Repeat Recording – Set up a manual recording to repeat to record your favourite shows (I hear what you are saying about series link in the UK)
  • Advance booking via EPG – tweak the settings to set the recording to start earlier or finish later
  • Accurate event recording – We follow what the broadcasters say, we start and stop recording when they tell us we should
  • PDC this is available in Germany and allows a code to be entered from a tv guide to set that recording


  • Thumbnail view – view your library as a whole lot of little pictures and then watch the selected one play back (very pretty)
  • Sort option – This is available in all list views, press square and you will change the way programmes are sorted.
  • Export to XMB – Need to archive your recording (like me on the news) you can do this via the x options menu in the library
  • Radio exported as MP3 – To save space and make it compatible with the music player we export radio recordings in the popular MP3 format

Other features

  • TV on PSP (needs a wifi connection when not in range of your PS3) – read above for more
  • Recording during game play – You can record a programme and play games at the same time.
  • Master volume change – Level out all of your audio by tweaking the audio level of
  • Volume normalising – Some broadcaster max out the sound and some play it quite, with this setting you can keep it at a level setting. Good if you are switching between two channels with different audio levels.
  • Updated via network connection, we are always working to make PlayTV better.


  • 18 Languages supported
  • BD Remote supported – The BD remote is supported with most buttons used
  • In game help Manual – Go to the manual page to work out what the buttons do on your controller or Sixaxis
  • First time help – You will get a help screes the first time you go to a few of the menu options
  • Intuitive main menu – We tried to make it so our designers grannie could use it.My whole family can and some of them are technophobic.

Our very first release of PlayTV was well received by many of you out there and I am the first to admit that we have still plenty of room to add and improve things. The major thing that we are working on at the moment is enabling HD and Series Link, but there are other fixes and improvements that we will be putting out there.
Thanks for your loyalty and patience as we implement these improvements: I look forward to trying to incorporate your suggestions, requests and ideas into PlayTV to try to meet your expectations. I’ll be back with some feedback on those soon.
Until next time!

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29 Author Replies

  • er, is this even usable in most european countries? (I don’t think its in Ireland)

  • I have PlayTV and I think it’s one of the best features of Playstation 3

  • Australia? Cost?

  • Will PlayTV work with “TNT HD” in France ?
    with the 1.10 update, it was ok (MPEG4 decompression) but since june, 1st, every channel in HD channels are in EAC3 (“DD+”) which is not decoded : we now have HD channels without sound …

    • Hello, I am very sorry that this happened. We certainly are not happy that you have had a bad expereince with HD in France. The fixes to allow sound to work again is being put into test next week. Because we allow playing games while recording we need to do a lot of testing to make sure we do not cause problems in games.
      I assure you that we will have your sound working as soon as we can, pleasekeep an eye out for an update. I will let you all know when it has passed.

  • Why the “update” word in the title? There is no update mentioned in the article. You fooled me!

  • Great to see such focused and continued support folks. You’re doing a cracking job! :)

  • Tell me when it comes to Norway and I will be one of the first ones to buy it. KK!

  • qwertyuiopasdfgh

    Mark, can you explain something please: at the moment, suppose that there is a DVB-T HD signal in my country, can PlayTV receive it and display it in HD? Or does it need an update to do that?
    When I watched your last video i didn’t understand if you said that we can’t watch HD DVB-T because there is no such signal on-air yet or if, even if there was such a signal, PlayTV wouldn’t be able to receive it yet.

    • Hello, some HD is working. If it uses AAC-HE v2 or AC3+ audio then not right now, you will be able to watch HD but not listen to it.

  • Play TV is great, but I would recommend a new Hard Drive!
    Any news on upcoming updates, particularly Series Link and HD would be appreciated. The implication across the net at the moment is that the current PlayTV box isn’t capable of decoding/receiving HD signals in the UK (DVB-T2). Would really love to know if this was actually the case! We have been asking for almost a year now!

  • This update (firmware v1.10) was published April 07th, 2009, a little bit late concerning its announcement on the blog, no?

  • that’s what i was thinking is this a new update or the old one that was released a while ago?

    • Hi, this is an update to where we are in the development of PlayTV not an actual update. Sorry to you all for the confusion ad thanks for the comments.
      It is a chance for me to respond diretly where I can to some of your questions and clarify any issues that I have not been able to get across through other means.

