PS3 Slim Streams HD Audio

Are you an audio geek? Does your gaming/AV setup include a modern AV receiver capable of on-board decoding of the latest HD audio formats?  If you answered yes to those two questions then we have another reason for you to consider buying a PS3 Slim.

When playing a Blu-ray disc with either a Dolby TrueHD or DTS-HD Master Audio format soundtrack current PS3 ‘Chubs’ decode the audio bitstream internally before sending it out via HDMI in LPCM format.  This is because the PS3’s HDMI chipset, while supporting HDMI v1.3 did not support all the optional features of that standard, namely the output of the aforementioned HD audio bitstreams.

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The likely reason for this is that HDMI v1.3 specification was finalised very late in the PS3’s development, not seeing release until June 2006 which is actually after the PS3’s original intended launch date.  So while the PS3 supports the increased colour gamut and audio syncing features of HDMI v1.3, streaming of HD audio bitstreams missed the cut.

Audio Geeks Rejoice!

The PS3 Slim though contains an updated HDMI chipset which can stream both Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD Master Audio over HDMI.  This was first discovered over at Japan’s AV Watch and has since been tested by CNET who happened to have a PS3 Slim in their care.

PS3 streaming TrueHD
(Image credit: Matthew Moskovciak/CNET)

Whether anything is gained by this new feature is debatable as the LPCM format should deliver exactly the same audio quality as the two HD audio bitstreams.  There are a few AV receivers which will process the formats differently but they are very much the minority.

CNET sum up the real reason audio geeks will be interested in this when they say this new feature will most likely appeal to ‘those guys who just have to see the words “DTS-HD Master Audio” light up on their AV receiver’.

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