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New to Blu? Buy a PS3: the most featured BD hardware available...


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#1 of 727 OFFLINE   DaViD Boulet

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Posted January 04 2008 - 10:27 AM

and the only BD player that will be updatable (for free) to "2.0" compliance, with BD-Live (web features).

The PS3 is already firmware updated for profile 1.1 (PIP) and decodes Dolby TrueHD internally. It will be updated to decode DTS-HD MA internally as well in the next few months is not sooner (info from the Sony insider).

The only thing the PS3 won't do is stream advanced audio codecs in raw bit-stream form to an external decoder as its HDMI 1.3 chipset lacks this ability (bummer). But with the internal decoding of DTS-HD MA soon to be realized, it won't be necessary since it can extract advanced audio to PCM over HDMI.

If you just want a cheap BD player and don't care about 2.0 web features, then get the new Panny 30 which will stream advanced audio over HDMI 1.3 and is 1.1 compliant (PIP). If you want web features, the PS3 lets you get into BD now and update it later for 2.0 compliance with the spec is ready.
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#2 of 727 OFFLINE   Ron Reda

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Posted January 05 2008 - 03:04 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by DaViD Boulet
It will be updated to decode DTS-HD MA internally as well in the next few months is not sooner (info from the Sony insider).

David,

I really hope your source/insider is reliable because this would be excellent news. I know that this has been a sore subject for a lot of PS3 owners. I personally don't care and have been enjoying my PS3 since I got it. In fact, I liked it so much that in addition to having one in the family room (our main TV), I bought one for my dedicated HT room as I just couldn't stand not being able to watch Blu-Rays on my 7.2 system. The second one is the bare bones PS3, yet I got it with a game, a Blu-Ray remote, Spiderman 3 in the box and 5 free Blu-Ray movies by mail all for $400...a great deal IMO! Posted Image
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#3 of 727 OFFLINE   DaViD Boulet

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Posted January 05 2008 - 04:39 AM

There's no doubt. DTS-HD MA decoding is on the way. "Early 2008" was stated, and January-Feb is the expected time-frame based on the larger conversation (but if it comes in March, it's still coming).

Sony's delay is likely more about letting other stand-alone BD player manufacturers get their DTS-HD MA decoding gear on the store shelves first... for bragging rights. Since the PS3 is basically the swiss-army-knife of Blu-ray Disc players, Sony sometimes intentionally lets it take a back-seat for a time to give other manufactures a chance to distinguish their products.

For instance, it was *after* the Panny 30 went for sale with profile 1.1 that Sony finally released the profile 1.1 update for the PS3.

Oh, the same source told us that was coming as well. He's been right every step of the way since the PS3 went to market.
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#4 of 727 OFFLINE   Bleddyn Williams

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Posted January 05 2008 - 05:45 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by DaViD Boulet
The PS3 is already firmware updated for profile 1.1 (PIP) and decodes Dolby TrueHD internally. It will be updated to decode DTS-HD MA internally as well in the next few months is not sooner (info from the Sony insider).

The only thing the PS3 won't do is stream advanced audio codecs in raw bit-stream form to an external decoder as its HDMI 1.3 chipset lacks this ability (bummer). But with the internal decoding of DTS-HD MA soon to be realized, it won't be necessary since it can extract advanced audio to PCM over HDMI.

David, I don't know too much about these advanced formats. I'm planning on buying an HDMI-capable receiver this year, probably an Onkyo such as the 605 which has the advanced audio capabilities already onboard.

Are you saying that with my PS3 I would have to bypass the amplifier's capabilities and rely on the PS3 to turn TrueHD & DTS MA into PCM for output?

If that's right, how would that sound as opposed to sending the unconverted signal to the amp for decoding?

#5 of 727 OFFLINE   Norman Matthews

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Posted January 05 2008 - 05:47 AM

I asked this in the Warner thread, but no one seems to want to offer a guess: David, if I'm looking to buy a 2.0 player for around 250 bucks, how long do you think I'll be waiting?

