PS3: HD cables not included

Gamers looking to get the best picture out of Sony's premium PlayStation 3 package will need to shell out extra for proper hookups.

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The price of Sony's upcoming PlayStation 3 has been the subject of much debate. The system will come in $499 and $599 packages, the latter including a larger hard drive, built-in wireless network capabilities, and an HDMI port. However, according to Sony's own official PS3 Web site, the system won't come with the cables necessary to carry an HDMI signal, or any high-definition signal, for that matter.

According to the double-asterisked bit of small print on the page, "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."

HDMI is a video/audio interface that allows high-def content to be displayed in uncompressed form over a single cable. It also supports High-bandwidth Digital Content Protection (HDCP), an antipiracy measure expected to be encoded into Blu-ray discs. Those discs will also make use of Image Constraint Token (ICT) technology, which would artificially reduce the output resolution of any signal not sent over a secured connection like HDMI.

Currently, Microsoft's premium Xbox 360 comes packed with an HD component video cable, while purchasers of the Xbox 360 core system get a standard A/V cable and can pick up HD-compatible cables for $39.99. GameStop is also currently accepting preorders for a "universal" game-console HDMI cable that will cost $99.99. [UPDATE: The GameStop HDMI cable listing has since been pulled.]

That said, the premium PlayStation 3 has a standard HDMI output, meaning it can use regular HDMI cables. Those can be found for far lower prices on sites such as eBay, where a 15-foot HDMI-to-HDMI cable can go for under $10.

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