Sony Computer Entertainment today announced a late-March launch for the latest firmware upgrade for the PlayStation 3, which will bring BD-Live and a host of additional interactive capabilities to the console.
Dubbed Firmware Upgrade Version 2.20, it will bring BD-Live (aka Profile 2.0) to the PS3, enabling users to experience interactive features such as downloadable video content, ringtones, live "interactive movie-based" multi-player online gaming and more.
Though Sony has not set an exact availability date for v2.20, it is due in "late March," which will make the PS3 the first Blu-ray player in North America to include BD-Live. (Panasonic previewed a stand-alone BD-Live Blu-ray player, the DMP-BD50, earlier this year at CES, with the unit expected to hit stores this May.)
"With Blu-ray established as the high-definition optical disc standard, more consumers are ready to jump in and take advantage of everything the format offers," said Scott A. Steinberg, vice president, product marketing, SCEA, via press release.
"Whether you want to download movie extras, send ringtones to your phone, or play interactive games, BD-LIVE will offer exciting new ways to enjoy a Blu-ray movie. With these regular firmware updates and future-proofed technology, SCEA is making the 10-year lifecycle of PS3 possible."
To inaugurate the release of the PS3's BD-Live upgrade, Sony Pictures Home Entertainment has also announced the addition of exclusive BD-Live content to the upcoming Blu-ray releases of 'Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story' and 'The 6th Day.' Exact details on the additional BD-Live features have not yet been specified, but we'll keep you posted. (Note that these two titles are not the first BD-Live-enabled Blu-rays to be released, however, with Lionsgate's 'War' and 'Saw IV' having hit stores earlier this year with BD-Live features already on the discs.)
The full list of Firmware Update 2.20's announced features are as follows:
- BD-Live (Profile v2.0) Upgrade
- "Resume play" will enable PS3 system to start playing a Blu-ray disc and DVD at the point it was stopped, even if the disc had been removed (BD-J format not supported)
- "Audio Output Device" will be a new Remote Play setting, enabling PSP to serve as a remote control for music played through PS3
- PS3 system's Internet browser will be enhanced: Video files directly linked from a Web page will be able to be streamed, and the browser's view speed will be improved
- DivX and WMV format videos larger than 2GB will be playable
- "Mosquito Noise Reduction" will be added as an AV setting in the control panel of the DVD/BD player for improved movie playback (BDMV format not supported)
Sony's press release for the PlayStation 3 Firmware Upgrade Version 2.20 can be read in full here.