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In a bid to boost feature-set of the PlayStation 3, Sony Computer Entertainment Inc. will release a special TV-tuner next year that would add TV recorder functionality for the console which popularity is not particularly high these days.

“We’re also hoping next year – about the same time that Freeview launches its terrestrial broadcasting service (expected to be in March) – to release a digital tuner for the PS3, turning it into a programmable TV recorder,” said Warwick Light, Sony Computer Entertainment New Zealand’s head of marketing, in an interview with The Press web-site.

Sony wants to transform PlayStation 3 into an ultimate machine for entertainment, not just gaming. But the question is whether mass gamers really want a complex device that can playback movies, record TV and play games, or they just want a simplistic machine that can play games, like Nintendo Wii.

“We (Sony) can transform the PS3 capabilities so as to meet people's changing entertainment needs,” said Mr. Light.

Nintendo Wii has been outselling Sony’s PS3 by times in the recent months across the globe simply because of its low price and a few exciting games.

Sony PlayStation 3 console is based on the Cell processor developed by IBM, Sony and Toshiba, the RSX graphics chip by Nvidia Corp., wireless network and Bluetooth connectivity and is equipped with Blu-ray optical disk drive. There are several versions of the consoles available around the world with 60GB or 80GB hard disk drives and variable compatibility with PlayStation 1/2 games.

Sony PlayStation 3 price varies across the world. The machine is sold for $499 and $599 in the U.S., ?59 980 ($492) in Japan, ?599 ($824) in the most of the European markets and for pricing more or less close to that in variety of countries (UK – ?425 ($865), Ireland – ?629 ($866), Australia – AUD 999.95 ($871), New Zealand – NZ 1199.95 ($951)).

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