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The new PlayStation Store is faster and easier to navigate  (Source: SCEA)
PlayStation Store vastly improved, PS3 now and even better Blu-ray Disc player

As promised by Sony late last month, the PlayStation Store revamp is now here. PlayStation 3 users who check for a network update will find that firmware version 2.30 is available.

For gamers, the most immediately appreciable improvement in the new software is support for the redesigned PlayStation Store, which drops its web browser foundation in favor of a locally viewable but still online required version. The result of this change is much quicker browsing speeds, which are now more comparable to Xbox Live Marketplace rather than a slow website. A video walkthrough of the new store is available on the official PlayStation Blog.

Early PS3 owners who installed the update reported that the store would occasionally fail to load images, instead displaying only a “missing image” placeholder. Some have been able to fix the problem by clearing the PS3 web browser cache, though various loading errors on the store could be due to the PlayStation Network’s heavy strain from the masses of updates.

The PlayStation Store accessible via the PC and PSP also sport a new look, though the changes appear to be cosmetic and do not behave the same as the PlayStation 3 version.

For high-definition movie enthusiasts, the 2.30 firmware also brings with it the much anticipated DTS-HD Master Audio support for the console’s Blu-ray Disc playback feature. Like PCM and Dolby TrueHD, DTS-HD MA can deliver audio presentation that is bit-for-bit identical to the original studio master.

“PS3 was designed to enable delivery of new and improved technologies like DTS-HD Master Audio,” said Teiji Yutaka, SVP of Software Platform Development at SCE. “So we are delighted to be able to offer this capability to PS3 users.”

The 2.30 firmware update is now available from the PlayStation 3 update function, or as a direct download to PC from PlayStation Japan.



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although....
By aeroxander on 4/15/2008 9:11:58 AM , Rating: -1
You'll need a receiver that will support DTS-MA.

Is it just me or have receivers been slow to adopt HDMI and DD HD and DTS-MA?

Seems like 1080p LCD's have become reasonable in price but to get a receiver that will properly handle HDMI and HD audio formats are still expensive.

I may be a bit disgruntled because I got a pass through HDMI receiver. Never really understood the point in that.




RE: although....
By HotdogIT on 4/15/2008 9:25:48 AM , Rating: 3
It doesn't output DTS-MA (or TrueHD, for that matter) as bitstream, it outputs it as LPCM over HDMI, so the receiver doesn't have to actually support either format explicitly.


RE: although....
By mmntech on 4/15/08, Rating: 0
RE: although....
By omnicronx on 4/15/2008 9:57:40 AM , Rating: 3
quote:
Most people don't care about having lossless audio.
I would say a hell of alot more people don't know what lossless audio is, and what the benefits are. My friends parents just unloaded 6000k on a TV, BD and receiver, and I laughed at them when I saw the receiver the sony store guy had picked out for them. I got them to return it, and get an entry level 661 yamaha instead, they were blown away by the difference, and they are far from audiophiles.
quote:
but it's downgraded to 1500kb/s (I think) at 96khz and 24-bit. That's roughly SACD/DVD-A quality, which is still pretty good.
SACD AND DVD-A are lossless formats, they are comparable with LPCM, TrueHD and DTS-MA, not 1.5Mbps DTS. SACD, in 2 channel mode at max is 192khz/24bit, which believe me far surpasses any recordable format you can buy ;) DTS is still lossy, even though the master is 96/24 (max), its still a compressed codec, and is lower quality audio than any of the new formats.


RE: although....
By rninneman on 4/15/2008 10:10:46 AM , Rating: 2
SACD uses Direct Stream Digital (DSD) which is a Pulse Width Modulation format (PWM) not PCM like CD and DVD-A. It is encoded with a 2.8224MHz sampling rate (44.1KHz x 64) and a 1 bit resolution.


RE: although....
By omnicronx on 4/15/2008 10:45:57 AM , Rating: 2
please read my post below ;)


RE: although....
By MrTeal on 4/15/2008 10:14:20 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
SACD, in 2 channel mode at max is 192khz/24bit, which believe me far surpasses any recordable format you can buy ;)


That's incorrect. SACD uses 1-bit DSD, but a sampling rate of 2.8 megahertz. Might you be mixing it up with stereo DVDA, which maxes out at 192/24?

DVD-A and SACD players are still vastly superior to most common HT receivers though. The analog circuitry in many inexpensive receivers leaves a lot to be desired.


