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Monday, 24 March 2008 17:49

Sony PS3 firmware 2.20 converts Blu-ray movies to PSP

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Previewed at CES in Las Vegas is the ability for the PS3 to take Blu-ray movies, convert them to standard definition and let PSP owners watch them on-the-go, in a function known as ‘Portable Copy’.

The new features keep on coming for the PS3 with every new firmware update, something that must be making PS3 owners very happy indeed.

QJ.net has not only uncovered new features for the upcoming PS3 Firmware 2.20, but has unveiled that this is the firmware version that will finally let PS3 owners make a legal copy of their Blu-ray movies to their PSP, transferred to and stored on the Memory Stick removable media any PSP can use.

It’s called “Portable Copy” and enhances the value of both the PS3 and the PSP, and does it without needing consumers to use their computers to rip Blu-ray movies to PC and then convert them.

Whether this feature will also work with DVDs is unknown, but at least converting DVDs to PSP is something that most relatively computer savvy PSP and computer owners will have no great trouble doing with either free or paid software on the Internet, even if it isn’t exactly legal.

QJ.net also revealed some of firmware 2.20’s other new features.

To start with, firmware 2.20 upgrades the PS3’s Blu-ray capabilities to ‘Blu-ray Profile 2.0’, which enables BD-LIVE content. Soon, Sony and other movie studios will release Blu-ray discs with BD-LIVE content, which is content sourced from the Internet, be it extra scenes, bonus scenes, shorts and trailers, extra language subtitles, ringtones for phones and other content that may, or may not, be of interest to movie watchers, but at least the choice is offered.

QJ.net also says there will be “Interactive movie-based games that pit players sitting in the same room, or across the world and online, against each other.”

Quite how advanced those games will be, seeing as they’re supposed to work on regular BD-LIVE Blu-ray Profile 2.0 equipped Blu-ray players is yet to be seen, although there’s always the possibility that more advanced PS3 compatible mini games could be created, not that that possibility has been spoken of to my knowledge.

What other new features will firmware 2.20 enable? Please read onto page 2.


QJ.net says that another new feature is called "Resume play".

This feature will remember where you were up to when watching a Blu-ray movie, if you didn’t finish watching the entire movie in one go, and it will even remember if you have to take the disc out (so you can play a game or do something else) and then put the disc back in later, although QJ.net notes BD-J discs aren’t supported.

Another cool feature QJ.net unveils is called "Audio Output Device”. This lets you use your PSP as a nifty remote control for any music you play through your PS3.

The PS3’s web browser gets an update too, with pages loading faster and video files on the web becoming streamable.

For those who have movies in DivX or WMV format, Sony have now decided that if your video is larger than 2GB, you can play it. Apparently this wasn’t possible before, which was a bit odd, but at least in the case of DivX movies/videos they were probably just trying to make life tougher for pirates, and you can’t blame Sony for wanting to do that, being movie studio owners themselves.

There’s also something called "Mosquito Noise Reduction", which will do its best to remove any ‘artefacts’ that appear in DVD or Blu-ray movies. Artefacts are little visual glitches, and if the PS3 can truly remove these (which shouldn’t be there anyway), so much the better. QJ.net notes that BD discs recorded in the BDMV format aren’t supported.

The PS3 and PSP’s compatibility is also further enhanced. Although the Blu-ray to PSP feature is something we covered on page one, QJ.net notes that PS3 owners can also copy music and photo playlists to PSP Memory Sticks to enjoy on their PSPs.

So, the PS3 value proposition gets ever better, whether you own a PSP or not, making the PS3 more versatile and an ever better buy with every new firmware update, putting further pressure onto the Xbox 360 and the Nintendo Wii, ensuring 2008 will the console world's most competitive year yet!


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Alex Zaharov-Reutt

One of Australia’s best-known technology journalists and consumer tech experts, Alex has appeared in his capacity as technology expert on all of Australia’s free-to-air and pay TV networks on all the major news and current affairs programs, on commercial and public radio, and technology, lifestyle and reality TV shows. Visit Alex at Twitter here.

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