Sony Corp said it plans to sell auto-related programs such as the BBC's Top Gear series to users of its PlayStation 3 via the Internet, strengthening the game machine's appeal as a gateway to the Web.

Sony's game unit will put an online TV channel function in its upcoming racing game Gran Turismo 5 Prologue, which will go on sale in Japan on December 13, allowing users to download auto documentaries, auto race digests and other programs.

Sony Computer Entertainment does not give a price range for downloading, saying fees will vary from program to program.

The PS3 has been lagging behind Nintendo Co Ltd's Wii in sales since their launches a year ago due to scarcity of strong game titles for the Sony machine at the initial stage as well as its high prices.

(Reporting by Kiyoshi Takenaka; Editing by Malcolm Whittaker)