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Update To Bring BD-Live To PS3

Foster City, Calif. — PlayStation 3 owners got a special bonus Thursday after Sony revealed that a new firmware update (version 2.20) for the console coming as a download this month will make the player compatible with forthcoming Web-enabled features and content — called BD-Live (Blu-ray Disc Profile 2.0) — on select Blu-ray Disc HD movie titles.

The firmware (2.20) update includes Blu-ray Disc Profile 2.0 (BD-Live) capability as well as other features to enhance the PS3’s interoperability with PlayStation Portable (PSP) players, Sony said.

Blu-ray Disc Profile 2.0 (BD-Live) enables users to experience interactive features, such as downloadable video content, ringtones, games and more. Other functions include such future capabilities as Portable Copy for the PSP, which will give users the ability to transfer a standard-definition version of select Blu-ray Disc movies from the PS3 to a PSP, for movie playback on the go.

Sony said expanded PS3/PSP interoperability will include the ability to transfer music and photo playlists from the PS3 to a PSP and the use of the PSP as a remote control for music played through the PSP in a new Remote Play setting.

To copy a playlist, a PSP and PS3 must first be connected with a USB cable, and the PSP must be in USB mode. Then, on PS3, select “Copy” in the option menu of each music or photo playlist, and choose PSP as the destination. The playlist order, and the songs or photos themselves, will then be accessible on the PSP’s Memory Stick PRO Duo.

Other features in the update include:

• “Resume play,” which will enable the PS3 system to start playing a Blu-ray Disc and DVD at the point it was stopped, even if the disc had been removed.

• A PS3 system browser enhancement will enable playing back streamed-video files directly from a link on a Web page, and the browser’s view speed will be improved.

• DivX and WMV format videos larger than 2GB will be playable.

• “Mosquito Noise Reduction” will be added as an A/V setting in the control panel of the DVD/BD player for improved movie playback.

To take advantage of the BD Profile 2.0 features, an Internet connection is required. Although Profile 2.0 also requires players to have at least 1GB of local storage memory, Sony said the PlayStation 3 addresses this using its internal hard drive.

The following features have all been demonstrated as possibilities with BD-Live and will vary by movie title.

• A variety of downloadable content can be offered, including bonus scenes, shorts, trailers, subtitles, ringtones that can be sent to mobile phones, images and more.

• Interactive movie-based games can pit players who are sitting in the same room, or are across the world and online, against each other.

Sony Pictures Home Entertainment (SPHE) announced its first two BD-Live-enabled titles will be released on April 8 — “Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story” and “The 6th Day.” Both titles will include exclusive downloadable content that goes beyond what is available on the actual Blu-ray Discs, Sony said.