#6 of 727 OFFLINE   DaViD Boulet

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Posted January 05 2008 - 05:55 AM

Norman,

the problem isn't your price. It's the 2.0 spec: there are no 2.0 players yet... it's still probably a few more months before we get it. Yes, no argument for me that this is pretty lame considering how long BD has been on the market, especially since HD DVD had it working day-one.

HOWEVER,

my point with the original post was that the PS3 *will* be 2.0 compliant with an update. So it's a "safe buy" now because it already does profile 1.1 and *will* do profile 2.0 (web interactivity). I'm not sure what the cheapest price of a PS3 is, but it's probably a little above your $250... but still close enough to warrant consideration.

Quote:
Are you saying that with my PS3 I would have to bypass the amplifier's capabilities and rely on the PS3 to turn TrueHD & DTS MA into PCM for output?

If that's right, how would that sound as opposed to sending the unconverted signal to the amp for decoding?

Yes, that's exactly what I mean. The PS3 has to do the "extraction" of both TrueHD and (soon) DTS-HD MA to PCM for passing over HDMI.

In theory they should both sound the same since it's getting turned into PCM by one device or another. But in practice it's possible that some variables *could* affect the sound depending on where it happens. For instance, jitter might affect PCM over HDMI differently than bitstreamed compressed audio data. It's also possible that dialog normalization and other "features" of TrueHD, or some sort of additional processing, could be applied in one case but not the other (or applied differently) depending on your gear and set-up.

Since I can only decode to PCM and hear it that way I can't compare myself. But I can say that the decoded 5.1 24/96 TrueHD on the David Matthews BD (sent as PCM over HDMI to my Marantz) was beyond belief.

BTW, I bought a Marantz 8002 with HDMI 1.3 and built-in decoding of TrueHD and DTS-HD MA so I could keep my options open in the future: the PS3 is not the last BD player I'll ever own and I'd like to hear it both ways and decide what I like better with my next player (bitstream versus extraced PCM). I would encourage ANYONE buying a new audio receiver to do the same: don't get ANYTHING that doesn't have HDMI 1.3 *and* internal advanced audio decoding. Keep your options open... you might have that receiver for a long time (had my last one for over 5 years) and you want to make sure it can accept and decode these new formats to ensure that you're not going to miss anything going forward.
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#7 of 727 OFFLINE   Norman Matthews

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Posted January 05 2008 - 06:00 AM

Thanks, David. My main problem with picking up a PS3 is temptation. I buy too many movies and games as it is. Right now, it's easy to not pick up PS3 games, since I don't have a PS3, and the same would be true if I went Blu-Ray standalone. But the minute I picked up a PS3 for Blu-Ray playback, the temptation to pick up some of the PS3-exclusive games starts. And it's something that objectively I know I just don't need.

Plus, I always planned to upgrade my Xbox 360 add-on to a standalone HD DVD player, and I'm sure I'd start thinking the same thing about my PS3 almost immediately. There's just no way I can't think of a game console as a temporary solution for movie-viewing.

#8 of 727 OFFLINE   DaViD Boulet

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Posted January 05 2008 - 06:06 AM

Quote:
Thanks, David. My main problem with picking up a PS3 is temptation. I buy too many movies and games as it is. Right now, it's easy to not pick up PS3 games, since I don't have a PS3, and the same would be true if I went Blu-Ray standalone. But the minute I picked up a PS3 for Blu-Ray playback, the temptation to pick up some of the PS3-exclusive games starts. And it's something that objectively I know I just don't need.

Hah!

Can't help you there. Posted Image

Funny because I've had the PS3 since since it was first release and I have yet to buy a SINGLE game!

BTW, unlike the 360 add-on, the PS3 is a true "stand alone" BD player... a single-box solution just with gaming capability (the only "gaming" aspect for BD movie watchers is the unorthodox shape and increased fan-noise to cool the cell processor versus a "regular" BD player). It cues up and plays a BD movie or DVD when you insert, has full HDMI for video and audio with no hic-ups, has the fastest load-time of any BD player on the market, great DVD upscaling, and has an optional blue-tooth remote for those who don't want to use the game controler for movie use. All of this means that it's as easy, straight-forward, and high-performance as a regular BD player (ie, the significant other can use it while you're not around without calling you for instructions).
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#9 of 727 OFFLINE   Norman Matthews

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Posted January 05 2008 - 06:13 AM

Well, I have to say, my 360 add-on is simpler to use than any standalone media player of any type I've ever owned, particularly for anyone even marginally familiar with the 360's interface. Plus, any disc inserted while the unit is already on boots up immediately, and it did come with a great remote.

