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March 20, 2007
Full PS3 Preview & Release Schedule

Click here to check out PLAYSTATION 3 LAUNCH GUIDE: THE GAMES
Click here to check out PLAYSTATION 3 LAUNCH GUIDE: THE VERDICT PART 1
Click here to check out PLAYSTATION 3 LAUNCH GUIDE: THE VERDICT PART 2

PLAYSTATION 3 LAUNCH GUIDE:
THE MOVIES

MULTI-MEDIA ON THE PS3

The Playstation 3 is, as we all know, a kick-ass games machine but the multi-media capabilities are equally impressive, or important. There are several key areas where the PS3 manages to distinguish itself from other past and present machines. First, the Blu-Ray drive and movie playback, secondly the video and audio streaming from the Hard Drive, and finally the Photo Album mode. Let's look at each with a bit more detail...

BLU-RAY MOVIES

The official Blu-Ray logo.
So technically what are the differences between DVD's and Blu-Ray movies? Well despite running on the same size, and very similar looking disc, there are plenty of changes actually. The biggest is the capacity of the disc. Dual Layer DVD's can hold just under 9GB of data while Dual Layer Blu-Ray discs hold just under 50GB on each disc - an increase of 5.5 times the storage capacity. The video itself has increased from 720 x 576 (414,720 pixels) for PAL to 1920 x 1080p (2,073,600 pixels). Naturally you will need a fairly recent, and high-end, TV to make use of the 1080p resolution, but if you can afford it you'll never look back.

Audio is a bit more complicated. While Blu-Ray movies hold massive amounts of storage space, and the specifications of the format allow for DTS-HD and Dolby TrueHD no discs make use of this as yet. They can't either because the decoders aren't available yet! It is expected that decoders and amplifiers will be developed to use these high-end audio codecs in the second half of 2007.

BLU-RAY MOVIES
Released Blu-Ray Movies:
Behind Enemy Lines
Black Hawk Down
Blazing Saddles - 30th Anniversary Special Edition
Click
Corpse Bride (Tim Burton's)
Enter The Dragon
Fantastic 4
Flightplan
Gone In 60 Seconds (2000)
GoodFellas
Hitch
Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy, The (2005)
Hostel - Uncut Version
Kiss Kiss Bang Bang
Last Samurai, The
Lethal Weapon
Lethal Weapon 2
MI:III: Collector's Ed.(2 Disc)
Mission Impossible Box Set
Monster House
Rocky
S.W.A.T. (2003)
Speed
Syriana
Transporter, The
Under Siege
Underworld - Evolution
Unforgiven
X-Men 3 - The Last Stand
xXx
As you can see from the list to the right here there are already a tonne of Blu-Ray movies available on the market - thanks to Samsung's $1500-odd dedicated player which was released late last year. The list will keep growing at a rapid pace. In the coming months we will see some major releases such as: Happy Feet, Superman Returns, Pirates of the Caribbean 1 & 2, Pearl Harbour, Chicken Little, Ice Age 2: The Meltdown, Eragon and Night at the Museum to name just a few.

Now the discs do cost a bit more then most DVD's with the cheapest selling for around $28, and some premium titles just over $40. As with DVD though these prices are bound to come down over time as the economics of large scale manufacturing come into play. At the moment Blu-Ray is a very niche product and the movie studios need to cover the costs of creating the discs, passing them by the OFLC, marketing and shipping and handling of the new product. Make no mistake though, with a good high-end TV the benefits to the HD format is certainly visible on screen.

Finally we come to Region Coding: The PS3 will still use the standard region coding for DVD's, and Blu-Ray also has region coding for the movies. There is some good news. Rather then the 7 main regions as with DVD's there are only 3 regions for Blu-Ray movies. Australia is now lumped in with Europe and Africa, while America and Japan have been merged. The breakdown is as follows:

  • 1 - North America, Central America, South America, Japan, North Korea, South Korea, Taiwan, Hong Kong and Southeast Asia.
  • 2 - Europe, Greenland, French territories, Middle East, Africa, Australia and New Zealand.
  • 3 - India, Nepal, Mainland China, Russia, Central and South Asia.

At the very least. If you plan on getting a PS3 in the launch window make sure you register it online - by being the first 500,000 in Europe or 20,000 in Australia you'll get a copy of Casino Royale on DVD when it is released on April 11!

HARD DRIVE BASED AUDIO AND VIDEO

To the right here is a screenshot of launching videos from a Memory Card through the XMB (Cross Media Bar). It's simple to do and the system can play back a wide range of media formats. Perhaps more importantly the system can store entire CD's which you rip to the Hard Drive meaning you no longer have to run around looking for your favourite CD's. In future we expect this music to be used in some games on the PS3.

PHOTOS

Viewing photos in a photo album is one thing, but how do you share your holiday snaps with a group of friends over without passing the book? View them on the TV of course. The Playstation 3 has an awesome way of displaying photos. Basically it splits them up by date and then throws them onto a virtual table. You can pause and view them normally, but this screen saver like way of viewing images is simply superb. One can only hope that in future Sony offers new ways to view the images.
Click here to check out PLAYSTATION 3 LAUNCH GUIDE: THE GAMES
Click here to check out PLAYSTATION 3 LAUNCH GUIDE: THE VERDICT PART 1
Click here to check out PLAYSTATION 3 LAUNCH GUIDE: THE VERDICT PART 2