It seemed as though Sony glossed over any sort of new video functionality with 2.60 firmware for the PSP, but it turns out that's not entirely true. In addition to the Podcast and Windows Media Audio support that was added, Sony threw in compatibility for "Copyright-protected video data provided by a content provider or other services." Now it's been cleared up, and we've got an explanation for you after the jump.
Back when 2.00 firmware was announced, So-net (Sony Communication Networks) quietly launched a PSP-centric video distribution service in Japan called Portable TV. At launch, the service featured only free content, but gave the promise of rental-based content in the near future. It turns out that future is now: Sony held a press conference yesterday in Japan to unveil the ďnewĒ version of PortableTV, which is fully compatible with the PSPís browser, thus eliminating the need for a PC to get video from the service. Fire up your PSPís browser, navigate to the site, download videos directly to your Memory Stick Duo, and oogle at the sexiness that is the H.264 codec.
Whatís more? Some of the rental videos are available at a resolution of 480 x 270, dispelling the rumors floating around that such video resolution wasnít possible from a Memory Stick Duo. Donít expect to see video encoders capable of creating compatible video at this resolution anytime soon, though ó not only are the videos distributed by Portable TV heavily encrypted with Sonyís DRM technology (which itself requires firmware 2.60), theyíve made no announcements about updating their PSP Media Manager software to incorporate these new capabilities. Still, weíll keep our fingers crossed.