Ha, I'm finding I need to keep myself from talking about the add-on in the past tense.

Okay, next question: As someone who did own a PS2 and still has a few of those games laying around, if I think I might ever want to pop one of those games in, I need to stay away from the 40 gig PS3, right? Any other differences between the models I should be aware of?

#10 of 727 OFFLINE   DaViD Boulet

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Posted January 05 2008 - 06:17 AM

Quote:
Well, I have to say, my 360 add-on is simpler to use than any standalone media player of any type I've ever owned, particularly for anyone even marginally familiar with the 360's interface. Plus, any disc inserted while the unit is already on boots up immediately, and it did come with a great remote.

Good to hear (never had a 360 add-on so don't know first hand). BTW did that version of the add-on have HDMI or just component video... or did that depend on the game console version it connected to?
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#11 of 727 OFFLINE   Norman Matthews

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Posted January 05 2008 - 06:22 AM

It all depends on the console it's connected to. Having a first-gen 360 (and never a problem of any type, RROD or otherwise, knock on wood), I've got mine running through the VGA connection.

Any input on the differences between the PS3 SKUs?

#12 of 727 OFFLINE   Zack Gibbs

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Posted January 05 2008 - 06:27 AM

I accidentally turned Patrick Sun's Blu-ray player prices thread into a PS3 discussion because of this, lol. (sorry, I didn't mean to really)

So many people seemingly can't get past it being able to play games, and that's just ludicrous. This isn't the poor DVD playback of the ps2 and Xbox, PS3 was designed from the ground up to play back Blu-ray flawlessly, to be a complete multimedia powerhouse.

Not mentioned so far is that it comes with built in wireless networking. How many times have we heard people complain they don't have an ethernet cable going to their HT system? With the PS3 you don't need one. With that connection you get free access to the playstation network which is lite but still fun. You can easily download the latest movie trailers and HD blu-ray trailers to the hard disk, very cool and home theater centric.

The PS3 can also play tons of media thrown at it. It has excellent DVD upscaling, can play raw Divx/Xvid/h.263 videos. It can stream video and music wirelessly from your home computer. The PS3 helps cure cancer (not a joke) and you can browse the internet if you want.

And home theater enthusiasts are in the unique, once in a life time chance to get all this, with no drawback what-so-ever, for the amazing price of $400. Not because Sony is trying to sell it to you as a media devise, but because they're trying to sell it to the gamers and are doing it at a HUGE loss. If this thing didn't play video games...it would cost twice as much.

Oh, but it does play video games as well, so I'll pass?

Edit: Norman currently all PS3's can output via HDMI/Component/on down the list. Whatever you need.
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#13 of 727 OFFLINE   Adam Gregorich

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Posted January 05 2008 - 06:29 AM

David-
The add-on connects to the console via USB, so it depends if the console has HDMI or not. I also second what you said about the PS3, exept it doesn't work for me becase of the bluetooth remote. I do like the new Panasonic, but the PS3 have the edge because of it's ethernet port. I hope that we will see some under $500 BD Live players at CES this year.

Sony: There are so many PS3 SKUs, how about adding one with IR or ethernet control of all functions, or coming up with a graceful IR solution that allows full control (including power)!

#14 of 727 OFFLINE   Norman Matthews

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Posted January 05 2008 - 06:32 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Zack Gibbs
Edit: Norman currently all PS3's can output via HDMI/Component/on down the list. Whatever you need.
Do I have any concerns with backwards compatability with any of the PD3s, or am I misremembering something I heard?

