Freeview infects PlayStation 3's PlayTV
By Adam TURNER
Why is Sony pandering to Freeview and disabling PVR features on Australian PS3?
Australians have been looking forward to the PlayStation 3's PlayTV digital tuner for a long time and I'm glad it's finally here, turning a PlayStation 3 into a Personal Video Recorder. The PlayTV tuner, along with compatibility with the ABC's iView and Sony's video on demand services, certainly make the PS3 a very attractive option as the heart of a digital lounge room. So why is Sony screwing over PS3 users by disabling features like ad-skipping to appease the free-to-air broadcasters?
The Freeview campaign in Australia is a con job, designed to trick people into thinking they need to buy digital television gear with the Freeview logo in order to access everything digital television has to offer. That's just not true. All the Freeview logo means is that ad-skipping has been disabled, fast forwarding has been restricted to 30x and simple methods to copy recordings off the device have been removed.
I can understand why TiVo disabled ad-skipping in Australia, it's controlled by a major television network in Seven. But why does Sony need to buy into the Freeview myth by disabling features in order to get the Freeview logo? TiVo is aimed at mainstream consumers who have fallen for the Freeview line and think the Freeview logo is important. Anyone who owns a PlayStation 3 and a PlayTV is probably tech-savvy enough to know that Freeview is a con job and you don't need the Freeview logo to access everything digital TV has to offer. So why has Sony screwed over loyal customers to obtain a certification that we all know is useless? It's got nothing to do with the right to use the EPG embedded in the broadcast signal, as there are plenty of non-Freeview devices which do this.
Here are a few laughable quotes on the subject of Freeview coming to the PlayStation 3;
"Consumers can have what they want and how they want it in the home and on the go for free," Sony Computer Entertainment Australia managing director, Michael Ephraim said.
"We?re all about providing people more at Freeview and this fits with PlayTV as it also gives consumers a choice and a new world of home entertainment with digital TV," Freeview CEO Robin Parkes said.
Freeview is nothing but a marketing campaign - you're not getting anything new, you're actually losing features. Freeview is not about providing "more" or "choice", it's about control.
What's really laughable is that it's simple to bypass all the Freeview restrictions on the PlayTV. There's a great guide to the PlayTV on Whirlpool which is worth a read. The latest PlayTV software version is 1.21. Take care if Sony releases another update, as it may try to enforce the Freeview restrictions.
If Sony had any respect for PlayStation 3 owners it wouldn't buy into Australia's great TV swindle.
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