Changing channels is easy and involves the L1 and R1 buttons, and on the BD Remote these are located directly below the D-pad which is convenient (even if they are marked CH+/CH-). Fast forwarding and rewinding isn't as convenient as you need to hold down L2 or R2. The skip buttons will take you forward or back 10 minutes at a time — no ad skipping unfortunately.
As part of our testing with the, we used Remote Play which lets you operate the multimedia functions of the PS3 remotely, and found that it worked very well with the PlayTV. Even on the relatively small screen we were able to easily read the EPG and watch live TV and previously recorded shows. Quality will of course depend on the strength of your relative connections but via wireless on the same network it was very watchable.
The device is a little obtuse when alerting you to the fact that you may be recording something — only if you enter the guide will a red bar show up on the channel involved. Otherwise you can try recording something and it just won't work due to its inability to record more than one channel at once. However, there was no depreciation of either channel when channel surfing on the other available tuner. We did find there was a problem if shows overlap: the second show just won't record, and you can't delay the start of the next recording unless you set up a manual recording. In addition, if they start and finish at the same time sometimes it won't work either — GRRRRRRRRRRRRR.
Unless you set the device to background record you can't play a game and record something, and this can be annoying the first time you try it — we think the background feature should be on by default to save frustration. The manual warns that if you play a game and record then you may have some stuttering issues. While we didn't experience any when playing games, we did find there was some initial stuttering when you press Record.
We did have some glitchy issues from time to time — EPG data not appearing, the unit flickering between Play and Pause — but it was mostly a seamless experience. Recordings were of good quality too, and the tuner was the equal of the one on-board our test TV, the Panasonic G10. We did find our recording had more MPEG noise than the equivalent one we made on — but this could be due to a number of issues including differences in broadcast signals and because the PS3 was getting to the end of the disk.
One small nuisance is in the amount of time the program takes to run — it takes about 24 seconds. This can be annoying if you want to catch the start of something or simply need to exit the program to change a system setting and then want to get back in again.
If you don't own a PlayStation 3 already, then we'd suggest getting the 250GB version because the PlayTV is included in the price and is a great incentive. But if you already own a console, the PlayTV is hardly a compulsory purchase due to a couple of operational quirks and some recording quality issues compared to a dedicated PVR. But if you want a recorder on the cheap, this is perhaps the most affordable option yet.