The Play Station 3 is and will forever be regarded as the best Blu-ray player available. Say what you will of how the system compares against other game consoles, it is without a doubt the most fully featured, value-added Blu-ray player on the market. You may ask : what happens if Microsoft or Nintendo decide to adopt Blu-ray? Like Betamax and VHS battled it out for home entertainment supremacy in the 1980s, Blu-ray found itself competing with a comparable format when it first launched, known as HD DVD. Of the big game console manufacturers, Sony backed Blu-ray, Microsoft sided with HD DVD, and Nintendo stayed out of the fray with DVD. Since the demise of HD DVD, Microsoft has said that they are now committed to digitally distributed media on the Xbox 360, and the Nintendo Wii cannot technologically support a Blu-ray player in its current form. It’s unlikely that Blu-ray will find its way on to another game platform.
The Play Station 3 Overview
officially abbreviated as PS3 is the third home video game console produced by Sony Computer Entertainment and the successor to the very successful PlayStation 2 as part of the PlayStation series. The PlayStation 3 competes with Microsoft’s Xbox 360 and Nintendo’s Wii as part of the seventh generation of video game consoles. It was first released on November 11, 2006, in Japan, with international markets following shortly thereafter.
There are several original PlayStation 3 hardware models, which are commonly referred to by the size of their included hard disk drive: 20, 40, 60, 80 or 160 GB also now named fat. Although referred to by their HDD size, the capabilities of the consoles vary by region and release date. The only difference in the appearance of the first five models was the color of the trim, number of USB ports, the presence or absence of a door (which covers the flash card readers on equipped models) and some minor changes to the air vents. All retail packages include one or two Six axis controllers and/or a Dual Shock 3 controller (beginning June 12, 2008), one mini USB to USB cable (for connecting the controller and PlayStation Portable to the system), one composite video / stereo audio output cable, one Ethernet cable (20, 60 and CECHExx 80 GB only) and one power cable. All models support software emulation of the original PlayStation, but support for PlayStation 2 backward compatibility has continually diminished with later models and the last model to advertise integrated backward compatibility was the 80GB Metal Gear Solid 4 Bundle. Compatibility issues with games for both systems are detailed in a public database hosted by the manufacturer. All models, excluding the 20 GB model, include 802.11 b/g Wi-Fi. In addition to all of the features of the 20 GB model, the 60 GB model has internal IEEE 802.11 b/g Wi-Fi, multiple flash card readers (SD/MultiMedia Card, Compact Flash Type I/Type II, Microdrive, Memory Stick/PRO/Duo) and a chrome colored trim. In terms of hardware, the 80 GB model released in South Korea is identical to the 60 GB model released in the PAL regions, except for the difference in hard drive size.
Like the South Korean and European models, the North American 80 GB (2007) model also excludes the PlayStation 2 “Emotion Engine” CPU chip. However, it retains the “Graphics Synthesizer” GPU. Due to the elimination of the “Emotion Engine”, the level of compatibility was reduced. The 40 GB, 80 GB (2008) and 160 GB models have two USB ports instead of the four USB ports on other models and do not include multiple flash card readers, SACD support, or any backward compatibility with PlayStation 2 games. This was due to the removal of “Graphics Synthesizer” GPU, which stripped the units of all PlayStation 2 based hardware.
The redesigned, slimmer version of the PlayStation 3 (commonly referred to as the “PS3 Slim” and officially branded “PS3”) is currently the only model in production. It features an upgradeable 120 GB, 160 GB,250 GB or 320 GB hard drive and is 33% smaller, 36% lighter and consumes 34% (CECH-20xx) or 45% (CECH-21xx) less power than the previous model, or one third of the original PS3 model. The Cell microprocessor has moved to a 45 nm manufacturing process, which lets it run cooler and quieter than previous models, and the cooling system has been redesigned. The RSX moved to a 40 nm process in the latest revision. The PS3 slim also includes support for CEC (more commonly referred to by its manufacturer brandings of Bravia Sync, VIERA Link, EasyLink etc.) which allows control of the console over HDMI by using the TV’s remote control. The PS3 Slim no longer has the “main power” switch like the previous PS3 models, similar to redesigned PlayStation 2 slim. Support for emulation to play PS2 titles is not present in the Slim version, however shortly after the release of the PS3 slim, Sony announced a new series of PS2 remasters called Classics HD as in PS2 and PSP titles remastered in HD for the PS3 with trophies added and sometimes Playstation move compatibility.
The PS3 slim was officially released on September 1, 2009.
Removal of “OtherOS” support
Among the changes made to the slim model was the removal of the Other OS feature; the ability to install another operating system alongside the main system software. This was claimed to have been removed to focus on games and other content (new drivers etc. would have had to be written for the new hardware for use in the alternative OS), although it is possible that Sony discovered a vulnerability in the feature that would enable hacking of the console. Such a vulnerability was later found on the original (non-slim) versions by George Hotz, who created a hack that uses a combination of hardware modding and the OtherOS feature to take control of the hypervisor.
As of firmware version 3.21, installation of other OS’s is not supported on any model and the option has been removed from the XMB. The reason given by Sony was ‘disabling the “Other OS” feature will help ensure that PS3 owners will continue to have access to the broad range of gaming and entertainment content from SCE and its content partners on a more secure system.’ Sony’s main Linux developer has been reassigned, so any PS3 Linux development would have to be on his own time. This has caused some controversy as in effect Sony is removing officially advertised features and support from already sold products. This controversy has also sparked several class action lawsuits aimed at making Sony return the feature and/or to get some sort of compensation.
Firmware update 3.21 is mandatory for access to the PlayStation Network and as such many features such as online gaming and access to the PlayStation Store are unavailable to those who choose not to update.