According to Warwick Light, Sony’s Computer Entertainment’s head of marketing in New Zealand, the PlayStation 3 will gain PVR capabilities with the release of a digital tuner accessory next year. The tuner’s release will apparently be timed to coincide with the launch of New Zealand’s Freeview terrestrial digital television service, so it’s unclear when it could pop up in other regions. It seems unlikely that such an accessory would be limited to New Zealand, especially given how Sony has trumpeted the PlayStation 3’s home theater credentials.
Freeview’s terrestrial service supports high definition formats, so the PlayStation 3’s tuner could be an HD unit. If so, it will be interesting to see whether Sony imposes any restrictions on high definition recording, and whether those recordings will be encrusted with DRM. It’s possible that Sony could allow homebrew applications running under Linux on the PlayStation 3 to access the tuner, as well.
Of course, this isn’t the first time Sony has dabbled in console-driven DVRs. The company’s ill-fated PSX combined a PlayStation 2 core with a hard drive and TV tuner way back in 2003. However, the PSX didn’t catch on and was only available in Japan. Thanks to Joystiq for the tip.