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Sony gets DDown!

Another set of speakers proclaim themselves to be "PS2-compatible"

Sony have adopted Tripath Technology's Digital Power Processing (DPP) technology to drive a unique audio/video amplifier system for PlayStation 2. The system will deliver 330W of high fidelity 5.1 surround sound for games and DVD movies. Although in this writer's opinion that's overkill for a DVD playback system that plain malfunctions under a lot of circumstances. Lets dissect the press release bit by bit, shall we? "Tripath's digital amplifier technology enabled Sony to incorporate six, high-powered amplifiers into a module small enough to be contained in the subwoofer speaker cabinet, eliminating the need for a separate audio/video amplifier." What's being said here is that they stuffed the amp inside the sub-woofer, which is quite a similar approach to systems like Creative's popular "DeskTop Theatre" systems, which are also now provided in a PS2-compatible edition. Actually, from memory it's the same as most of the amp/sub packages home consumers have been buying for years. "With two optical and two analog inputs, Dolby Digital®/DTS® (Digital Theater Systems) decoding and Sony's ``Digital Cinema Sound,'' the SA-PSD5 can also connect directly to standard DVD players to provide a powerful home theater experience." This at least gives buyers of the Tripath system some chance to redeem their purchase when they realise how awful PlayStation 2 DVD playback turned out to be. Actually, for those that don't know, it's usually okay, but obviously it's single-region, and on a lot of discs, the machine actually crashes during layer-change on the DVD. It won't even play the second half of my "Three Amigos" disc. Moving on though, again, this is not a new idea. If you think the idea of multiple inputs is clever, then you really ought to peer at the back of the Videologic DigiTheatre DTS - there are significantly more than two of each. VideoLogic also provide a PS2-compatible speaker system, by the way. "The lack of significant heat dissipation from the Tripath amplifiers allowed Sony to deliver this performance inside the one-foot cube sized subwoofer." Obviously to be floor-mounted then, like most subs. To be honest though, heat dissipation is not the one I worry about - I'm more concerned about magnetic shielding. If I put this sub/amp or any of the speakers next to my television, is the cathode ray tube going to come under fire, or the soon-to-be-released PS2 hard-disk if I sit it near that? "Combined with five compact satellite speakers this system offers a unique combination of power, fidelity and size for owners of the 10 million PS2 systems that have been shipped to date and consumers upgrading their DVD systems to Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround Sound." To the casual observer the impression is that Sony's new system actually adds Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround Sound to systems. This is not true. What Sony are saying (and this is pretty clever marketing) is that it will allow users to take advantage of the in-built DD 5.1 decoding of their DVD players for the first time, hence an "upgrade". That's pretty cheeky, but we have to applaud them for their cunning subterfuge. The SA-PSD5 was recently announced in Japan and will be available in stores there on April 21, but in actual fact, it's probably no better a speaker system than any of the third party systems released recently, most notably from Creative and VideoLogic. Make no mistake, this is an attempt by Sony to muscle in on the market Creative and VideoLogic set up for themselves with the "PS2-compatible" speaker sets. By buying up a similar technology and adding some cunning marketing spin, Sony have immediately cornered most of the others' potential buyers. The audiophiles won't be convinced by it, but then, audiophiles are hardly likely to use a PlayStation 2 to play DVDs. Ultimately, the intelligent consumer will examine the specs and decide which best fits their needs. That will save the majority, but still leave a sizeable minority, and the press release is worded in such a way as to be quite convincing. Remember though, if you want a set of speakers for your PlayStation 2, there are other options, and they should be considered in exactly the same light as the Sony kit. Related Feature - Creative announce PS2 speakers

Source - press release

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About the Author

Tom Bramwell avatar

Tom Bramwell

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Tom worked at Eurogamer from early 2000 to late 2014, including seven years as Editor-in-Chief.

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