Update: The 2.10 firmware being released on December 19 will officially add Profile 1.1, so this rumor turns out to be true!
Sony VP of Advanced Technologies Don Eklund spoke at yesterday’s HDTV DisplaySearch conference in Universal City, California. During the panel discussion, Eklund mentioned that the Playstation 3 will be receiving a firmware update that will enhance Blu-Ray interactivity. He didn’t go much beyond that, not giving a release date or even details about what would be added.
It looks like the firmware update will add at least some components of Blu-Ray Disc Profile 1.1, which all new Blu-Ray players are mandated to include if introduced after the end of this month. With Profile 1.1, players will be able to make use of onboard memory (minimum 256MB is required) to store audio/video data and title updates. Profile 1.1 also adds secondary video and audio decoders for Picture-in-Picture viewing and interactive audio commentary.
The PS3 obviously has the hardware to do all this, so it’s not too much of a stretch for it to be updated via firmware. What will be surprising is if this happens right when Profile 1.1 is mandated on November 1. If that happens, the Playstation 3 will be the only Profile 1.1 player for quite some time; the only other announced players as of now are Denon’s Blu-Ray players that have MSRP’s in the $1200-2000 range, scheduled to be released in Q1 2008.
According to the latest version of PlayStation.com’s User Agreement, a new firmware version 2.0 will go live at the end of this month.
This firmware update should solidify Playstation 3’s excellence as a home theatre and media solution. Unfortunately, it’s still not quite there as a gaming solution (and getting worse, as they further kill backwards compatibility with every new model they release).