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After being the topic of rumors and speculation for some time, Sony's PlayStation 3 is now officially able to support the features of Blu-ray Profile 1.1 with a firmware update announced today. That profile, which has also been called Bonus View in some circles, allows the player to display secondary video for picture-in-picture support and a few other enhancements.
Also included in the update are additional system features, such as DivX and VC-1 (WMV) video playback support in the XMB, and a voice changer so that gamers can disguise their voices when they get into it during online multi-player matches.
With this update, the PlayStation 3 further cements its reputation as the best overall Blu-ray player available. Sony has already stated that roughly 2.5 million of the 2.7 million Blu-ray players in consumers' hands are PlayStation 3's. Its only glaring problem is that it cannot be controlled by universal remotes like other respectable media equipment, but maybe if I complain enough here, they'll do something about that...
My only other complaint is that the lowest-priced unit (the $400 40GB model) does not support PlayStation 2 games. While I'm not a gamer, I think it would be foolish to buy a game system that isn't capable of playing games from one of the most popular game systems ever released. That means that you end up having to pay $500 for the 80GB model.
Meanwhile, the manufacturers of the other Blu-ray players should be embarrassed that a video game system is beating them on features and price. Here's hoping that someone is on the ball and makes some announcements of feature-rich Blu-ray players at CES in January!
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