Playstation 2

26 octobre 2000


Episode 3: The DVD Player

We had presented to you (news of 18th October) the "heart" of the PSX 2; Today, we propose to discover the technical characteristics of its DVD Player.


Electronics

It’s thanks to the integration of two DSP circuits placed on the mother board as co-processors, that the PSX2 is able to decode in MPEG 2 format: effectively, one of the two co-processors is dedicated to this decompression operation. The console can thus, without difficulty, show high resolution 3-D images, as well as video flow from DVD’s.

This decompression of the video signal is dealt with in a complementary manner by the Emotion Engine processor (jointly developed with Toshiba), which is affected to the overall management of the system. In addition, the Graphic Synthetiser takes charge of the graphic management.

It should be noted that the Graphic Synthesiser is 20 times more powerful than any of the latest generation of PC Graphic accelerators. It processes 1024 bits in the reading of RAM, as well as in the writing of RAM. During simultaneous reading/writing operations, these are carried-out in 512 bit, in the cache memory, allowing a multitude of information to be carried – both graphic and video.

According to SONY, the combination of these multiple elements of decompression will, in the future, introduce new management of computer generated images in real-time. Effectively, the interest seems to be such that the Japanese manufacturer is envisaging selling individual chips from the PSX 2 (certain manufacturers have expressed the wish to use this technology in their DVD’s, TV’s etc.).


Video Transfer

Following the example of most shelf DVD players, the PSX 2 intregrates "outputs" that allow it to transport S-vidéo or composite, in Pal or NTSC signal format. According to the manufacturer, the console will be compatible with digital HDTV formats, with connection being made possible thanks to component type links (implying the utilisation of a specific cable) - plug and play (USB) or iEEE1394.


Interactivity

Contrary to speculation, the PSX 2 will integrate all the interactive functions specific to DVD (choice of language, sub-titles, multi-angle etc.). It thus constitutes a veritable DVD player, at an affordable price: around 455 Euros or 2990 French Francs. The only slight drawback is the "wired" remote control, as the controls are activated via the joypad. Some might thus opt for the infrared pad, while waiting for Sony to develop a real remote control.


Performance Levels

It’s thanks to the drive 634K programme, pre-installed in the memory card (also available on the installation CD-ROM supplied with the machine), that the user can activate the DVD player function.

This drive presents the advantage of being upgradable, being able to evolve thanks to upgrades supplied by the manufacturer (8 Mo of memory having been allotted to the memory card, there’s plenty of space to do this).

Numerous tests, undertaken by independent laboratories, appear to indicate that the DVD player integrated in the console will be of a quality equal to most top of the line players. We can’t wait to be convinced ourselves, as soon as we have the chance to test the machine with different softwares.

The "sound" section has of course been developed in such a way as to make the PSX 2 compatible with sound formats utilised in home cinema (Dolby Prologic, Dolby Digital and DTS). Up to now, however, no serious independent sound reproduction tests have been carried out. We will keep you informed of performance tests as soon as we’re able to.

The PSX 2 is only compatible with the playing region in which it has been purchased. (I.E. Zone 2 for France), so one will have to count on the talent of our dear "dezoners" to find a way around these "controls" in order to be able to play all DVD Video Software.


See you next Wednesday !

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