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Sony confirms imminent BD-Live upgrade for PS3

A firmware upgrade will make the PlayStation 3 the first Blu-ray player with BD-Live (Profile 2.0) compatibility.

The PS3 is about to become an even better Blu-ray player.

The next firmware update to the PlayStation 3 will add full Profile 2.0 compatibility to the game console's Blu-ray player. Sony hinted that the update would be coming during January's Consumer Electronics Show, but today's announcement confirms that it will arrive before the end of March. If it goes according to plan, the update would make the PS3 the first Blu-ray player to offer Profile 2.0 (or BD-Live, as it's also known). Profile 2.0 will add online features to compatible Blu-ray discs, the first two of which--The Sixth Day and Walk Hard--are scheduled to hit store shelves in April. Its addition to the spec finally brings Blu-ray's feature set in line with HD DVD players, all of which were built from the start to be able to access online content (though, to be fair, the feature wasn't widely employed on many HD DVD movies).

While most Blu-ray players can be updated to address bug fixes and disc incompatibilities, the PS3 is alone among current players with its ability to be upgraded to the Profile 2.0 standard. (That's why it remains the most highly recommended Blu-ray player on CNET--even for prospective users who aren't gamers.) The only other 2.0 players that have been announced are the Panasonic DMP-BD50 (due in April) and the Sony BDP-S550 (coming this autumn), both of which are expected to cost at least $100 more than the entry-level PS3.

In addition to enhanced Blu-ray support, the PS3 2.20 firmware is expected to include a number of other enhancements, including better DivX and WMV file support, better integration with the PSP, and improved Web browsing. Full details are available at Sony's PlayStation Blog.