Tuesday, November 14, 2006

HD and the PS3

Here is an interesting email I got from my buddy at Dolby.

He was talking about how he might get a new Play Station 3, just to hook up the streaming HD video to his TV.

I said "Dude, you can already get stuff that streams stuff from your computer to your tv, why get an PS3?"

I just hooked up my computer to my TV... With an s-video cable, which I found out is not HD capible.

Here is his answer about why the PS3 is cool. I thought it was good info, so now I am posting it.

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I know all that technology is nothing new, but there is a huge difference between the types of wireless and streaming technology and the other components you need to make good use of it. I will give you just one example since you brought it up and the example is your own setup at home.

Yes you are connecting a "S" video cable to your HD TV, and yes you can get HD content streamed over the internet. However, "S" video cable is not capable of sending HD content. Unless you have an HD video card in your computer you also will not be able to see HD content in HD on your computer or when sent to you TV. WiFi is not capable of HD audio or video content at this time either. Now if you have a sound card like a Sound Blaster with a digital output capability then you can at least send HD audio to your stereo system, but you still have the lower quality video going to your TV.

What the PS3 puts together is the HD decoders and cables required to take that content from any source and keep it in the correct format, so in other words you can use your computer to download or send streaming content from the computer to the PS3 and the connections on the PS3 will now allow you TV to be in HD and the audio to be in HD to match. Yes there are other devices that would allow you to do this as well, but the cost is about the same and about the only real way to make it work is putting a computer with the right video and audio cards hooked up to the home entertainment set up.

It has taken me five years of working at Dolby to understand all the differences in content and that is why I can say the PS3 is a very interesting package with all the right components nicely put into one box.

Don't get me wrong though I do like what you have done with your home setup, and think you are further along than most people, but your thinking mistakes regarding connections is very common. In fact I just read another article yesterday talking about the new TV's and all the HD content, but people making the mistake of using the cables that come with their dvd/TV/CD/Computers and missing out on all the HD content because usually the cables that come with our devices are all the lower quality connection. Same thing goes for when I got the HD satelite.
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So, there you go. Sounds like the PS3 is good for all, not just the gamers.

It also sounds like this HD stuff is a bit more complicated than I thought...

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