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PS3 and the TV

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13 December 2010

Sony's announcement that ITV Player and 4oD will be joining the BBC's iPlayer on its Playstation 3 gaming consoles is one more small step towards the reality of convergence in the UK's front rooms.

With web connected TV sets now becoming prevalent, Virgin launching its new TiVo box that can access the web, YouView planning to launch with internet connectivity built in next year and other web/TV services like Apple TV and the soon to launch Google TV in the mix, convergence isn't simply a seminar subject at NAB or the Edinburgh TV Festival any more.

The race is on for each box under the TV to become more things to more people - a PVR, a catch up service, a VoD service, a web browser, a gaming machine - and to become the box that effectively owns the front room TV.

For a games console like the PlayStation 3, offering catch up TV through its box is a way of broadening its user base within the whole family. "One of our jobs is to install PlayStation 3 in to as many UK homes as possible," says PlayStation's UK marketing director Alan Duncan. "If your only offering is games, that can limit your possibilities so a catch-up TV service is a very good way of broadening the appeal of PlayStation 3 and broadening the value proposition in people's minds, both in terms of purchase and how many people in the family are going to use the console."

He said that in the UK 50% of PlayStation 3's connected audience, which is over 80% of the total user base, already use iPlayer through their PS3. "This is a great way to introduce PlayStation into people's homes and make them more aware and accepting of the other things we do."

Playstation 3s already have a web browser, access to Lovefilm downloads as well as other VoD services, links to personal photo album services like Picasa and a soon to launch music service along the lines of Spotify.

"The policy is we're interested in partnerships with the major players," says Duncan. "The TV manufacturers are tending to scoop up lots of services on their integrated internet TVs. We're not interested in offering all the niche services because it's not our core business. We're offering so many other services it would become too cluttered and technically too difficult."

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