PS3 to require HDMI for HD movies, games?

GameStop memo indicates new models of console will require cable format; Sony clarifies HDMI just for high-def movies as part of DRM compliance.

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Source: A GameStop memo leaked to gaming blog Kotaku.

What we heard: The PlayStation 3's built-in Blu-ray player is an irrefutable advantage that Sony has in the current-generation game console race. However, a new rumor suggests Sony will be complicating the PS3's high-definition output for games and movies that make use of Blu-ray discs.

Yesterday, Kotaku reported that it had received an internal memo sent to GameStop employees indicating that Sony would be introducing a new PlayStation 3 SKU, called "K." However, this SKU could be a downgrade of sorts, as it would require PS3 owners to hook up their machine with an HDMI cable--and not a component cable--to "play a game or watch a movie in high-definition."

The HDMI requirement on K models is a DRM mandate.
The HDMI requirement on K models is a DRM mandate.

"Component cables will no longer be able to transfer a high-def picture," the memo reads. It goes on to say that while older PS3 models "A-J" would not require the HDMI cable to view high-definition content, all future PS3 SKUs would. Further, GameStop urged employees to offer HDMI cables with new PS3 sales, stating "the HDMI cables will also help you drive add-on sales."

The official story: As it turns out, the GameStop memo contains both a measure of truth and mistaken information. In a statement provided to Ars Technica, a Sony representative confirmed that while high-definition Blu-ray movie playback will require an HDMI cable, PS3 owners can continue to play games and stream content in high-definition with component cables.

"The new CECH-3000 series PS3 requires HDMI only for BD movie output in HD, in compliance with [Advanced Access Content System] standards," Sony told the website. "PS3 continues to support component output for HD gaming and streaming content." Sony had not responded to GameSpot's request for comment as of press time.

Of note, Sony recently introduced the CECH-3000B SKU to Japan. The model, which boasts a 320GB hard drive, consumes less power--specifically from its original 230W to 200W--and weighs in at 2.6kg.

As Ars notes, the AACS standard is a digital-rights management standard that dictates that full high-def video resolutions must use either HDMI or DVI cables that support high-bandwidth digital content protection (HDCP). All Blu-ray players must phase out component ports by 2014 to comply with the AACS standard.

Bogus or not bogus: Bogus that gamers must use an HDMI cable to play high-definition games or stream high-definition content. Not bogus that those who use new PS3s for watching high-def Blu-ray movies now have a new DRM hurdle to contend with.

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