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Sony PS3 DTS-HD Master Audio: Best Blu-ray player again

If you've been waiting for DTS-DH MA support to be added to the PS3 before you buy one, happy days are here, because Sony bringing the high-end audio system to its console

Yesterday among the detritus of spam and nonsense in our inbox we noticed that with only minor fanfare the PlayStation 3 is set to support DTS-HD Master Audio. Previously the console didn't have the best audio support, but now it can decode a DTS-HD source and send it to your AV equipment as uncompressed multi-channel PCM sound.

Some people will be upset that the PS3 won't send the raw DTS-HD MA bitstream via HDMI, but as long as your equipment can handle a PCM stream it really makes little difference where the decoding happens, be it in the PS3 or your amplifier. We're just thrilled to see such complete support for all Blu-ray features.

If all this washes over you, and you bought your PS3 to play games on, then we should tell you that DTS-HD MA allows the storage of 7.1 audio channels with a 96k/24-bit depth. This will sound identical to the original studio master, if your sound system is up to the job. Because Blu-ray has plenty of storage space and a huge data transfer rate, it means you get audio at 24.5Mbps. That's a hell of a lot of sound to be chucking around.

The DTS update, known as firmware version 2.30, will become available to download on 15 April and will also bring with it a newly organised PlayStation Store, which will offer a much better layout than the current version.

The Sony PlayStation 3 is now available for around £285, which means it's still one of the cheapest Blu-ray players about, and by far the best value if you factor in the ability to play games, stream media over your home network and browse the Net. If you really don't want a games console as your primary Blu-ray player, the Panasonic DMP-BD30 can be purchased for about £350 and features great audio support, and profile 1.1. The BD50, due later in the year, will add profile 2.0, which will make it BD Live ready, for interactive online features. –Ian Morris