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Blu-ray Disc downgradable for PSP viewing coming later this year

Sony demonstrated at CES 2008 a new feature that would allow a PlayStation 3 to prepare a playable movie for the PSP on Memory Stick Duo using a Blu-ray Disc movie as the source.

"This way, you can have a portable copy you can take with you," said David Bishop, president of Sony Pictures Home Entertainment, adding that this was just one of the new features coming to Blu-ray Disc. "There was always the promise of greater interactivity. You'll see that coming in the new year."

The feature will likely be on a disc-by-disc basis, as rather than having the PlayStation 3 re-encode movies for the PSP’s resolution, a PSP-specific version would be stored on the Blu-ray Disc media. This grants the original movie studios’ professional encoding artists to optimize the video for viewing on a handheld system. This also means, however, that current Blu-ray Disc movies may not be able to make the seamless transition to the PSP.

The ability to downgrade a movie to a portable resolution was first seen on Fox’s Live Free, Die Hard and Warner’s Harry Potter: The Order of the Phoenix on standard-definition DVD.

Should this feature truly become commonplace on Blu-ray Disc and DVD movies, then it makes the UMD movie format a rather hard sell. With new UMD movies priced not much cheaper than Blu-ray Disc and DVD, the added utility of having both a home theater and a portable version at one’s disposal could spell the end of the PSP-specific disc format.





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