#15 of 727 OFFLINE   Zack Gibbs

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Posted January 05 2008 - 06:40 AM

Backward compatibility with Playstation games? From what I understand the 40gig PS3 can't play PS2 games. Apparently it needed a separate processor or something to do so and they took it out to drop pricing. I don't own any PS2 (or PS3) games so I couldn't comment further.
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#16 of 727 OFFLINE   Edwin-S

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Posted January 05 2008 - 07:05 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Norman Matthews
Do I have any concerns with backwards compatability with any of the PD3s, or am I misremembering something I heard?

From what I understand, the 20 and 60 gig PS3s have the best backwards compatability with PS2 games, due to having the actual PS2 processor built in.

European PS3s had the PS2 hardware dropped to bring down costs. An emulator was used to provide more limited BC.

The 80 gig PS3 is apparently about 80% BC with PS2 games. I suspect that they are using a software emulator in the machine.

The 40 gig PS3 has zero BC with PS2 games. No hardware and no software emulator. It looks like there are no plans to provide a software emulator, and some are saying that hardware changes make a software solution impossible.
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#17 of 727 OFFLINE   DaViD Boulet

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Posted January 05 2008 - 07:44 AM

Quote:
The add-on connects to the console via USB, so it depends if the console has HDMI or not. I also second what you said about the PS3, exept it doesn't work for me becase of the bluetooth remote. I do like the new Panasonic, but the PS3 have the edge because of it's ethernet port. I hope that we will see some under $500 BD Live players at CES this year.

The downside of the bluetooth remote is you can't program it into a universal remote controller.

Hey, I forgot about CES. Posted Image You're right... let's hope for some annoucement of 2.0 BD-live hardware. Anyone thinking about jumping on a PS3 for movie-only use should hang-tight to see what comes out of CES. If no 2.0 players are announced at a reasonable price or for a reasonable time-frame, the PS3 is your best choice (if the bluetooth remote won't present a problem integrating it into your system).
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#18 of 727 OFFLINE   Shane Martin

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Posted January 05 2008 - 08:18 AM

Quote:
Any input on the differences between the PS3 SKUs?
The 20 gig lacks wifi and the memory card reader. It has hardware backwards compaitibility
The 40 gig lacks the memory card reader but has wifi. it has no backwards compatibility
The 60 gig has both. Full backwards compatibilty(for the most part) via hardware.
The 80 gig has everything in the 60 but does backward compatibilty via software.

Keep in mind when I say "for the most part", it's limited on the games just like how the 360 doesn't play all old xbox titles.

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#19 of 727 OFFLINE   Norman Matthews

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Posted January 05 2008 - 08:43 AM

Thanks a bunch, Shane (and Edwin and Zack). That's exactly what I was looking for.

Now, one last question (I promise): When it comes to hardware vs. software emulation, with the exception of the hardware solution working with more games, as Edwin said, is there any difference functionally? Or, as the user, do I have no reason to care one way or the other how the compatibility is achieved?

#20 of 727 OFFLINE   Romier S

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Posted January 05 2008 - 10:08 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Shane Martin
The 40 gig lacks the memory card reader but has wifi. it has no backwards compatibility
It has no compatability with PS2 games but it most certainly features compatibility with original PSX titles.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Shane Martin
Keep in mind when I say "for the most part", it's limited on the games just like how the 360 doesn't play all old xbox titles.
The 20GB and the 60GB feature identical hardware backwards compatibility. They have the same processors and are able to run the same exact games near flawlessly. That's outside of a few titles here and there of course but then even the PS2 didn't feature 100% BC with PSX gamesPosted Image.

Only the 80GB features a combination of hardware/software BC which features similiar issues to the Xbox 360 in how it runs its titles You'll likely see games with glitches, lockups and and far less than 100% compatibility. More along the lines of 65-70% of your games will work but Sony has done a good job of updating backwards compatibilty with each firmware update for the system. So that's worth keeping in mind.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Norman Matthews
is there any difference functionally? Or, as the user, do I have no reason to care one way or the other how the compatibility is achieved?
If you plan to do a good amount of Playstation/Playstation 2 on your PS3 you without question want full hardware backwards compatibility. A 20GB or 60GB is what you want to try and attain Norman.


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