The ITV Player and 4oD on-demand television services launched on the PlayStation 3 today, ensuring you'll never have to miss a riveting episode of Hollyoaks or Coronation Street ever again.
You can access the ITV and Channel 4 services via the TV icon in the PlayStation's media bar. The services will allow PS3 owners with an active Internet connection to stream their favourite shows from the channels after they've aired on standard terrestrial television. Programmes will be available to stream for up to 30 days after airing. Both services are free and completely funded by advertising.
The PS3 already has a wealth of online streaming features, including the PlayStation Store Video Store, Mubi, BBC iPlayer, LoveFilm and -- for those willing to foot the bill -- PlayTV.
For users of PlayTV, the PS3's answer to, the two on-demand services will arguably be redundant. PlayTV is a plug-in peripheral that acts as a digital tuner, allowing you to watch and record Freeview channels through your PS3. Originally priced at around £70, you can now pick up PlayTV for around £32 if you look online.
Sony has tried to give PlayTV a new lease of life via a software update that adds live-chat capability, community recommendations, a premium programme guide and series-link recording. The update is available on the PlayStation Network and is priced at £6.29 for regular PlayStation users and £4.72 for PlayStation Plus subscribers.
If you're not a PlayTV user currently, you'll probably find little reason to invest in the future, given the launch of 4oD and ITV Player on the PS3. With BBC iPlayer already available, the addition of 4oD and ITV Player means PS3 owners will be able to watch all the shows aired by the three biggest British broadcasting networks for free. PlayTV is more flexible though -- there's no limit on how long you can keep your downloads and you can upload them to yourfor watching on the go.
The arrival of ITV Player and 4oD on the PS3 is the latest shot in the ongoing console war between Sony, Nintendo and Microsoft. There's little chance of either service appearing on the Nintendo Wii, due to the company's hard-line stance on advertising on the console. But Microsoft has kept strangely quiet about the possibility of a future deal with ITV and Channel 4.
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