TV, Apps and Waving Your Hands: Give Me Everything

Let me ask you a question. Can you remember the last time your phone was just a phone? A device that just made phone calls and there were no games, no apps, no OnLive streaming, no catch up TV, no instant messaging and the only Angry Birds were Janice and Susan fighting over the last pot of Activia yoghurt in Tesco.

When I purchased my first ever mobile phone in 1995 it came with texting witchcraft in the form of ‘SMS’ and a game, ‘Snake’. Soon I, like the rest of the world, was texting and billions of words were flying across the globe. Snake had a place too, amusing me for a minute or two on long train journeys.

[drop]We should erect a statute for SMS and Snake, two unsung heroes of the past without whom the iPhone and HTC Sensations of the current day would not exist. They paved they way for multi-tasking multi-app phones.

In 1995 the mobile phone was just a phone; in 2012 you can talk to your phone and ask it to remind you when Eastenders is on. You can use your phone to start up your Sky+ box or if you missed the program, watch it on demand on the bus.

Let us consider the state of my bedroom in 1995. It’s a lovely shade of royal blue and I have a desk which houses my PC connected to a chunky CRT monitor on which many hours are spent talking to people across the globe on the fledgling internet. Beside it I have my PlayStation which is connected to a small colour portable TV and alongside that my video recorder. Sitting next to that pile of technology is my hi-fi with tape deck, record player, radio and one of those new fangled CD decks and on the shelves above literally thousands of CDs, records, tapes and video tapes.

Behind the desk there enough wires and cables to entangle Houdini for weeks and racks upon racks of plug sockets.

Today I have a PlayStation 3. It does games, it does videos, it does music, and it does television. It cures cancer in its spare time and can play my entire music library which is now held on a small portable hard drive rather than twenty shelves of CDs. My video library has grown in volume yet shrunk in size thanks to the dinky Blu-ray boxes, and the tangle of cables and wires is non existent.

The PlayStation video store may be pricey but it’s nice to know it’s there for that one rainy Sunday when I really cant be bothered to get out bed and go to Blockbuster.

I don’t want to have to change channels to swap between games and TV. I don’t want to have to wait for MTV to play my favourite video, Vidzone can give it to me instantly. Why on earth would I want to plan my evening so I can watch The Great British Bake Off as it is broadcast when I can view it any time I like?

I’m looking forward to the day when I can say ‘PlayStation, get that tosspot Jeremy Kyle off my screen and play the new Sam Worthington movie instead’ or ‘PlayStation, book me a table at Nobu for 6.30pm’.

That’s not to say I won’t be playing lots of games as well but to use the old slogan, why take two bottles in to the shower when you can take one?

It only does everything and I would not have it any other way.



  1. As long as the extra features don’t take the focus off the main feature – games – I’m okay with them. Like them, even.

  2. Totally agree, the fact the PS3 does so much other than gaming is one of the reasons it has progressed consoles out of the niche of the bedroom gamer & into the main room of the house & under the main TV, however…

    “That’s not to say I won’t be playing lots of games as well but to use the old slogan, why take two bottles in to the shower when you can take one?”

    This is the point that many media features of consoles will be made obsolete by Smart TVs, anyone who bought a TV last year or in the future will find all the media features of their black box obsolete & depending how things go at some point in the future, gaming could be delivered that way too.

    Blu-rays however keep the PS3 with an extra tick in the ‘pro column’

    • That’s assuming every single app comes to every platform, but even when you compare the media functions of PS3 and 360, which have the best chance of being the same, they’re not.
      Sky and Vidzone being good examples. Not every app will appear on TVs, and not everything on consoles. But there will be overlaps as well.

      • On the subject of TVs, On Live has just released apps for both Android and IOS and also, significantly, for Google TV. Now, if you’ve been following the announcements from CES recently you’ll have noticed that a glut of major TV manufacturers are bundling Google TV in to their upcoming sets, meaning that buyers of TVs later this year and onwards will have immediate access to On Live gaming on their main TV in their living room.

  3. “Let us consider the state of my bedroom in 1995”

    I was truly concerned with the sorts of lucid hedonism this paragraph would contain, but it turns out it was actually quite innocent!

    Who would’ve thought? :P

  4. I find this whenever I say about some of the stuff I can do with Nexus S. Someone inevitably rolls out the old “I just want a phone to be, you know, a phone *scoff*”

    I just ask why? Sure I need my phone to be a phone but if it can also be a camera, games device, organiser, music player, eReader, sat nav without sacrificing the phone-ness, why not.

    Same is true of the PS3. Strap on all the extras you can as long as it still plays the best games on the planet!

  5. strap on the extras, as long as the main point of the console does it job properly.

  6. Needs more top tens.

  7. Several mentions of strap ons in the comments so far. Can’t say I’, surprised.

    • Always wondered what the Move Navigator was for, oh! gaming you say? :P

  8. You make a great case for ‘doing everything’ TC. I’ve changed my mind, going to vote for more features in the future not less!
    Im gonna try something… ‘Playstation, bring me a beer!’
    (My girlfriend just looked at me funny and said she’s going to make tea and would I like a beer. Result)

  9. And that is exactly the point Sony miss. My parents have a PS3 in the living room. Do you know when it gets turned on? To play Singstar at Christmas.

    They don’t know about Vidzone, they don’t know about Catch Up TV, they don’t know about Lovefilm and such like. Sony have missed a trick and as long as it’s seen as a “Playstation”, what middle aged person is ever going to pay attention to the advert?

    • ‘as long as it’s seen as a “Playstation”, what middle aged person is ever going to pay attention to the advert?’

      Well then what do you suggest Sony change the name to? Sunday dinner and a cup of tea Station? ;)

    • Yeah, I was making a suggestion to a name change hoping someone from Sony was reading the comments.

      Or, alternatively, I was just expressing my opinion that Sony might well be fighting a losing battle. They didn’t advertise well enough at the start of the PS3s life-cycle that it was a media-hub, and now they are, they’re stuck in the mind-set of it being a games console.

    • Are we aaying the PS3 has no attraction to the middle-aged ? I’m 43 this year and love mine. And I occasionally play games on it too ! Is there a site survey of members ages out of curiosity ?

      • But like we often say, the members of this site are not representative of the general public. We are, after all, gamers!

      • No obviously not. That would mean mass generalisation on my part, something which I’m clearly not trying to convey as the main point, but inevitably someone would bring up in a completely unneccesary context. When I say middle aged I mean short-hand for “people who don’t play games and haven’t grown up with them as their main medium for entertainment”. But apparently we have to explain everything these days to the minutest of details because people are pedantic arseholes trying to stir up trouble on the internet for the sake of it…

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