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Firmware 1.80 up for downloads, our opinions also available

The hotly anticipated system update has gone live as of exactly midnight EST. Without a minute to spare, we downloaded the new update and test-drove the two most important features: 1080p DVD upscaling and 1080p PS2 game upscaling. What do we think?

We have to admit, we're disappointed by the DVD playback. We tested a couple of DVDs from the amazingly hilarious show Scrubs. The difference between the original 480p image and the upscaled one is minimal at best. Perhaps it was the show itself, but the only added factor by jumping the resolution up was a slight decrease in grainy faces in the foreground. No beats of sweat clearly visible, no defined facial lines beyond what the original DVDs had displayed. This may be due to the fact that the TV we used only could get 720p/1080i -- so that may have been a reason.

On the software side, we booted up a number of games: Rogue Galaxy, Phantasy Star Universe, and Dawn of Mana. Yes, we love RPGs. The difference was surprisingly substantial. In the case of Rogue Galaxy, where jaggies were minimal to begin with, the difference got rid of the remaining backwards compatibility errors. However, if the upscaling is set to "full screen" and the smoother is turned "on" then you might stare at something that's a lot more blurry than you're used to. Not jaggy -- blurry. PSU suffered horribly with jaggies and the upscaler worked well. It's not perfect, but it's acceptable. With the smoother turned on, the clothing and actions of characters just seem ... smoother. How about that? Dawn of Mana simply got a smooth boost, since it looked mostly fine anyway.

Overall, we greatly approve of the PS2 upscaling capabilities. PS One titles ... well ... there's not much to upscale anyway, but they did what they could. Nothing worth mentioning, but it's a nice touch to make the games looks less dated. Parasite Eve 2 is actually fairly good looking upscaled. Almost an early PS2 game. We have no true opinion on the DVD upscaling since we don't have a 1080p HDTV, but what we were able to view wasn't much different. How about you guys? What are your thoughts?

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Reader Comments

(Page 1)

1. I've waited for this day for so long! PS1 upscalng!
Now to go play Chrono Cross :)

Posted at 1:22AM on May 24th 2007 by MiKE

2. On my 1080p TV the DVD upscaling makes them look alot sharper and clearer.

Posted at 1:27AM on May 24th 2007 by Skunk

3. According to the videophiles over on AVS, the PS3 is now the premier BD and DVD player with the 1.80 firmware.

* Excellent/Amazing 1080p upscaling of DVDs
* For those with 720p only sets it now does 720P downscaling for BD along with upscaling for DVD
* 1080p24 support (film is native 24 fps, no more 3:2 pulldown)
* Blacker-than-Black (BTB) and Whiter-than-White (WTW) support with (full range/limited) the BTB has been confirmed by DVE
* HQV DVD test and the PS3 1.80 firmware passes ALL tests!! Cadence, interlacing, artifacting, you name it, it passed!!!

Go see page 163 (and on) in the AVS " One-and-Only PS3 as Blu-Ray Player Thread" for more details.

Posted at 1:28AM on May 24th 2007 by Zythia

4. Now we can stop bitching

Enter Colin in 4...3...2...

Posted at 1:52AM on May 24th 2007 by Joshua Campbell

5. Im still waiting for the update that allows you to change your background. Hell Ill probably be happy If I were able to just change the color. something.

Posted at 1:57AM on May 24th 2007 by adam

Sorry Nick, but you need to conduct your tests a bit better and consult the AVSForums when you need additional information or advice. The upscaling has already been proven to be better then the best DVD upscaling players out there - tests performed and all.

Posted at 1:58AM on May 24th 2007 by Breeze

7. Question here: Do I WANT to enable progressive scan in games if I'm running upscaling to 1080i? I ask because when I pop in Black or GOW and turn on progressive scan, my TV SEEMS to jump back from 1080i to 480p. It's a weird thing. My TV doesn't actually tell me what mode it's in, but I know when it's in 1080i because two funny little lines show up at the bottom of the screen (diagnostic things from tweaking with the set). When I enable progressive scan, my TV makes the sounds it usually makes when switching modes, and the little lines at the bottom vanish, indicating to me that I'm in 480p. However, the text in the menu when I hit the playstation button is still really small as though I'm in 1080i. Can anyone shed some light on this? Using the upscaling while NOT enabling progressive scan looks awful.

