When I purchased the PS3 one of the things I thought to use it for was for recording TV. I didn’t have a decent solution for that (except an old VCR) for the digital channels. The PS3 has the PlayTV attachment to allow you to watch and record TV. It even allows you to watch while recording or to play a game while the PlayTV records.
It’s large for what it does. About the size of three DVD cases piled on each other. It connects to the TV aerial at the rear and to the PS3 USB. This could be a problem on newer PS3 as mine only has 2 USB ports (not sure how many the older ones have) and I was charging the 3D glasses and the controllers on them.
THe setup is pretty easy and using the free to air channel guides broadcast as part of the digital signal you can get about a week in advance for your programming. Either by the guide or by manually adding times. Recordings can be repeated or extended as required. If a programmed record messes up it will even try to find a repeat to record. Not really successful here, but perhaps in other countries?
I’ve been really happy with it, and with the 500GB PS3 I have been able to hold a fair bit to watch and not worry about space. I did have one movie record with a lot of stuttering but it hasn’t reoccured. It’s hung a couple of times, but mostly its can be slow if you follow up something that uses the HDD with something else that also uses a big chunk off the HDD, for example you delete a movie and immediately try to watch another. The playback or menus might not respond for several seconds as the system finishes one task before commencing the other. It may also be trying to buffer (through??) the PlayTV, up and back on the USB2 port?? not sure of the reasons, but something to watch out for.
I have found a process to copy recordings from the PlayTV to the PS3 and then to an external HDD. However this is limited to sub 4GB files as the PS3 only talks FAT32 to external drives. Even a hour episode at HD quality records at about 5GB. I will need to see if there is a setting to convert HD to SD as it records which may help. The process is fine, as long as your recording is smaller.
If you currently have another PVR solution, I wouldn’t bother. If you have a PS3 with a good size HDD and no PVR, its a good solution. If you have one of the new 12GB PS3, I wouldn’t bother. A HD movie can be 8-9GB.