The biggest thing Sony's NOT talking about....

So apparently Sony has slipped one of the coolest things I've seen in a while under everyone's radar. Their "LocationFree" products are absolutely ridiculous. I discovered this when I was looking through what all the new v2.5 Firmware for the PSP had on it when I noticed something I wasn't familiar with... "LocationFree" and decided to check it out... low and behold Sony released this set of devices without one iota of fanfare.

Think for a moment about the possibilities of a video system that does the following My Comments will be italicized:

• Location Free Player allows you to stream live TV, VCR or DVDs from your home to your PlayStation® Portable or PC over a broadband internet connection.
But how you're asking.....!?

• On-screen universal remote supports major brand A/V equipments.
You'll find out why this is cool later....

• 3D Digital Comb Filter
Ya know... because video, like hair, needs combed.

• NTSC Tuner and 2 Video Inputs
Yay inputs!

• Base Station:
• 1 X Ethernet Port
• 1 X RF Input
• 2 X Video Input (1X S-Video)
• 1 X IR Blaster
• DC In

• PC System Requirements
• Operating Systems:
• Windows XP® Professional/Home Edition ServicePack 2
• Windows 2000® Professional Service Pack 4
• Processor: Pentium® 2.1 GHz or more Their site actually says "4.1 GHz or more" but somehow I think that's a mistype and given the RAM requirements I'm betting it's 2 GHz.
• RAM: 256 MB or more
• Available Hard Disk Space: 300MB or more
• Monitor Resolution: 800 x 600 pixels or higher, HighColor (16bit) or more
• LAN connection or IEEE802. 11a, b or g compatible LAN capability

• PlayStation® Portable System Requirements
• Firmware Version: 2.50 or later with LocationFree® Base Station firmware 2.00 or later That's right boys and girls... if you're willing to update your PSP to version 2.5 (effectively breaking all homebrew) then you can enjoy your LocationFree device wherever you go.

• Supplied Accessories
• LocationFree Player for PC
• IR Blaster This device allows you to control your DVD player at home VIA the LocationFree software from Sony.
• AC Adaptor
• Operations Instruction
• DVD Intruction Video

Ultimately, you ask, "What does this mean for me?" What this means for you is that Sony has a Tivo-like device available for $300 ($350 on their site but you can find it on Froogle for $300). Not only does it do Tivo-like things... it also allows you to access the content wherever you have a PC with the software installed OR your Sony PSP in hand with the latest firmware. Alternately if you're willing to pay a pretty hefty price for a flat screen TV you can get various sizes that work via the LocaitonFree's wireless broadcasting in your home. That's right... it'll stream the content via 802.11G to the device somewhere in your house you don't otherwise have cable. Now for some people that's worth the $1000+ pricetag for the base-station AND TV... for me I'll just take the base-station.

Also I think this is a precursor to what we're going to see with regards to the PS3 and it's Tivo-like abilities. Sony has already stated that the PS3 will be more than a game machine that it will be the family's "all-in-one entertainment device".

If you'd like to read up on the LocationFree Device you can do so here:
http://www.sonystyle.com/intershoproot/eCS/Store/en/documents/specifications/LF-PK1_InstructionManual.pdf
http://www.sonystyle.com/is-bin/INTERSHOP.enfinity/eCS/Store/en/-/USD/SY_DisplayProductInformation-Start?CategoryName=tv_LocationFreeTVs&ProductSKU=LFPK1&TabName=specs&var2=