Posted at 2:09AM on May 24th 2007 by Stef Geiger

8. Ok, looks like if you enable progressive scan within the game, it overrides whatever upscaling the PS3 is supposed to do. Despite this, it keeps the playstion menu font size small AS THOUGH it's still in 1080i.

Can anyone with a TV that actually indicates what mode it's in confirm this?

Posted at 2:17AM on May 24th 2007 by Stef Geiger

9. DVDs look much better on my 1080i Samsung. I haven't had a chance to try any games yet. The new slideshow and photo trimming feature is pretty cool also.

Posted at 2:21AM on May 24th 2007 by radpanic

10. Nick, are you seriously write "no defined facial lines beyond what the original DVDs had displayed"?

I think if you are going to write your opinion for a living, you should at least learn what Upscaling actually is. It sounds like you were expecting all you DVDs to look HD all of sudden.

Upscaling is just about the edges you can't invent information that isn't there. But you can minimize the blocky edges caused by the crappy scaling routines used in today's televisions. It's essentially the difference between resizing a photo using a quality algorithm, like Bicubic, over a quick and dirty Bilinear resample.

Posted at 2:35AM on May 24th 2007 by Darren Tilley

11. Upscaling, shmupscaling! What I like best about this upgrade is that I can finally read this site on my Euro-PS3!!! Okay, I'll go check the upscaling now... ;-)

Posted at 2:38AM on May 24th 2007 by Patrick

12. Hey Stef,

How do you like that Hardware Scalar now?

Posted at 2:43AM on May 24th 2007 by Breeze

13. WOW !!! I'm a dreaming ??? I've been waiting for this for a very LOOONG time !!! Wow ! I'm I playing "ICO" in 1080p full screen ??? (you HAVE to go to settings and set to full screen) !!! WOW !!! I have an XBOX 360 as well but PS3 now FUCKING RULES !!!

Posted at 2:59AM on May 24th 2007 by Paul B. Sheerer

14. Well, you'll have to tell me what a "hardware scalar" is for me to answer that question.

Anyway, I don't think there's any evidence indicating whether or not this scaling is done through hardware or software.

Posted at 3:02AM on May 24th 2007 by Stef Geiger

15. I've set up WMP11 and can now officially stream media to my PS3. Works perfect, no stutters in any MP3s, and I was able to happily display Monorail cat in a nice resolution on my 32" High Def. I love it.

Posted at 3:04AM on May 24th 2007 by Taylor B

16. To #7, you will not get 1080i upscaling if you select progressive, as the i in 1080i stands for interlaced.

Posted at 3:07AM on May 24th 2007 by jostaurnes

17. for us the poors guys that doesnt live in 720 and stuff i think the dnla feature is the best at least for me. this plus the worlwide psp remte play feature will make us stream from any part of the world our music without choppy software like tversity now just using the windows media player 11(this is easier than the media center from the other console, ironic?)

Posted at 3:07AM on May 24th 2007 by mamardilla69

18. #7, you will not get 1080i upscaling if you select progressive output, cause the i in 1080i stands for interlaced.

Posted at 3:09AM on May 24th 2007 by jos

19. I think Dvds look much better, i have 1080p samsung, but now my blu ray movies are not working,they were working right before the update, games still work, and audio

Posted at 3:12AM on May 24th 2007 by Kevin

20. 1. Anyone else have problem with upscaling DVDs, there's 0.5 sec. pause between chapters?
This is what you have to pay for upscaling?
Looks like PS3 upscaling chapter-by-chapter and when it's next DVD chapter, it require some time to start processing.

2. How to access Shared music/videos? Is it Samba shares or something different?

Posted at 3:37AM on May 24th 2007 by Kramer

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