PSP gets mega multimedia firmware boost

Next Tuesday may be remembered as the day Sony's PlayStation Portable received the finishing touches it needed to make it the powerful multimedia and gaming machine it always should have been, when it gets its most powerful system software yet.

The rollout of firmware version 3.80 will start on 18 December in Japan, adding the ability to record digital TV broadcasts, receive and record internet radio stations and - finally - a proper RSS client.

Japan only for now

Naturally - as it is the sole territory with a digital TV tuner - Japanese PSP owners will be the only beneficiaries of the new video recording function. The current 1-seg tuner has always been crippled by its inability to handle recordings.

As well as real-time recording, the new software can use an electronic programme guide to schedule the PSP to switch on, do its thing and then switch off again once the show is over. Naturally, data is all dumped to Memory Stick and it can also be viewed on a PS3. There's also a PC application for playing the PSP video available from Sony for ¥980 (£4.30).

Streaming radio

One feature that we in the West will be getting, however, is the new ability to pick up streaming internet radio via a Wi-Fi connection. There's nothing novel here that PC users aren't familiar with except, perhaps, for the ability to record the incoming audio.

Finally, a new RSS application arrives to replace the current rather anaemic attempt with a proper piece of software that can import OPML files and can also handle photo feeds from the likes of Flickr.

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.