RE: although....
By omnicronx on 4/15/2008 10:36:16 AM , Rating: 2
I did not want to get into the great details of DSD, but the approximate equivilent to PCM is 192khz.. and 20-24bit.. Which is far closer to be on par with TrueHD,DTS-MA and LPCM, than it is too DTS1.5Mbps. Infact some may argue that SACD sounds better than LPCM. (depending on what you listen for, SACD does not do too well with dynamic range at higher frequencies, but it is not effected by the reconstruction filters used in PCM which can result in ringing effects)

quote:
Because of the nature of sigma-delta converters, one cannot make a direct comparison between DSD and PCM. An approximation is possible, though, and would place DSD in some aspects comparable to a PCM format that has a bit depth of 20 bits and a sampling frequency of 192 kHz. PCM sampled at 24 bits provides a (theoretical) additional 24 dB of dynamic range. Due to the effects of quantization noise, the usable bandwidth of the SACD format is approximately 100 kHz, which is similar to 192 kHz PCM.


RE: although....
By omnicronx on 4/15/2008 10:45:30 AM , Rating: 2
Ps.. Unknown to most, even the best D/A (digital to analogue) converters can only reproduce around 18 to 19 bits of resolutin. So in reality comparing 20 to 24 bits when 5-6 bits are being lost in noise, the difference is negligable. Also SACD's method of using 1 bit at a high sample rate, can give it an effective SNR of up to 120db.. much higher than DVD-A and PCM. This is the reason most audiophiles prefer SACD over DVD-A, even though looking at the specs, DVD-A/PCM seems better.


RE: although....
By Flunk on 4/15/2008 10:54:50 AM , Rating: 2
P.S. 99% of people don't care and can't tell a difference between an SACD and an MP3 at 192kbps.


RE: although....
By omnicronx on 4/15/2008 11:08:42 AM , Rating: 5
quote:
P.S. 99% of people don't care and can't tell a difference between an SACD and an MP3 at 192kbps.

Sure when listening through headphones. My grandma can tell the difference between an mp3 and an SACD when played through the right equipement. Anyone who listens to jazz, classical or pretty much non noise infested audio knows what I am talking about.

If you think you can listen to the latest album of 50cent and notice the difference, then you are right, you probably won't be able to tell. This is mostly due to the fact that audio like rap barely uses the high end of the sound spectrum, something MP3s or any lossy codec for that matter fail to be good at.

Then again, this is the same reason that you can put a sub in any car with speakers and have it sound alright, as long as you are listening to bass infested tracks ;)

p.s People are starting to care, hell if you can't tell the difference between SACD and an 192mp3 than those same people should not be able to tell the difference between an 128 and a 192kbps mp3 then right? Well that does not seem to be the case, as the demand for 192kbps audio is slowly rising, as people start to use the mp3 players on external devices.


RE: although....
By Aaron M on 4/15/2008 1:21:44 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Sure when listening through headphones.

Delete that first sentence, and the rest of your post is fine. You seem to be fairly knowledgeable about the subject at hand, so I'm sure that, upon further reflection, you would realize that a good pair of headphones are quite hi-fi. The only thing headphones can't compete with speakers in, is bass.


RE: although....
By afkrotch on 4/15/2008 2:35:40 PM , Rating: 1
Headphones have speakers.


RE: although....
By omnicronx on 4/15/2008 4:00:20 PM , Rating: 2
Headphones have drivers.


RE: although....
By jimbojimbo on 4/15/2008 2:45:32 PM , Rating: 2
The demand for 192kbps mp3s over 128kbps came up mostly due to cheaper storage. 128kbps was the standard 10 years ago because it was a compromise between space/songs. These days storage is so cheap everyone can afford to up the bitrate some.


RE: although....
By omnicronx on 4/15/2008 3:44:52 PM , Rating: 2
192kbps CBR has been the standard since at least 1999 for group releases(i would know :) i was in a group). Then came 192VBR, and finally 256VBR although many people still use 192VBR as it is believed anything higher is negligeable because of the way mp3s are encoded.

Apple, and Apple alone chose to use 128kbps as their standard, it was not a choice of the consumer. Even the average listener can tell the difference between 128 and 192, as it has that compressed 'tiny' sound, that resembles a bad echo. Another reason that Apple could care less is because unless you tell itunes not too, it converts all your files to 128 AAC files, which is only equivilent to an mp3 around 160kpbs. Space was an issue, but it was more of an Apple ipod space issue than anything, most people at the time had no problem with HD space, especially with the slow download times of the day, and the limited access to mp3s.(napster had just come out)

ps.. 128CBR is not the same as 128VBR, Variable Bit Rate uses an increased bitrate when the encoder thinks it is required, and lowers the bitrate during whitespace and other situations where the full bitrate is not required. This is an over simplification of course, but it gets the point across.

