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Systems FAQs

We thought you might ask


What is the Cell Broadband Engine and how does it benefit the consumer?

The Cell Broadband Engine is the digital soul behind the PlayStation®3 system. Years in the making, engineers from Sony, SCEI, IBM, and Toshiba have developed an advanced microprocessor unlike any other. The Cell Broadband Engine has up to eight Synergistic Processor Units (SPUs) or "cores" to help balance the processor workload thus making it more powerful and more efficient than traditional "single-core" processors. Breakthroughs in fidelity, believability, and hyper-reality enabled by the raw power of the Cell Broadband Engine processor provide limitless experiences.

What is HDMI?

High-Definition Multimedia Interface* (HDMI) is an industry-supported, uncompressed, all-digital audio/video interface. HDMI provides an interface between any compatible digital audio/video source, such as a set-top box, DVD player, an A/V receiver and a compatible digital audio and/or video monitor such as a digital television.
*HDMI cable not included. Additional equipment may be required to use the HDMI connector.

What is the SIXAXIS™ motion-sensing system used in the controller?

The SIXAXIS™ motion-sensing system found in the PlayStation®3 allows users to maneuver the controller as a natural extension of their bodies. With this system, sensors read when a player angles, tilts, thrusts, or pulls the controller, all in real-time and with high precision. The SIXAXIS technology is found in both the SIXAXIS™ wireless controller and the DUALSHOCK®3 wireless controller.

How can you upgrade the PS3™ system hard drive?

The PlayStation®3 hard disk drive is removable and upgradeable. You can upgrade the hard drive by removing it and replacing it with a larger-capacity drive.
Find out more in the Knowledge Center.


What is Blu-ray?

Blu-ray (BD) is the next-generation media format that delivers the ultimate high-definition* entertainment experience. Just like the DVD format offered a technological leap over CDs, Blu-ray Disc is the next leap forward in the natural advancement of data storage and digital entertainment.

Facts about Blu-ray Disc:

  • Blu-ray Disc is supported by the Blu-ray Association and it has a broader industry support than any disc format ever launched
  • The format offers more than five times the storage capacity of traditional DVDs and can hold up to 25GB on a single-layer disc and 50GB on a dual-layer disc
  • Pristine picture quality with the capability for full high-definition resolution up to 1080p
  • Blu-ray Disc recordable formats offer unsurpassed storage capacity to store your digital world (photographs, home videos, music libraries, and data)
  • Blu-ray Disc gives consumers a smooth way to transition to high-definition by protecting their DVD investments; Blu-ray Disc players are compatible with DVD so existing DVD and CD collections can be enjoyed on Blu-ray hardware.
  • More information about Blu-ray can be found at the Blu-ray Disc Association website *Video output in HD requires cables and an HD-compatible display, both sold separately. Copy-protected Blu-ray video discs can only output at 1080p using an HDMI cable connected to a device that is compatible with the HDCP standard. HDMI cable not included. Additional equipment may be required to use the HDMI connector.

    Why is Blu-ray Disc important to gaming?

    With Blu-ray Disc, the PlayStation®3 system offers game developers unprecedented power to express their creativity and a larger canvas to create a level of interaction, sophistication, and reality that has never existed in gaming. As a result, consumers can experience a whole new generation of high-definition gaming.


    Can I play stereoscopic 3D games on my PlayStation®3 system?

    Yes, all PlayStation®3 systems are capable of playing stereoscopic 3D games provided that you have installed
    System Software Update 3.30
    or greater. With this free firmware update, the PS3™ system can support stereoscopic 3D gaming – right-in your living room at no additional charge. You’ll also need a 3D HDTV or 3D Ready HDTV and 3D sync transmitter kit, 3D glasses compatible with your TV, and a High Speed HDMI cable (supporting at least 10.2 Gbps).

    Can I play 3D Blu-Ray™ movies on my PS3™ ?

    System Software Update 3.50 enables the PlayStation®3 system to play 3D Blu-ray™ movies in 1080p.

