Earlier today, Dale North brought us news
that Sony would be releasing a PS3 firmware update sometime this week, and that it would include support for DivX-encoded AVI files and WMV files encoded with the VC-1 codec (among a few other features). The update, which seems to have gone live shortly after midnight EST, is now available for download through the System Update function in the Settings tab of the XMB. It took around two minutes to download for me, and about another two minutes to install.
The update certainly works as advertised: I was able to play a number of DivX- and XviD-encoded AVI files (I didn’t have any MP4 files on hand to try out), and I also tested a few WMV files, all of which played beautifully. The latter included an HD-res (1280×720) video review of Rock Band
from IGN Insider, which looked fantastic. I was even able to get an episode from the first season of Weeds
to play; its video was encoded with the XviD codec at 960×528, while its audio was encoded with the AC–3 codec (i.e., 5.1–channel Dolby Digital). Of course, the files played with varying quality on my HDTV, depending on the resolution of the particular file (my PS3 is set to output at 720p). Obviously, matching the file’s resolution to what your PS3 is outputting to your TV is going to be your best bet, but downloaded widescreen TV shows (usually encoded at 624×352 or thereabouts) will look just fine. The videos were played off of a 2 GB USB thumbdrive; I wasn’t able to try streaming any video via the PS3’s DLNA capabilities.
So there you have it: Sony finally made good on something they announced a while back, and it works great. Oh, and for those of you interested in the Blu-ray profile 1.1 functionality and what that means, check out this update from The Digital Bits
. Happy por—er, I mean, illegally-downloaded-TV-show-watching!
If my post is displaying with some funky symbols or gibberish in spots, change the character encoding of your browser to “Western (Windows-1252)”. I’m not sure about other browsers, but to do it in Firefox, go to ‘Character Encoding’ in the View
menu and select “Western (Windows-1252)”.