This weekend, consumer electronics giant Sony launched its most recent PlayStation 2 version, the PSX, in Japan. Although Sony had promised that the original PlayStation 2, with its DVD playback capabilities and external expansion, would be a hit crossover product, the popular system has seen the most traction in the traditional video game market, where it has dominated rivals such as the Microsoft Xbox and Nintendo's GameCube. With the release of the PSX, however, Sony is finally moving the PlayStation 2 into new functional areas that will attract a much wider range of users. Specifically, in addition to the standard PlayStation 2 capabilities, the PSX includes digital video recording (DVR) capabilities that let users record as much as 100 hours of TV shows on the system's 250GB hard disk.
The PSX isn't cheap, however. In Japan, the device is selling for about $925, although the price should fall before its release in the United States and Europe sometime in 2004. This price is significantly higher than competing products such as the TiVo, although the PSX has more storage capacity than most DVR devices. In addition, the PSX's DVD recording functionality lets users burn their recorded TV shows and movies to disk. Users can also store photos and copy CDs, making the PSX similar to Media Center PCs.
Despite the device's high price, the gadget-friendly Japanese have been snapping up the PSX in record numbers, with some stores immediately selling out of the device. Sony expects to sell more than 1 million PSX devices in 2004, although whether that figure includes US and European sales is unclear.