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Sony Europe Details PSP VOIP, Video Download, PS3 PVR Plans

In a string of Europe-focused announcements at the Leipzig Gaming Conference in Germany, SCEE has showed off Simpsons and Spider-Man versions of its new, slimmer PSP, as well as a new wireless messaging service and video download service for the handheld,
At the Leipzig Gaming Conference in Germany, Sony Computer Entertainment Europe unveiled two new PSP bundles and new communication and video features, along with a PVR utility for the PlayStation 3. SCEE unveiled the new PSP Slim and Lite, available across its territories from September 5th. Retailing for €169 ($228), the new PSP, which Sony unveiled at E3 in July, is 33 percent lighter and 19 percent thinner than its predecessor, and is equipped with a video-out port that allows users to view their PSP content on their home TV. The new PSP will be available as standard in the three colors announced at E3; Piano Black, Ceramic White and Ice Silver. Two limited-edition PSP bundles, retailing at €199.99 ($268) and exclusive to the SCEE region, were also announced: a Spider-Man bundle, which includes a red and black PSP with Activision's Spider-Man 2 and the Blu-Ray movie, Spider-Man 3; and a Simpsons bundle, including a yellow PSP and EA's The Simpsons Game. SCEE also unveiled Go!Messenger, the wireless communications package for PSP due for release in January 2008 in the SCEE territories. Using VoIP technology, the free service lets PSP users IM each other from any wireless internet connection. As part of a future firmware upgrade, Go! Messenger places a small application on PSP’s XMB (XrossMediaBar), which can be downloaded separately from the web and installed to the Memory Stick. By adding a headset, voice chat and voice messaging becomes possible, and by connecting Go!Cam, PSP's attachable video camera, users also have the ability to make video calls to their friends and leave video and voice messages. SCEE also revealed details on its Go! branded Video Download service, its joint venture with British Sky Broadcasting to enable pay-per-view video on demand for PSP users in the UK and Ireland. The service will launch in early 2008, marking the first time Sky has offered video content through a non-branded service, and the first official PSP video download service in Europe. Additionally, Sky will develop a user interface specifically for PSP content. Customers will be able to download programs directly to their PSP via a Wi-Fi connection, or transfer content that they've downloaded to their PC. Turning from handheld to console, SCEE used its Leipzig appearance to unveil PlayTV, a combined TV tuner and personal video recorder (PVR) for PS3. PlayTV will be available in UK, France, Italy, Germany and Spain early in 2008, with other PAL territories to follow. The twin-channel TV tuner peripheral and PVR software turns PS3 into a TV recorder, allowing users to watch, pause and record live TV. PlayTV will also record individual programs or whole series to the PS3 hard drive for later TV viewing, or for transferring to the PSP for remote viewing. Operating on the Digital Video Broadcasting – Terrestrial (DVB-T) format, PlayTV uses a 7-day Electronic Program Guide that provides the navigation for programming the PVR features of PlayTV with the SIXAXIS controller.

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