  • ??? Whaou !!! late for two month ! Well, i think Sony have nothing else to said today… In france, the PlayTv can’t decode the HD channel Sound so we’re expecting an update…again and again

  • What regions are available to PlayTV? When can we expect other regions to have PlayTV?

  • qwertyuiopasdfgh

    So, if i understood right, Play TV ATM is copatible with DVB-T HD but not with DVB-T2 HD? Is that correct?

  • when will this come to NOrway??????

  • I LOVE PlayTV and so does the Misses. We wouldn’t be without this exceptional piece of kit and the interface and menus are the best i have seen.
    When this supports HD broadcasts and series link then for me, its the most complete freeview recorder out there. I got an external HDD and the exported films, programmes etc play a treat of this.
    Having episodes of Peppa Pig and Charlie and Lola to hand at the press of a button is invaluable with two small kids!
    Thanks Sony for the continuing support of this product, i must say that me and many others are very happy that you are spending time and money to improve and future proof this addition to the PS3.
    Here is hoping for lots more updates via the blog on PlayTV update progress.

  • I have a few features I would like to suggest:
    A “compress” function. I often run low on disc space and there are some recordings I’d like to keep forever. I would prefer the file sizes to be much, much lower for these files and I don’t mind if that means a reduction in picture quality. PS3 is massively powerful, I’m sure it would handle video transcoding just fine!
    Perhaps this could be combined with a PSP export function – you can compress it into a PSP format but also keep the PSP file on your PS3 for viewing later. Yes, it would be worse looking but it would save me a lot of room on my hard drive.
    Please can you also remove the 25 recording limit? Some of the shows I record are on at the same time every week and never go off air. It would be nice to just set this and have it record for good, rather than me having to set it up again once it has done it 25 times.
    A “weekdaily” schedule to record programmes which are on Monday-Friday would also be good. One show in particular I record on this schedule, but to do it in the current software I have to set a recording for the Monday episode which repeats weekly, set it for the Tuesday episode repeating weekly etc.

  • This is an awesome update and a very much needed boost for Sony Ericsson. Thanks guys, you just might keep me in my job!

  • I will get it when HD is available

  • Can we get an update on whether we will see the “series record” feature that so many other freeview/sky/virgin units have? Would be well received by all I’m sure.

  • Ok. I want in in Seeden.

  • Thanks for the update but a little late :p
    I’m a bit curious about this product and I know it isn’t sold in Benelux but can we receive some channels? I love the product and would like to have it.
    is their any chance that cabel will be supported? (DVB-C)

  • hi,
    not clear artcile at all : is that a new update of play tv (thus it’s not 1.10) or is it a new article for something happened 2 month ago ?
    feature request ;-)
    – supporting DD+ sound
    – recording with compression
    – program guide working in france (a lot of channel aren’t working but working on a samsung tv)
    – improve loading speed
    – hability to program playtv with a simple web connection

  • I think the ‘Update’ is that they are working to bring it to Sony-Ericsson Remote Play mobiles, it’s more an update/overview of where it is upto in terms of functions. I must say it’s quite impressive, if it wasn’t for the fact I have a V+ box right next to my PS3 I’d have probably picked one of these up by now. Series Link would be a welcome addition, that’s a wonderful feature!
    Also why are so many people asking about HD channels when the article ends with: “The major thing that we are working on at the moment is enabling HD and Series Link, but there are other fixes and improvements that we will be putting out there.” – I really wish people would read before posting!
    I wonder how many “when will it be availabe in X country” responses this article will get… :roll:

  • will this service ever become availiable in the netherlands???

  • BTW for UK users wanting a new HDD Amazon and EBuyer now sell a massive 500GB Western Digital 2.5″ SATA HDD for £65! That’s around the same price you can get the 120GB Xbox HDD for!!!

    • Thanks Apnomis. To all of those wanting to upgrade the HDD for any reason plese make sure that you check the RPM and the cache size.
      The 60GB HDD that I have next to me from a 60GB chassis is 5400 RPM and 8MB cache/buffer. These figures are important to take note of.
      If you get a drive that is slower i.e. <5400 RMP or has a smaller cache i.e. <8MB then it could, (and I say could not will) make a difference to the performance of the PS3.
      Check out some of the techy forums out there as they can be quite informative.

