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Friday, April 08, 2005
PSX: 3rd generation available

The new PSX will go on sale in Japan on April 15 and will be available in two models. The DESR-7700 will come with a 250GB hard drive and a street price of around 80,000 yen ($767), and the DESR-5700 will come with a 160GB hard drive and will sell for around 60,000 yen ($575).

The PSX is a hybrid DVD-HDD recorder with PlayStation 2 gaming capabilities, and this will be its third model upgrade since its debut in December 2003.

The DESR-7700 and 5700 are nearly identical to the previously released PSX DESR-7500 and 5500 models, respectively, in terms of hardware, meaning that the DESR-7700 comes with a ghost reduction tuner and the 5700 does not. The DESR-7700 also comes with a connection for broadcast satellite (BS) and an i.Link (DV) connection.

Aside from having the features available in the older models, the new PSX will let owners download recorded video (such as TV programs) onto a Memory Stick Duo and transfer it to a PSP. The PSX will automatically convert video to the MPEG4 format the PSP uses when users download it to the Memory Stick Duo. A 512MB Memory Stick Duo can hold up to 110 minutes in 384kbps low-quality mode or up to 60 minutes in 768kbps high-quality mode. Notice that the Memory Stick Duo is different than Memory Stick, so an adapter is essential if you already own a Memory Stick.

Unfortunately, the encoding process when making PSP videos is a bit on the slow side. To compress videos at 768kbps, you'll, the system takes 5x the length of the clip. The 384kbps data rate is 4x the length of the clip. This means that an hour clip will take between five and four hours before you have a PSP version ready.

Sony actually recommends compressing while you sleep, as while the PSX is creating PSP movies, you can't access the menus, play DVDs, view the channel guide or surf channels. The system can record television programs in the background, though, so if you want to record something late at night during compression sessions, you'll still be able to. Also, you can group together up to fifteen recordings to be compressed simultaneously, and can store compressed programs on the PSX itself, although the compressed programs cannot be played back on the PSX.

Sony announced that it will release a new firmware patch for two PSX models on May 17. The update will give the PSX DESR-7500 and DESR-5500 the same capability as the latest PSX models. The patch can be either downloaded from the Internet or put on a CD and shipped to customers by Sony.

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