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Thursday, March 20, 2008
New Firmware Adds BD-LIVE Support to PS3


Sony is expected to deliver the following days a new firmware for the Playstation 3, making it the first Blu-Ray Profile 2.0 player.

The update enables the PS3 to support Blu-ray Disc Profile 2.0, also known as BD-Live. After the update, Playstation 3, which fulfils the hardware requirements of the Profile 2.0 specifications as they are defined by the Blu-ray Disc Association, will be able to obtain additional content and special features related to Blu-ray movies, via the internet. These extra features vary from disc to disc, and will keep your BD discs fresh with new content and in some cases exclusive content only accessible to owners of BD-Live enabled discs. BD-Live will also let people chat in real time during films, type in their mobile phone numbers for free movie-related ring tones, play online multiplayer games or upload custom-made audio commentary.

Here are some of the other new features/enhancements that will be included in Firmware v2.20, according to Eric Lempel, Director, PlayStation Network Operations:

- The ability to copy PS3 Music and Photo playlists to a PSP system. Sony introduced the ability to create Music and Photo playlists on the PS3 in firmware update v2.0. Now playlists can be exported to PSP.

- Adds support for DivX and WMV video files that are over 2GB.

- Resume Play - allows PS3 owners to begin playing a DVD or BD disc from the point where they previously stopped it, even if they eject the disc and insert a different movie or game.

- Use the PSP as a remote control to play back music files on the PS3 without turning on the TV.

- The Internet browser now displays some web pages faster. In addition [Save Target] has been added as an option under file. This option lets users save a file that is linked to a web page to their PS3 hard drive or storage media.

- "Mosquito Noise Reduction" will be added as an AV setting in the control panel of the DVD/BD player for improved movie playback. Note that BD discs recorded with BDMV format are not supported.

More on BD LIve

BDA's BD-Live specifications require hardware to support Internet/network connection, Picture-in-Picture (PiP), Audio mixing (secondary audio), 1 GB of storage and Virtual File System (VFS).

Sony has also announced two upcoming Blu-ray machines with Profile 2.0 support: the BDP-S350, available this summer for $399, which can be updated to the latest profile over the Internet when it's available; and the BDP-S550 ($499), which will ship with Profile 2.0 in the fall. For now, the most up-to-date Blu-ray players offer picture-in-picture functionality, also known as BonusView. That allows simultaneous video and audio streams so that you could, for instance, have a small window with video commentary while watching the feature film.

On April 8th Sony Pictures Home Entertainment will release The 6th Day and Walk Hard on Blu-ray; these titles will be among the first to take advantage of BD-Live.

Lionsgate's Saw IV will be also BD-Live-ready. It contains an interactive feature called MoLog (short for movie blog), where viewers can share their own audio or video content or join an online discussion using an onscreen keyboard. While the disc came out in January, the online BD-Live features will have to wait until the Profile 2.0 standard is here.

Fox's Aliens vs. Predator: Requiem, available on Blu-ray April 15, will include a BonusView picture-in-picture reference guide called Weyland-Yutani Archives, letting viewers hack into the movie-based corporation's secret computer to read about "all things Alien and Predator," says Fox. The franchise's first BD-Live content won't be available until later this year when Fox reissues the original Alien vs. Predator on Blu-ray with a multiplayer online game called Alien vs. Predator vs. You, demonstrated at the recent Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.


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