Sony launches digital TV tuner for PSP

Sony's new digital TV tuner is Japan-only and won't work with first-generation PSPs.

Just a week after we saw the much-ballyhooed, yet slightly disappointing, redesigned PlayStation Portable we have a much more useful addition to the Sony line-up in the shape of a digital TV tuner for the handheld.

The ¥6,980 (£28) PSP-S310 [PDF link] is a terrestrial digital tuner that operates on the Japanese 1-seg band, meaning it can receive broadcasts tailored for mobile devices, often including text data. A Memory Stick is needed to actually use the tuner, although recording shows to it is not permitted.

Cables not included

Weighing just 17g, the dongle clips to the PSP's USB port and comes with a leather-look carrying case. Cables, such as component and S-Video, are available (starting at ¥2,200, £9) for connecting the TV-equipped PSP to an external display.

Although 1-seg is becoming increasingly common in portable gadgets in Japan, it's unlikely that Sony will market an equivalent digital tuner in any other market.

Old PSP denied

As if the lack of recording weren't bad enough, the new tuner has been engineered to fit only the upcoming new PSP, leaving the current model out in the cold. Quite why Sony felt the need to alienate its existing PSP user base, many of whom are hardcore fans of the powerful handheld, remains a mystery for now.

Sony took the opportunity to also reveal that the slimline new PSP - officially dubbed the PSP-2000 - will go on sale in Japan first; it arrives on 20 September and will cost ¥19,800 (£79).

J Mark Lytle was an International Editor for TechRadar, based out of Tokyo, who now works as a Script Editor, Consultant at NHK, the Japan Broadcasting Corporation. Writer, multi-platform journalist, all-round editorial and PR consultant with many years' experience as a professional writer, their bylines include CNN, Snap Media and IDG.