Episodes of “Top Gear,” are currently available for $1.99 (standard def) and $2.99 (HD) per episode. Other programs, including “Doctor Who” and “Being Human” will arrive in December. To promote the new offering, Sony is offering users the chance to download an episode for free through Dec. 7.
Video games, of course, are the heart and soul of the PS3, but in recent months, Sony has turned up the heat on non-gaming functionality as well. In addition to Netflix, which is on all of the consoles, the PS3 exclusively offers users access to Vudu and Hulu Plus.
The BBC programming is another big ‘get’ for the console, as the Xbox 360 has been trying to secure content from the network for over a year. (The BBC has reportedly been less than enthusiastic about being part of the Xbox 360’s Xbox Live Gold package.)
Non-gaming functionality is increasingly important to console makers, as they increasingly view their machines as set-top boxes with larger entertainment missions. By making other types of entertainment available, the companies open their systems up to a much wider audience.
And given the ground the PS3 has to catch up with, that focus is a sound one. Life-to-date, the 360 has sold 21.9 million units, according to NPD research shown by Nintendo of America president Reggie Fils-Aime at a recent analysts’ conference. The PS3 has sold 13.5 million.