Sony's Playstation 2, with 40 million units sold globally, is enjoying the lead in the console wars but the company is not prepared to stop its efforts to increase that lead. Following the availability of online capabilities, a new upgrade is being finalized for the console which, when released, will allow the PS2 to record TV shows and will help Sony further in their efforts to install themselves in our living rooms. This step is part of the ongoing effort to make Sony's console a home entertainment hub, allowing owners to shop online, and use it for a variety of digital entertainment functions.
Our thinking is that it would be more convenient for consumers to enjoy home networking and manage broadcasting content as well, said Kenichi Fukunaga, spokesman for Sony Computer Entertainment.
According to Fukunaga, the TV kit will offer a tuner, a hard disk where the shows will be stored and software to record them. There are also plans of releasing a PS2 with a built-in tuner and hard disk drive. As usual, the upgrade will first be released in Japan and subsequently in the U.S. and Europe.
Fukunaga claims that there are only a few details that need to be finalized before the release of the upgrade. The main issue facing Sony is how to manage the console's new capabilities without interferring with their other commercial activities, such as DVD sales.
The game market and the audiovisual market are different, but this product could cover both, said Fukunaga, who expects the addition to give PS2 a marked advantage over Microsoft's XBox which, according to the company, will not offer any TV recording options to its owners.
With a browser and a 40 GB hard disk already available for the PS2 and online capabilities on their way, this addition is bound to make Playstation 2 the most complete family entertainment centers currently available.