PS3 firmware 2.50 adds support for Flash 9--but don't expect glitch-free Hulu viewing

The 2.50 firmware is now available for download on the PS3. Flash 9 video compatibility is among the included improvements, but it's not smooth enough for flawless playback of video sites such as Hulu.com.

screenshot of CNET TV running on the PS3's updated browser
CNET

Sony rolled out the latest firmware update for the PS3 (version 2.50) in the past few hours, available to all as a free download. The main additions, as reported on the official Sony Europe PS3 forums, are as follows:

>> Flash 9 support added to Web browser.

>> Improved Bluetooth headset support.

>> In-game screenshot capture tool (for future titles).

>> Improved user interface for PS3 Trophies.

>> Thumbnails added to video search.

>> Direct Information Board links to PlayStation Store.

>> Power save mode (automatic shut-off after predetermined downtimes).

For us, the biggest potential highlight was the addition of Flash 9 support (coming, ironically, the same day that Flash 10 goes live). Flash 9 should allow the PS3's Web browser to access more sophisticated Web video sites, including Hulu, ABC.com, and our own CNET TV (YouTube worked well enough with the browser's earlier version of Flash). And, indeed, you can now watch those sites, but it's short of a perfect experience. We couldn't get Hulu or CNET TV to go full-screen, and had trouble accessing the high-resolution versions of both (Hulu's 480p version was inaccessible, and the CNET TV "HD" stream produced a very low framerate).

As such, we're scoring this attempt at a Hulu Box as an incomplete. Even in this buggy environment, though, it was cool to be able to access more video content, particularly on Hulu. (We were able to cobble together a full-screen view by zooming the screen on the PS3, and then zooming again with our TV controls.) None of the problems seem insurmountable, however, so let's hope Sony continues to plug away and further refine the functionality.

What do you think of the latest PS3 firmware update: useful additions, or just an incremental upgrade? Is Hulu access a big deal, or do you use something like PlayOn instead?

(Via Joystiq)

 

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