When Sony gave out the specs on the PS3 earlier tonight, the company mentioned that there would be two configurations: a $500 version with a 20GB hard drive and a $600 edition with a 60GB drive. Turns out that was only half the story. Yes, that pricing and storage info is accurate. But it turns out that there are a lot of other things missing from the lower-end (we can't bring ourselves to call a $500 console "cheap") version, besides an extra 40GB of storage. According to the specs released by Sony, the 20GB version will lack WiFi, a memory card reader and, most significantly, HDMI output. While you could probably get along without WiFi in a home-based console that already has Ethernet, and you can always presumably hook up a memory card reader via one of the unit's four USB ports, the lack of HDMI output makes this pretty much a non-starter for anyone hoping to actually use the PS3's Blu-ray drive for anything more than playing games. Sure, we can understand Sony not wanting to undercut sales of its own dedicated Blu-ray players by offering the $500 PS3 as a cheaper alternative. But if the company was hoping to use the gaming platform as a way to build a base of fans for HD discs, chances are the strategy is going to backfire the first time someone tries playing a Blu-ray flick in their 20GB version and discovers that the unit's lack of HDMI limits them to analog 1080i output (or worse, depending on a disc's use of HDCP).

[Via HD Beat]

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