As for headphones, everyone is right, I should not be bashing headphones ;) My bose quietcomfort headphones seem to have better sound than my home theatre system. I was just making a generalization because most people that use mp3 players, merely use the headphones that came with their player ;)


RE: although....
By Trippytiger on 4/15/2008 5:58:07 PM , Rating: 2
You can do a lot better than those Bose 'phones, too. :)


RE: although....
By omnicronx on 4/16/2008 2:01:12 PM , Rating: 2
Sure can ;)
My dad has a pair of Grado's, I almost bust a nut everytime I put them on.


RE: although....
By MrTeal on 4/15/2008 11:41:08 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
Ps.. Unknown to most, even the best D/A (digital to analogue) converters can only reproduce around 18 to 19 bits of resolutin. So in reality comparing 20 to 24 bits when 5-6 bits are being lost in noise, the difference is negligable. Also SACD's method of using 1 bit at a high sample rate, can give it an effective SNR of up to 120db.. much higher than DVD-A and PCM. This is the reason most audiophiles prefer SACD over DVD-A, even though looking at the specs, DVD-A/PCM seems better.


There's a lot more to a good DAC than just the word size. In fact, most high quality audio DAC chips that accept 24bit words are actually of the sigma delta type, so internally they use the same 1-bit analog reconstruction that SACD does. The big problem with cheaper gear is in the rest of the analog stage. Cheap filters after the DAC, and poor choice and implementation of op amp circuits can make a big difference. So can the crummy power supplies used in most commercial equipment.

Properly implemented, you will be able to measure the difference between a 20 and 24 bit DAC. The engineer just has to spend the time and money to lower the noise floor to the point where it swamps the LSB, but it can be done.


RE: although....
By MrTeal on 4/15/2008 11:44:13 AM , Rating: 2
:P Obviously, the last sentence should read
lower the noise floor to the point where it doesn't swamp the LSB


RE: although....
By rninneman on 4/15/2008 12:01:56 PM , Rating: 2
Way to quote Wikipedia; the section you pulled that from is completely uncited.

Comparisons between DSD and 192/24 PCM are common because that is the best DVD-A has to offer. There is far too much that goes into the nuances of either format to discuss here, but suffice it to say that you shouldn't believe that Wiki article is the authority on the subject. For example, 24 bit quantization does not automatically give something 24dB additional dynamic range. The DVD forum happened to set DVD-Audio's dynamic range at 144dB whereas Sony and Philips set the dynamic range of SACD at 120dB. 24 bits just allows finer steps within the dynamic range although it can also be utilized to extend the dynamic range while maintaining resolution. The 100KHz limit was artificially put in place by Sony and Philips to simplify the filter requirements of SACD players. However, it has been mathmatically proven that DSD can be less accurate than PCM in some situations.


RE: although....
By omnicronx on 4/15/2008 1:29:40 PM , Rating: 2
ok? 192/24 PCM is still roughly equivilent to 192/20-24 DSD, regardless of where my source comes from. I can get some others if you would like. Also unless you are trying to let your dogs and pet bats hear every single detail, human hearing is limited to a dynamic range of about 120db.. probably not a coincidence either.. p.s doing the math I can figure out that 9600 and 20 bit = around 120db dynamic range(we know the dynamic range value), I don't need wiki for that ;) (just as 9600 and 24 bit is the equivilent to 144 dr)

Regardless both formats are great, DVD-A being better for rock music and SACD better for jazz and classical. Either choice is much better than listening to a lossy DTS or DD track.


RE: although....
By rninneman on 4/16/2008 5:13:30 PM , Rating: 2
Wtf are you talking about? I thought we already established that DSD is 2.88224MHz/1 bit. You also have no idea what you are talking about with respect quantization and dynamic range. Dynamic range can be increased because of the additional resolution, not the other way around. For example, I'll use a separate but relevant example. Recently many video products began offering support for the xvYCC color space which is roughly twice the size of the sRGB/BT.601/BT.709 color spaces used up until now. The color space is the video dynamic range if you will. If the same 24 bits are used to reproduce xvYCC, posterization can occur which is why 30, 36 and 48 bit color are often supported to mitigate this problem. One can be implemented without the other, it's just not ideal. You need to read up on signal sampling. Someone else had to correct you in another post about whether there is any difference between a 20bit and 24bit DAC. Maybe not on your $400 Onkyo, but yes, when properly designed, a 24 bit DAC will have more resolution than a 20 bit DAC.

