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Talk of the day: Beefed-up PS3 may muscle its way into U.S.

By TIMES WIRES
Published May 24, 2007


Sony's PlayStation 3 video game console will come with a beefed up 80-gigabyte hard drive in South Korea, and that model is being considered for the United States and other markets, a company official said Wednesday. The PlayStation 3, which competes against Nintendo Co.'s Wii and Microsoft Corp.'s Xbox 360, now comes with a 60-gigabyte hard drive. The 80-gigabyte version will start selling June 16 in South Korea, where online games are enormously popular and broadband connections are more widespread. Broadband can enhance some games, and players can also download features for games from the Internet.

Latest news: CNN paid service fails

CNN is giving up on the idea of charging for CNN Pipeline, launched in late 2005 as a $25-a-year service providing four "streams" of video with footage of breaking news. CNN plans to redesign and repackage its Internet offerings. Plans call for "folding" Pipeline into that new format July 1. More than 6-million users visit the CNN site each day. CNN declined to say how many are subscribers to CNN Pipeline. The idea of Pipeline was to exploit the habit of many American office workers who check news on the Net during the day. CNN hoped that people would gladly plunk down a few dollars to add moving pictures to the stories and photographs. It appears CNN was unable to overcome the popular notion that, like butterflies, clicks are free. Figuring the Net-consumer might simply prefer smaller bites, CNN added variations on the pricing, offering monthly access for $2.95 and even a 99-cent day pass. But none of the ideas caught on.

Used GM vehicles enter satellite age

XM Satellite Radio Holdings Inc., the pay-radio service that is trying to combine with Sirius Satellite Radio Inc., will offer free service for three months to buyers of used cars certified by General Motors Corp. More than 115, 000 used GM cars with XM radios will be eligible for the offer, which includes a waived activation fee. "This program is a cost-effective way to get new customers because XM is already installed in the vehicles, " Chance Patterson, an XM spokesman, said in an interview. General Motors has put XM radios in more than 5-million new cars in the past five years and is XM's biggest automotive partner.

BofA hitches ride with NASCAR

Hoping to build on its newfound expertise in credit cards and on NASCAR fans' loyalty, Bank of America Corp. has begun offering a NASCAR checking account to try to drive more retail business to its automated teller machines and branches. The new account will feature NASCAR designs on checks and statements and even special interest rates on some certificates of deposit and other investments. The debut comes as NASCAR wraps up two weeks of racing in Charlotte at Lowe's Motor Speedway with Sunday's Coca-Cola 600, and furthers the bank's efforts to draw customers from within the sport.