Blu-ray Profile 2.0 update coming to PS3 this month

Sony detailed its plans Thursday to deliver the long-awaited Profile 2.0 update for Blu-ray to its PlayStation 3 later this month. Sony expects the PS3 to have a 10-year lifecycle.

Because the Blu-ray specification was incomplete when Sony launched the format to compete with HD DVD in 2004, consumers have had to wait for more advanced features already found in the rival -- and now defunct -- format. Picture-in-picture wasn't added until Profile 1.1 -- known as Bonus View -- and Internet connectivity and local storage come with Profile 2.0, which has been dubbed BD-Live.

Sony's PlayStation 3 entertainment console already featured Internet connectivity and local storage as part of its video game capabilities, making it the only Blu-ray player that could be upgraded to the new specifications. That's one of the major reasons why the PS3 has dominated Blu-ray sales, as existing standalone players are about to become obsolete.

The PS3 firmware update, version 2.20, is scheduled to be delivered to owners before the end of the month. Movies designed for Profile 2.0, which will have a BD-Live logo on them, can make use of the Internet and local storage to download content such as trailers and ringtones, and even play movie-themed games.

In addition, the update will allow the PS3 to resume a Blu-ray movie from the point it was stopped, even if the disc is removed. However, Sony notes that this feature -- which is standard in most regular DVD players these days -- will not work with all Blu-ray movies.

Along with BD-Live, version 2.20 of the PS3 software will also enable users to copy photo and music playlists from the PS3 to Sony's PlayStation Portable handheld device. "With these regular firmware updates and future-proofed technology, SCEA is making the 10-year lifecycle of PS3 possible," stated Scott Steinberg, vice president of product marketing for Sony Computer Entertainment America.

The first BD-Live enabled movies will be released on April 8 to coincide with the software update rollout. "Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story" and Arnold Schwarzenegger's "The 6th Day" will feature downloadable content that can be stored on the PS3.

Separately, Sony has improved the Web browser on the PS3 so it is faster and able to stream video files. DivX and WMV support has been bolstered as well with the ability to play back files larger than 2GB.

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