In a stunning move that could catapult the flailing PlayStation 3 (PS3) video game console ahead of Microsoft's equally stagnating Xbox 360, Sony this week announced that it would add digital video recording (DVR) capabilities to the PS3 via an add-on called PlayTV. This add-on will allow PS3 owners to watch, pause, and record live TV via their consoles, a capability the Xbox 360 lacks. (Microsoft did announce its intention to deliver Internet TV through the Xbox 360, but has yet to announce any details for such a feature.)

"With the PlayTV's state-of-the-art TV tuner and personal video recorder (PVR) functionality, the PS3 is now the best choice of home entertainment hub for the whole family," says Sony Computer Entertainment Europe President David Reeves.

PlayTV will initially launch in the United Kingdom, France, Italy, Germany, and Spain early next year, Sony says, and will come to other countries later in the year. The device will ship with two HD tuners, but will also offer standard definition support. Via the Remote Play functionality of the Sony PlayStation Portable (PSP), users will also be able to watch and record live TV shows over Wi-Fi with Sony's portable gaming solution.

Sony's announcement came at a video game conference in Leipzig, Germany, which attracts about 200,000 gamers. The company also said it intends to ship 11 million PS3 units worldwide by 2008.