Chinwag's Old Blog: Console Convergence - Sony's New PSX

What do you get if you cross a games console, TV tuner, a personal video recorder (e.g. TiVo or Sky+) with a recordable DVD player, music player and throw in some Internet connectivity for good measure? It's the newly announced PSX, a turbo-charged version of Sony's Playstation 2.

A couple of years back, convergence was the buzz-word on everyone's lips. At that time it was usually the convergence of digital TV and the Internet, or sometimes PCs and mobile phones. It looks like true convergence is the gluing together of all your consumer electronics equipment. If nothing else it's going to free up lots of shelf space up and down the country for new gadgets or dodgy knickknacks. Anyone who's spent hours crawling round the back of cabinets trying to wire their speak system, into their TV, video, satellite box will be thankful that the days of the wires maze behind the TV are well and truly numbered.

With Sky, Sony, TiVo and others already in play, it's clear that these super-consoles are here to stay. This could pose some interesting opportunities, with a new breed of companies vying to become gatekeepers into the home. The likes of Sony, who have no broadcast presence in the UK, now find themselves in a position to be the gateway to content and not just Internet-based content but Television, DVD and a whole lot more. It's clear why Sky have had their eye on this market with their early investment in TiVo and then the launch of their own platform.

Whilst digital TV only offers limited interactivity with narrowband connectivity, these consoles are based on better processing power and higher bandwidth Internet connections. The range of services that can be delivered dramatically increases, as does the marketing opportunities. Let's just hope that the providers have learnt the lesson of early digital TV, sticking to well-established standards and not getting too greedy avoids embarrassing headlines. It's a joint learning progress.

If you like the idea and can't wait for the PSX...or indeed you prefer the X-Box, don't fret. Check out TechTV's series on souping-up an X-box. Me? I've just bought a TiVo and whilst it doesn't think I'm gay it does have the odd habit of recording sports I don't watch and extremely old documentaries. One thing I can say is that it really does change patterns of media consumption. Much more selection, and the joy of being able to skip bad ads. Weirdly, some ads I still watch even though I can skip them.