Buyers of the "low-end" $499 model of the upcoming PlayStation
3 won't be getting an HDMI digital output, and that's
just fine with Sony
-- but not gamers, who are dismayed by the company's
plans for the Blu-Ray driven next-gen game console, reports Ars Technica.
At this week's E3 expo, currently winding down today in Los Angeles, Sony revealed
the majority of the technical and pricing details for the PlayStation 3. As
reported earlier this week, the company will introduce two console
options: a $499 20 GB model, and its pricer $599 80 GB big brother. Though
both come with a Blu-Ray drive built in, only the $599 model includes HDMI outputs;
the $499 console only features analog connectors.
Though the lack of an HDMI output on the lower-end model has been greeted by
complaints from gamers and HD enthusiasts alike at E3, yesterday Sony CEO of
Computer Entertainment Kaz Hirai defended the company's low-end PS3 model, which
also lacks a memory card reader and the larger storage capacity of its more
"The only [real] difference is HDMI -- and at this point, I don't think
many people's TV's have that," said Hirai. "The ultimate result, to
my eyes anyway, is there's not a discernible difference between what you get
between HDMI and other forms of high definition."
Hirai's comments have already drawn considerable ire from observers, who challenge
Hirai's claim. As Ars Technica points out:
That's a debatable assertion at best. Take a stroll through the
aisle of your local big box consumer electronics retailer. A good proportion—if
not an outright majority—of the HDTVs for sale there have HDMI ports.
Even if most people currently do not have HDMI-capable displays, they will at
some point. Then they will be stuck with an expensive console and Blu-ray player
without an HDMI port. And people who have just dropped two large on a big-screen
HDTV are not going to watch digital content piped in over an analog connection.
Also at issue is the Image Constraint Token (ICT), which is
built into the spec for both Blu-ray and HD DVD. If a content provider chooses
to employ ICT on a software disc, it would "down res" the output resolution
over any non-HDMI analog output, thereby degrading the image quality from high-def
to standard definition levels.
When prodded further on the issue of whether some PS3 owners thus won't be able
to watch Blu-ray movies in high-def, Hirai was "evasive," reports
Ars Technica, with the Sony exec saying that it is "too early to speculate
at this point" if Sony and other studios would decide to implement ICT
on their Blu-Ray titles.