  • Been meaning to pick this up for a while,any chance you will allow free sat or do a deal with Sky/virgin in the coming months.

  • Play Tv is one of the best features of the PS3 (along with VidZone now!) and gets used as our main TV tuner in our house.
    The last update was awesome, adding straight through to channel on load up and HD upscaling.
    Mark – when you talk about HD channels becoming avaliable, is this like BBC HD etc
    I though you needed a DVB-2 device to decode these? Or is the PlayTV box upgradable by using software emulation?
    Also, w00t at the Aino!!
    One suggestion…please give me the option to boot straight into PlayTV when I choose a user account when I first power on the PS3. Basically removing the XMB navigation…also, any chance of a quicker application boot up – maybe remove the logo ;) :P
    Cheers for all your hardwork!

    • HI, OK now all you guys don’t get grumpy with me I am only the messenger.
      HD in the UK is as pointed out going to be DVB-T2. At the moment everything that is HD ready may not be for DVB-T2, I only know of a few but I am sure manufacturers are working to get ready. This standard came out after we made out tuners, so if you have PlayTV we will need to find a way to support DVB-T2 for the UK, at the moment we are working on HD to the DVB-T standard.
      The good news is that PlayTV is an add-on and I beleive a vey well priced one so you do not need to replace everything.
      Once we have a plan for this we will let you know, but in the mean time I hope you enjoy the features that we have work hard on.

  • Hi Mark,
    Great product!
    The wish list;
    Grouping recordings for watching later. Like making a folder or group for recordings removing them from the main recording screen.
    Sort recordings by type – film, news, etc. Though I know you’re constrained by the guide.
    Similarly for searching by type.
    On-line integration – playlists for recordings that people post and you can select and will transmit to PS3 next time it’s on PSN to add in those recording schedules automatically.
    A way to stop it adding “scheduled recording” into the title of a show set to record by repeat. Just use the name of the show that features for the majority of the recording.
    An option to forsake live pause and enable dual record?
    But like I said at the start – wonderful product.

  • PS I got the WD 500 gig hard drive and it works like a dream! But you have to do some messing about to get it formatted correctly…

  • @Mark Bunting
    thanks for you answer, I hope the update will be available soon so we can enjoy HD channels with sound ;)

  • Hey.
    You know if Play Tv will come to Norway?

  • Any idea when this will be available to Australian users?
    Or is it somewhere I’m not looking?

  • Like Apnomis, I already have a V+ box next to my PS3 – but I think that if I didn’t I’d seriously consider Play TV.
    It seems like it’s growing into a really comprehensive service and you can tell by Mark’s answers that the PTV guys are really enthusiastic and serious about delivering the product.
    kudos to you guys.

  • original_copycat

    Do you have any (even vague) idea of when PlayTV will get released in Australia?

  • If I imported PlayTV from UK, will it work here in Sweden?

  • it would be great if you worked on getting this to aus.
    but ohhh aus is left out again :(.
    why are we always left out from everything in this world?

  • I love PlayTV and use it all the time, any update, no matter how small, is very appreciated.
    Any chance you can reduce the load time to get to the menu. That is my biggest problem currently.

  • HAHA Sony know to rub in consumers face. Australia as not yet recieved this having said that which Century or decade will Australia recieve this or will this be another product that we will miss out on?

  • I’m moving to Germany soon. Will I be able to receive the content in English (which is what I definitely prefer…)?
    Your article does say: “18 Languages supported” but I’m not sure if you mean with that, that it’s accessible in every country.

    • Hi Gulzt, all languages are accessible from all locations and here is the list in no particular order.
      English, Basque, Catalan, Danish, Dutch, Finnish, Flemish, French, French, Belgium, Gaelic – Scottish, Gaelic – Irish, Galician, German, Italian, Norwegian, Portuguese, Spanish, Swedish, Welsh

  • Is there someone at SCEE that knows that Europe has more countries then only UK, France, Italy, Spain and Germany?

    • Hi TVM07, PlayTV is also available in the shops in Austria as well. If I could control the world there would be a PlayTV box in every house.
      In fact I have heard that some people are using it in Finland, Australia, New Zealand and other locations that they can receive DVB-T signals.
      I am not sure how they are getting PlayTV there… but I will check with our marketing team, and point hem to this post to get all of your feedback.

