The PlayStation 3 (officially abbreviated as PS3) is the third home video game console produced by Sony Computer Entertainment and the successor to the PlayStation 2 as part of the PlayStation series. The PlayStation 3 competes with Microsoft's Xbox 360 and Nintendo's Wii as part of the seventh generation of video game consoles.
A major feature that distinguishes the PlayStation 3 from its predecessors is its unified online gaming service, the PlayStation Network, which contrasts with Sony's former policy of relying on video game developers for online play. Other major features of the console include its robust multimedia capabilities, connectivity with the PlayStation Portable, and its use of a high-definition optical disc format, Blu-ray Disc, as its primary storage medium. The PS3 was also the first Blu-ray 2.0-compliant Blu-ray player on the market.
The PlayStation 3 was first released on November 11, 2006 in Japan, November 17, 2006 in North America, March 16, 2007 in the United Kingdom and Ireland and March 23, 2007 in mainland Europe and Oceania. Two SKUs were available at launch: a basic model with a 20 GB hard drive (HDD) and a premium model with a 60 GB hard drive and several additional features (the 20 GB model was not released in Europe or Oceania).
Sony officially unveiled the PlayStation 3 to the public along with its original returning boomerang style controller on May 16, 2005, during the E3 2005 conference. A functional version of the system was not present there, nor at the Tokyo Game Show in September 2005, although demonstrations (such as Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots) were held at both events on devkits and comparable PC hardware. Video footage based on the predicted PlayStation 3 specifications was also shown (notably a Final Fantasy VII tech demo).
The initial prototype shown featured two HDMI ports, three Ethernet ports and six USB ports; however, when the system was shown again a year later at E3 2006, these were reduced to one HDMI port, one Ethernet port and four USB ports, presumably to cut costs.
Sony has included the ability for the operating system, referred to as System Software, to be updated. The updates can be acquired in several ways:
If the PlayStation 3 has an active Internet connection, updates may be downloaded directly from the PlayStation Network to the PS3 and subsequently installed. Systems with active Internet will automatically check online for software updates each time the console is started.
The original PlayStation 3 also included the ability to install other operating systems, such as Linux. This was not included in the newer slim models and was removed from all older PlayStation 3 consoles with the release of firmware update 3.21 in April 2010. The functionality is now only available to users of original consoles who choose not to update their system software beyond version 3.15.
PS3 - Technical Specifications:
Audio formats: MP3, MP3 Surround, WAV, Audio CD, MP4 Audio, MPEG-4 Part 3, AAC / AAC Low Complexity
Video formats: MPEG-1 (MPEG Audio Layer 2), MPEG-2 PS MPEG2 Audio Layer 2, AAC LC, AC3(Dolby Digital), LPCM, MPEG-2 TS (MPEG2 Audio Layer 2), VC-1 (.wmv), AVCHD (.m2ts / .mts), AVI, DivX, VOD, XviD, Motion JPEG (Linear PCM), MP4 Video, MP4 via DivX AVI, MP4 SP, MP4 AVC / MP4 H.264, DVD Video, BD Video format on Blu-ray Disc, BD Video format on DVD-ROM
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