What makes DVD-Audio better for rock and SACD for classical and jazz? They can both reproduce either with stunning accuracy. More rock came out on DVD-A and more classical and jazz came out on SACD because of the way they were marketed, not because of each formats underlying technology.


RE: although....
By DingieM on 4/15/2008 10:36:13 AM , Rating: 2
I am one of those guys, a lucky owner of Technics SA-AX7 and kick-ass German quality built Magnat speakers (fronts are 1 meter high :-)). No way I gonna replace it with a flaky "modern" receiver that happens to have HDMI inputs. Only full digital (expensive) receivers will surpass the signal-to-noise ratio but I do not want to invest needlessly in a new receiver.
Who cares when the cable-clutter isn't noticable when all cables are stuffed at the rear of the equipment?

I have to rely on the DACs inside the stand-alone players that have built-in DTS-MA/HD and Dolby TrueHD decoders. In case of the Panasonics they sound terrific but still at around 400 euro's (and equivalent amount of dollars, roughly) still too steep in price. Hope them to drop below 300 at the end of this year when I will let myself purchase something of that value. I have a tightly controlled budget this year (god damn taxes)...


RE: although....
By omnicronx on 4/15/2008 9:33:53 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
You'll need a receiver that will support DTS-MA.
No.. you need a receiver that supports Multichannel PCM. The PS3 does not support bitstream audio transfers for the new high def codecs. All streams are processed on the ps3 to LPCM before being output to your receiver. Many HDMI 1.1 receivers do this, and almost all 1.2a+ receivers do this.

As for passthrough, its only meant so that you can connect more than one HDMI device to your receiver(also for those that want all devices controlled through the receiver), especially since earlier TV's only had 1 HDMI port. I would never use it, but i know people that do ;)


RE: although....
By Scott66 on 4/15/2008 9:54:11 AM , Rating: 2
Onkyo TX-SR605 A/V Receiver for under $400 does what you need very well. Check it out


RE: although....
By PrasVT on 4/15/2008 5:27:42 PM , Rating: 2
Wait wait...So since the PS3 decodes the HD audio formats and sends it out as LPCM, you can use any hdmi enabled 5.1 receiver and have the audio output without any bitrate reduction? My dad and I picked up a Yamaha rx-v663 receiver for $375 (that can decode the hd formats), and we're planning to get a 2nd PS3 this week. So I guess it was kind of pointless to get a new receiver aside from having HDMI now? I guess if he wants to see DolbyTrueHD or DTS Master plastered on the receiver display, he can spend an extra $100 on the bd players that bistream out. hehe.


RE: although....
By steven975 on 4/16/2008 9:12:25 AM , Rating: 2
True, but not the whole picture.

You could look at HDMI receivers falling into 3 classes.
-Switching only
-Process LPCM, DD, DTS
-Process the above plus TrueHD, DTSHD, DD+ (and are HDMI 1.3)

A receiver from the first class will not help. The "basic" HDMI receivers today only SWITCH HDMI, they will not extract the audio. You need a receiver that can actually extract the audio from HDMI...these are not hard to find, but they won't be the cheapest ones, either.

IMO, The Onkyo 605, while having more than what is needed for a PS3, is a good choice. The TrueHD and DTS-HD decoding will set you up for the long term.

While the PS3 internally decodes everything now and puts it out as LPCM, many believe having a receiver decode a bitstream is better. Why? Well, a decoder in the player is a "one size fits all" decoder, whereas one in the receiver will be able to tailor the (eventual) PCM output to that receiver's characteristics.

Don't get me wrong...the DTS-HD decoded by the PS3 is stellar...I watched "I, Robot" yesterday and the sound blew me away. Still, I've compared bitsreamed vs internal decoding on my Toshiba XA2 and the TrueHD bitstream sounds better decoded in my 605 (not to mention with Dolby Digital Plus, the 605 can apply EX processing, but when DD+ is done in the player it can't).


RE: although....
By omnicronx on 4/16/2008 11:33:45 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
Why? Well, a decoder in the player is a "one size fits all" decoder, whereas one in the receiver will be able to tailor the (eventual) PCM output to that receiver's characteristics.
Im sorry, but you can not say that the receiver adding extra processing is neccesarily a good thing. Not only that but what do you mean by 'output to that receiver's characteristics'? Both LPCM and bitstream formats will be processed by the receivers environmental settings.
If it doesn't then its a receiver issue, not the fault of your player.

As for the extra processing, your receiver is at fault here, not your player, or LPCM. The 605 has known issues with processing, my yamaha LPCM only receiver will process DD+ just fine.


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