PS3 Firmware Interview

Our man in Japan, Ben Torode, has exclusively translated a recent interview feature with the team behind the PS3 and PSP firmware updates, just for us.  If you’d like to read more about the PS3 browser, the simultaneous PS3/PSP updates and various techy features on upscaling, read on.

SCE (Umemura), on the reason for implementing simultaneous updates for PS3 and PSP:


With respect to the PSP, enabling direct access to the PS Store was the biggest change. But doing so required support on the PS Store server-side.  While there were changes on the PS3 side as well with PlayStation Network account management and other functions were moved over to the XMB, since the same servers are used for the PSP, we wanted the changes to the PSP to coincide with those on the PS3 side (in the interests of maintaining compatibility).

SCE (Noda), on DRM for downloadable contents:

“Device Authentication” is carried out when transferring content. While this was implemented in the past when transferring from the PS3 or PC, in the case of direct access (to the store) from the PSP, this authentication is carried out on a per unit basis when downloading. This device authentication is something that authenticates the PSP unit. Therefore, even a memory stick holding this data is inserted into another unauthenticated PSP, it won’t run.

SCE (Takase) On PS3 Browser:

Even using our own benchmarks, the Java Script execution speed is 2.8 times faster than the previous version, and is of a comparable level to viewing on PCs… while it loses out to browsers such as Google Chrome that have made recent advances, we believe it is faster than regular browsers such as IE7.

The PS3’s memory has always posed problems. However, since we have supported “virtual memory” using the hard disk from Version 2.0 onwards, this has been eased to some extent. Even so, since accessing data from the HDD reduces speed, the fact that there is a struggle with memory hasn’t changed.

Playback of H.264 content from within Flash is handled through an independent process on an SPU. Processing different aspects of the web browser independently has the characteristic of making it easier to improve frame rates. While I’d stop short of saying we will eliminate all dropped frames in the future, this can be considered a strength unique to the PS3.

SCE (Takase) on Chroma Up-sampling:

Even up to now we have been doing 4:2:0-to-4:2:2 up-sampling. But we introduced features to produce an even higher quality output this time. While this will of course have some effect on HD picture quality, since HD by nature is higher quality, it will not be that noticeable. For SD, however, you will clearly see the effects of the improved picture quality.

Q: Specifically what kind of algorithm processing is being carried out?

A (Takase): When converting from 4:2:0 to 4:2:2, we carry out a kind of chroma upsampling processing that adjusts to movement in the footage. A special method unique to the PS3 is used to process the video. However, please allow me to keep the technical specifics of this undisclosed.

Q: Why can’t Blu-Ray discs recorded with the BDMV format use the chroma upsampling function?

A (Takase): If this is requested by customers we will consider supporting it, but as always, we do not intend to implement features as console functions if users cannot experience any benefits from those features.

SCE (Matsui) on future firmware updates:

In future updates, there are thoughts of raising the level of interaction, in the sense of “interactive entertainment”.  Among those ideas are enabling the PSP to cope with more processing while using computational resources on the PS3 side for areas where the PSP lacks resources, so we think that interaction between the two systems will be possible by having them successfully complement each other .

In addition, as with Life with PlayStation, we take the approach of making the PS3 something people will use from when they wake up, like switching it on to watch the news in the morning. Since we believe that there must still be many areas in with both the PS3 and PSP can be of use in people’s daily lives, we want to continue to make firmware updates with this perspective in mind.

SCE (Umemura) on the lack of ad-hoc WIFI support on the 20 GB PS3:

At present, an add-in such as a USB WIFI adapter is difficult. So for the 20GB model, there is unfortunately no solution.

Source: Watch Impress, translated exclusively for