Sony unveils its PSX video, game combo

Sony unveiled its PSX, a hard disk, DVD digital video recorder and PlayStation 2 rolled into one, for the first time Tuesday at the Ceatec Japan 2003 exhibition.

Two models of the device, differentiated by their hard-disk capacity, were announced by Sony. The DESR-5000 has a 160G-byte drive and the DESR-7000 has a 250G-byte drive with the rest of the features being the same, according to a company statement.

Users can record video to either the hard disk or an optical disc. In the case of the latter, a choice of DVD-R (Video format), DVD-RW (Video or VR format) and DVD+RW (VR format) is available. High-speed recording at 24 times normal speed is possible when copying previously recorded video from the hard disk to a DVD-R optical disc.

There are six recording modes available, from HQ high quality to SLP super long play. In the case of the DESR-5000, the hard disk offers enough space for 33 hours at the highest quality level and 204 hours at the lowest quality level.

In addition to the recording formats, optical disc playback support includes DVD-Video, CD Audio, CD-R and PlayStation and PlayStation 2 discs.

At the heart of the PSX is a version of the same processor that is used in PlayStation 2 game consoles. The PSX features Sony's latest version of the chip, called "EE+GS," which combines the Emotion Engine processor and graphics synthesizer onto a single chip that is produced using a state-of-the-art 90-nanometer production process.

Its inclusion in the PSX means users playing games on the box should see no difference between it and the dedicated game console.

Other functions include a photo viewing mode. Pictures in JPEG, TIFF or GIF formats can be loaded into the PSX via either a Memory Stick slot or a USB (Universal Serial Bus) 1.1 connection to a Sony-brand digital still camera. It also supports MP3 and Sony's ATRAC digital audio format playback and has an Ethernet socket for connection to a network.

Both models are the same size: 31 centimeters by 32 centimeters by 9 centimeters; and weigh 5.6 kilograms, said the statement.

They are scheduled to go on sale in Japan before the end of this year. The DESR-5000 will cost ¥80,000 (US$720) and the DESR-7000 will cost ¥100,000. Plans for sales outside of Japan have not been announced.

Ceatec 2003 takes place between Oct. 7 and Oct. 11 and Makuhari Messe in Chiba, Japan.

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Martyn Williams

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