Digital Foundry
Supporter Program
Get access to   exclusive content unlimited 4K videos Discord Server Retro Corner Support us on Patreon Join now

New PS3s drop HD component support?

Update: Blu-ray movie playback affected.

Update: Ars Technica has a comment from Sony, explaining that while adhering to the AACS guidelines is the reason behind the new move, it only affects Blu-ray movies, not video game output.

"The new CECH-3000 series PS3 requires HDMI only for BD movie output in HD, in compliance with AACS standards," Sony says. "PS3 continues to support component output for HD gaming and streaming content."

Original story: High definition video output via analogue component output is being phased out on new model PlayStation 3s, according to a report from Kotaku.

The story is based on an internal memo apparently being distributed around US GameStop stores, stating that the new, "K chassis" PlayStation 3s ship with a basic AV cable, but the AV port itself will not support HD output (720p, 1080i, 1080p) when a component cable is connected. All current PlayStation 3 models include this functionality - and very useful it is too for those with older HDTVs.

The memo goes on to state that all future PlayStation 3 models will exhibit the same limitation, but the feature-set of the current units will not be affected - so, if you're currently running a PS3 via component in HD now, nothing will change.

But why make the change at all? When Blu-ray and HD-DVD standards were being established, the movie studios were insistent that HD transmissions were protected with DRM (AACS, or Advanced Access Content System), and initially there were discussions that HD content would only be displayed in full resolution via the digitally encrypted HDMI output, with analogue component getting a downscaled quarter-1080p, 960x540 image instead. There was a fear that component capture cards could be used to rip-off HD movies.

However, at the time, a significant proportion of existing, perfectly fine HDTVs only supported analogue component inputs, so there was little choice but to provide provision for these sets and the component restriction was shelved.

There is speculation that the AACS Final Adopter agreement covers the changeover, suggesting that no new hardware lines sold after December 2010 should support analogue HD output and this sounds like the most plausible explanation: the existing PS3 Slim model pre-dates this deadline.

On the one hand, HDMI is the preferred transmission format for HD games and video, usually offering the very best picture quality for your display. On the other hand, the more display options a user has, the better - and the move seems rather pointless bearing in mind that the HDCP encryption system was completely compromised a while back.

Will you support the Digital Foundry team?

Digital Foundry specialises in technical analysis of gaming hardware and software, using state-of-the-art capture systems and bespoke software to show you how well games and hardware run, visualising precisely what they're capable of. In order to show you what 4K gaming actually looks like we needed to build our own platform to supply high quality 4K video for offline viewing. So we did.

Our videos are multi-gigabyte files and we've chosen a high quality provider to ensure fast downloads. However, that bandwidth isn't free and so we charge a small monthly subscription fee of €5. We think it's a small price to pay for unlimited access to top-tier quality encodes of our content. Thank you.

Support Digital Foundry

Find out more about the benefits of our Patreon

Sometimes we include links to online retail stores. If you click on one and make a purchase we may receive a small commission. Read our policy.

Jump to comments (84)

About the author

Richard Leadbetter

Richard Leadbetter

Technology Editor, Digital Foundry  |  digitalfoundry

Rich has been a games journalist since the days of 16-bit and specialises in technical analysis. He's commonly known around Eurogamer as the Blacksmith of the Future.

Related

You may also enjoy...

Comments (84)

Comments for this article are now closed. Thanks for taking part!

Hide low-scoring comments
Order
Threading
Eurogamer.net

Buy things with globes on them

And other lovely Eurogamer merch in our official store!

Eurogamer Merch