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PlayStation Portable to support MP3 playback

World's favourite music format joins ATRAC3 on the PSP's supported list.

Sony's forthcoming handheld console, the PlayStation Portable, will support MP3 audio files in its music player, it has emerged at the Tokyo Game Show, following on from a company U-turn on the format earlier this week.

An eagle-eyed reader at the show noticed that the firm has put MP3 onto the specification sheet for the console, along with Sony's proprietary music format, ATRAC3, which is used by the Sony Connect music store, minidisk players and Sony hard drive music players.

A few days ago, Sony revealed that it was reconsidering its stance on MP3 support in its music playback devices, which had formerly only supported the ATRAC3 system - leading to significant criticism from consumers, since competing devices such as Apple's iPod support the more popular MP3 format.

The same specification sheet revealed that the PSP will support video playback of the H.264/AVC format, an advanced video codec which supports a wide range of quality settings, and which is set to be used in the next generation of DVD systems.

It's not clear, however, whether this indicates that the system will be able to play H.264 video off Memory Stick storage devices, or if it just means that Sony has chosen the standard as the compression format for movies on its UMD discs.

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