    What games can I play in stereoscopic 3D?

    Stereoscopic 3D is the future of gaming. In the coming months, we’ll be releasing immersive 3D games like Eyepet, The Fight: Lights Out, Gran Turismo 5, MotorStorm: Apocalypse, Killzone 3, and the Sly Collection, with many more titles in the future.
    In addition, 3rd party publishers will be including stereoscopic 3D in PlayStation®3 games like Mortal Kombat Fatality, Tron Evolution, Shaun White Skateboarding, NBA 2K11 and Crysis 2.

    The following games and demos are already available in stereoscopic 3D through the PlayStation® Store:

    How does stereoscopic 3D work?

    To perceive a 2D image in 3D, a few things have to happen. The image needs to be shown simultaneously from two slightly different angles. Each eye is required to process only one set of images, therefore a filter typically in the form of glasses needs to be used to create the proper effect. Our brain combines the images from both angles to create depth perception which we know as the 3D effect.

    What are 3D Active Glasses?

    Most new 3D televisions utilize 3D Active Glasses and a high-speed television display to generate the 3D effect. 3D active glasses use shutters on the lenses which open and close alternating left- and right-eye images to deliver the most immersive 3D experience imaginable. Put on 3D Active Glasses and watch as images leap right into your living room. And since each frame you see is shown in HD resolution, the 3D action comes alive with razor-sharp detail.

    How do I access 3D content on my PlayStation®3?

    Once you put a Blu-ray™ game or movie in your PS3™, you can access 3D content through the XMB menu like any other game or movie. 3D can be turned on or off from the disc’s menu. Remember to turn on 3D viewing on your TV as well.

    Do I have to use a Sony 3D TV?

    Sony offers great options for 3D televisions in their BRAVIA line, but stereoscopic 3D gaming on the PS3™ will work with most manufacturers’ televisions.

    Certain 3D HDTVs manufactured prior to 2010 use a unique method of processing the 3D signal that is incompatible with the current 3D Blu-ray™ technology. These manufacturers may offer a converter box to address this issue. Please consult your TV owner’s manual or manufacturer’s website for more information.

    I have a flatscreen HDTV that isn’t 3D capable. Can I still play stereoscopic 3D games through my PS3™?

    You must have a 3D capable TV to enjoy games in stereoscopic 3D. However all PS3™ games will still play on your television with the same excellent HD image quality you’ve come to expect.

    If a game is in stereoscopic 3D, can I still play it in 2D on a regular television? Will it look as good?

    Stereoscopic 3D gaming is the ultimate visual gaming experience. But all stereoscopic 3D games for PS3™ come with an option to play it in 2D mode on a regular television. In either case, you can expect the same excellent HD image quality you’ve always known.

    What if I already own a game like WipEout® HD which is now stereoscopic 3D capable, will I have to buy it again to play it in 3D?

    This will depend on the game and the publisher. Many publishers may provide a free downloadable patch which will enable the 3D content.

    I bought a game that said it was in 3D, but it doesn’t look right on my 3D HDTV. What’s wrong?

    Some publishers release games in 3D that use an old technology that does not require a 3D HDTV. This technology typically requires users to wear glasses with two different color lenses to generate the 3D effect. Publishers often include these cardboard 3D glasses with their games. Upon comparison, these games do not look as good as games designed to take advantage of 3D games which require 3D active glasses. Games designed for the best 3D experience on the PS3™ system will have this logo on the box front:

    What resolution does the PS3™ system use to play stereoscopic 3D games?

    In order to create the most immersive visual experience, titles are presented in 720p resolution at 60 fps.

    Can I use any pair of active shutter glasses with my TV?

    You’ll need to use active shutter glasses compatible with your 3D HDTV system. Consult your 3D HDTV owner’s manual or manufacturer’s web resource for guidance.

    Do I need a special HDMI cable?

    For the best viewing experience, we recommend a High Speed HDMI cable capable of handling 10.2 Gbps. However, your current HDMI cable may be able to handle a 3D signal.