Details on sleek new PS Store & firmware v2.30

Sony has finally provided us with a look at the revamped PlayStation Store. The video walkthrough that they promised us last week was posted this morning on the PlayStation.Blog. The three-minute-and-fifteen-second video of the pretty new-look store features the equally sexy Grace Chen, the store’s senior manager. She browsed through the store at breakneck speed and also showed off the new ways in which content is organized, along with a few other functions.

I couldn’t be happier with the updated store; for now, it looks like it addresses most, if not all, of the issues that I have with the current store. Chen also mentioned that it is no longer web-based; it’s now a native XMB application. In addition, we now know the content of its concurrent PS3 system software update, v2.30. Dale (and the rest of us) wished for in-game XMB, but sadly, I’m going to have to dash everyone’s hopes — unless you’re a Blu-ray enthusiast who’s been waiting for high-end audio codec support.

Most of you are probably wondering what the hell that seemingly random sequence of letters means. Well, if you’re familiar with DVDs, you’ve probably heard of DTS as a higher-bitrate alternative to standard Dolby Digital. DTS-HD Master Audio is the “next-gen” audio analog of Dolby TrueHD; it’s a lossless audio codec that has an insanely high maximum bitrate of 24.5 Mbps. The v2.30 update also includes support for the DTS-HD HR (“High Resolution”) codec, which provides audio at a constant bitrate of 6.0 Mbps on Blu-ray Discs. Both codecs can deliver up to 7.1 channels of 96 kHz/24-bit sound. (For more details, see here.)

While I’m still using good ol’ stereo sound (2.1 computer speakers FTW!), I know that many owners of high-end home theaters had been clamoring for DTS-HD MA support, and it’s great to see Sony responding to consumer requests like this. I think the updated PS Store looks fantastic — the ability to view trailers/screenshots in-store is particularly awesome — so all we’re waiting for now is in-game XMB, really. Strangely enough, neither the PlayStation.Blog post nor the v2.30 update’s press release (after the jump) mention an official release date for the store/update, but I’m willing to bet that they’ll come out next Wednesday, a day before the store usually gets new content.

SCEA Announces Details of PS3 Firmware (v2.30)

Sony Computer Entertainment America (SCEA) today announced that the next system software update for PLAYSTATION®3 (PS3™) system, slated for release next week, will add DTS-HD Master Audio™ and DTS-HD High Resolution Audio, enabling consumers to enjoy Blu-ray movies with studio-quality, high-definition audio. The technologies, from DTS, Inc. (NASDAQ: DTSI), provide PS3 users with the complete high-definition Blu-ray movie experience, matching the format’s crisp visuals with rich, lifelike sound. In addition to the new audio capabilities, the free system software update (v. 2.30) will allow PS3 owners to access the revamped PLAYSTATION®Store, as previously announced.

DTS-HD Master Audio brings Blu-ray movies on PS3 to life, delivering everything from explosive sound effects to intricate orchestral scores with pure, high-quality audio that is bit-for-bit identical to the original studio master. DTS-HD Master Audio has the capacity to deliver audio at the incredibly high variable rate of 24.5 mega-bits per second (Mbps) on Blu-ray disc, a rate significantly higher than standard DVDs. DTS-HD Master Audio also offers 7.1 audio channels at 96k sampling frequency/24 bit depths. More than 100 Blu-ray movies and concert videos featuring premium DTS-HD Master Audio soundtracks are available.

Additionally, the DTS-HD High Resolution Audio codec allows content creators to deliver uncompromised, high-definition audio on Blu-ray, while requiring less disc space than DTS-HD Master Audio. DTS-HD High Resolution Audio streams audio at a high constant bit rate of 6.0 Mbps on Blu-ray discs, and is also capable of up to 7.1 audio channels at 96k sampling frequency/24 bit depth resolution, thereby producing outstanding sound quality.

Beyond enhancing PS3’s audio capabilities, installing the latest system software update will also enable users to seamlessly access the new, more dynamic interface and enhanced navigation of the PLAYSTATION Store. As part of a revamp, the PLAYSTATION Store will transition from an integrated online storefront to an application living natively on PS3, enabling customers to more easily and quickly locate and purchase games, and download demos, game videos, Blu-ray movie trailers and other game-related content for PS3.

These updates further demonstrate how the future-proof PS3 continues to evolve as a gaming and home entertainment system with the flexibility to deliver the newest technology innovations without requiring further investment from consumers. For additional details and instructions on how to update the PS3 system software, please visit

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Samit Sarkar
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