  • Hello Mark.
    I’m not sure that PlayTv was well received in France!! We have waited 6 month to be able to watch HD channels on French TNT!! (When PlayTv has been put on the market, it was writed on the advertising that it works with HD channels!)
    It works 54 days, and…???? NO sound on HD channels!!!
    Are we going to wait 6 months to get back sound on HD channels??
    Please fix it quickly!!!
    When it works, PlayTv is really great with HD!

    • Dear TC95600, I can assure you hat I am sorry about this happening to you. I am a bit embarrased that you have had such a poor experience with HD. I am too scared to come over to France for a holiday this year :S until we fix HD.
      We have the solution to the problem and it will not be 6 months until you have HD with audio again, this time it will also support surround sound so that will be even better for you I hope.
      Thank you for staying loyal to PlayTV through these times.
      As soon aswe have our planned release date I will be sure to let you know.
      Then I can book a holiday :)

  • play tv sounds a very good device but i have no use for it has i got sky tv if there were a device like a cable with a usb on 1 end and a hdmi socket on the other so then i could plug my hdmi from my sky box to the ps3 so i could watch sky tv through my ps3 would be fantastic as im sure it would upscale sky tv connent up to 1080p hd resolution through the ps3 video card

  • it really is a great product and i am realy pleased with it!
    Could you maybe implement some sort of standby mode for when you leave the room, so that you don’t have to boot up the ps3 when you want to watch tv everytime?

  • I love PlayTV and its great to know that a series link is being worked on. I use it daily and prefer the system to SKY or any other digital box I have previously owned.
    There are a couple of very small problems I find with the useability though.
    When deleting programs PlayTV does not remember where you were in the menu and takes the selectetion back to the top. Drives me nuts when I am deleting multiple episodes or am watching several episodes of the same program (and therefore have organsied the menu by A-Z) and want to delete the one I’ve just watched, if I have alot recorded its very irritating not to be directly on or above the next episode. Small thing, certainly not a deal breaker but annoying none the less.
    Also talking about the A-Z mode, it becomes much less useful due to the fact that many programs begin with ‘THE’ and that isn’t taken into account, same problem with ‘SCHEDULED RECORDING’ at the begining of some episodes, I can understand the problems with ‘THE’ being part of the program title but when the PS3 puts extra into the title it would be much more functional if it came after the title.
    Small issues, none of which are deal breakers by any means, but I was wondering if any fixes are planned?

  • Great to see updates on this blog about PlayTV. It’s an awesome product and I love having it!
    Whilst your here, I wouldn’t mind throwing in some feature requests :p
    * Small annoyance: When paused or watching a recording, the pop up info box (at the bottom of the screen) does NOT disappear automatically after a few seconds (like it does with LiveTV). This has sometimes led to me hitting circle to close it, and accidentally then switching back to live tv and losing my buffer… :(
    If the info box for live *and* recording both had the same interactions / timeout for disappearing that would be a minor frustration removed for me and a bit more consistency in UI between the two modes.
    * I wouldn’t mind seeing picture-in-picture for channel browsing.
    * Also, the ability to keep exported videos accessible in the library view – with a little icon to indicate that they have been exported and are outside the PlayTV software (but still viewable via PlayTV).
    It’s an awesome product though, and the quality of most freeview channels on my 42″ 1080p LCD is quite simply mind-blowing. I don’t know how you guys do it! :)

  • when can we expect to see PlayTV in Australia??? I think it’s been long enough

  • What are the chances that a RemotePlay client will be made available on the iPhone/iPod Touch?
    And I second the the problem with selection jumping back to the top after a delete.
    Would there be any chance of having the recorded library integrated with the normal video section of the XMB, so for viewing recorded program you would not have to start the PlayTV application?

  • Hello,
    Please can we have series link/series recording. any idea about time scale for this feature ?
    Other than this Play TV is fantastic, the upscaling is great, the menus etc are mcuh betteer than most PVR.
    As for changing hard drives guys as stated as long as you stick to the Ram and cache its really easy. Although watch the blue screw, you’ll need a tiny jewlers screwdriver but its pretty simple

  • @LaustL
    It’s almost here, have a look:
    Already out for Windows/Mac

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