PS3 may upscale DVDs soon

Written by Brett Thomas

March 5, 2007 // 10:24 a.m.

Tags: #blu-raysony #dvd #ps3 #upscale

The PS3 has been wave upon wave of bad press for Sony. Let's be realistic - the launch didn't go well, we all know it and there's no hiding the fact that Europe is now really getting the shaft. So, here's something that you PS3 pre-buyers (or owners in the US and elsewhere) may like to hear - the PS3 may soon upscale DVDs for you. Maybe.

Yep, some actual good news. Sony has dropped some hints that an upcoming firmware upgrade might make that Cell processor do a lot more than just knock out the fat and empty your wallet. There is more than enough power to use software upscaling for video that is DVD or lower quality, which would make the PS3 a much better deal than you may have bargained for.

Most players out on the market that play high-definition content will play the HD stuff at its resolution and DVD at its native resolution. The PS3 will now allow you to be playing BD at its resolution or DVD at nearly the same resolution - meaning you don't have to be tired of watching "standard def" for all of your current movie collection.

Of course, the news arises from an interview with Phil Harrison of Sony Worldwide Studios and may unfortunately be being a little to literally translated. The direct quote, which dealt largely with consumer confidence, was this:

"There is a cultural thing about our approach in Japan that has to change. Our approach in Japan is, 'Once it's perfect, we'll share it with everybody else.' Whereas I think in order to engender trust in our users, we have to share some things that might be not quite perfect, but are ready to give you an indication of what's coming. So we could say, 'You know, we're not sure when it's coming, but we're going to have DVD upscaling on Playstation 3.' There you go. There's a scoop for you.”

Nobody is totally sure whether Harrison is being serious, but if so it would likely greatly increase the PS3 sales potential. A huge part of the cost of the unit has been attributed to it being a Blu-Ray disc player, and Sony has pitched it as a focal point of the high-def living room. Upscaling DVDs would certainly be more than a "little" move toward this, since currently only Home Theatre PCs perform this function well. Though upscaling players are avaliable commercially, most are either very expensive or do a poor job.

If the company isn't just blowing smoke, would it be enough to interest you? What if it is just another Sony fairy-tale, an idea picked from Harrison's mind at random? Let us know your thoughts in our forums.

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