PS3 FAQ: answers to your PlayStation 3 questions

Updated ·8 min read

Last week we put it to you to put it to us: hit us with your PlayStation 3 (and Wii) questions, and we'll answer them to the best of our abilities. Obviously there's still a lot people want to know, and we got a couple hundred questions about the new consoles. While we weren't able to answer them all (for example, we can't test PAL output since we don't have PAL TVs around the office, sorry!), hopefully this should be enough to keep you occupied during that long, long, mole-infested wait in line tonight. And thanks for the questions!

P.S. -Check out our other list of interesting PS3 facts!

  1. Can you connect and play media from a USB hard drive?

    We know this is the number one question people are asking right now, and we'll tell you this: we connected a thumb drive, and it recognized it. But it wouldn't play any of our MP4 / H.264 video or MP3 audio, so something seemed awry. It wouldn't even find the files on the drive, our PlayStation said there were none. So we're going to have to get back to you on this until we can do some further testing.

    Update: Ittousai's PlayStation does properly read media from USB. Maybe ours is a firmware issue, we're not sure yet.

  2. Does the PS3 really upconvert DVDs?

    Sorry, no, it actually doesn't. We popped in a regular DVD (The Matrix) and it dropped our 1080p display down to 720 x 480p. We pulled it out, and it went back to 1080p. So for right now, the PS3 does not upscale DVDs, but instead just leaves them at extended def. Bummer.

  3. Can the PS3 stream videos, movies, pictures, etc., from a PC?

    No, not currently. This is something we really wanted to see, but they're just not prepared to do yet. If you're Japanese, however, you can download video via P-TV on So-net.

  4. Would the PS3 be good replacement for or complement my Media Center PC?

    That's a pretty subjective question. You can't stream media to or from it; you can copy media to it. But of the consoles, currently Microsoft is closest to getting it right with the Xbox 360 as a Windows Media Connect client, outside Sony's "You only need the PS3, as it is the center for your digital life" angle.

  5. How are the load times without the game install? Does the game install actually speed up load times?

    We tested the install feature with Genji, and here's what we found:

    Initial boot without install: 00:09:11 (9.1 seconds)
    Initial boot with install: (same)
    Load level one without install: 00:15:16
    Load level one with install: 00:10:48
    Load level two without install: 00:16:19
    Load level two with install: 00:10:16
    Time required to go through install: 04:14:79
    Space required by install: 2126MB
    Amount of level loads required to amortize install time: roughly 50

  6. How about compatibility of PS3s sold in Japan / US? Will they run in Europe?

    We know there are a lot of Europeans feeling slighted by Sony's slashed console quantities and delayed Euro launch. Unfortunately, Europe is Blu-ray region 2, whereas the US and Japan are region 1. Games, however, are supposedly region-free, so if you don't mind not being able to watch Blu-ray movies, and can speak the language, your European power shouldn't fry your US or Japanese PS3's power supply.

  7. Can you change the [Blu-ray] region on the PlayStation 3 menu?

    Sorry, nope! Sony is trying to stop gray-market importing, remember?

  8. How long are the standard composite AV cables?

    Ours were 99-inches tip to tip, or about 95-inches of cable (that'd be 8-feet or so).

  9. Can you do HD in a 4:3 ratio? My 62-inch Samsung projection HDTV is 4:3, but supports 1080i.

    There isn't an aspect ratio setting in the display settings menu, only resolution. The supported resolutions over HDMI are 480p, 720p, 1080i, and 1080p.

  10. Can your PS3 fold (Folding@Home) out of the box, or is that coming in a later update?

    That will be a piece of software you download on the PlayStation network. It will be free.

  11. How easy is it for the PS3 to collect fingerprints/dust? Is it already a dust magnet?

    Within a day our PS3 was covered in dust. Probably no more actual phsyical dust than any other gadget -- it's not attracting it -- but the gloss and finish make it extremely visible. Same with fingerprints. Luckily, unless you're moving your PS3 all the time, it's one of those devices you just don't really have to touch very often.

  12. Can you really install other OSs onto your PS3?

    Yes, according to Sony you can install any PowerPC-capable Linux build. Yellow Dog Linux, however, is the most prominently supported distro announced to date.

  13. Does it come with Yellow Dog Linux?

    No, YDL 5.0, the version of Yellow Dog that supports the PS3, isn't due out until November 27th. Even then you'll probably have to get it from them or download it.

  14. Do the PS3 can play all (or a big part of) PS2 games?

    There have been scattered reports that many PS2 games aren't working properly with the PlayStation 3 in Japan, but firmware updates are being produced to alleviate these issues. Ultimately Sony's goal is 100% backwards compatibility, although we haven't yet seen a running compatibility list.

  15. Can the PS3 video ouput be set to 16:10 instead of 16:9 so as to be connected to a 1920x1200 as apposed to a 1920x1080 display?

    It only supports TV resolutions, so your monitor will probably have to upscale 720p.

  16. Do Google web apps (Gmail, Maps, Calendar, etc.) play nice with the PS3 web browser?

    We tried the lot of them, here's what we found: Gmail works in basic HTML mode, we didn't get it going in its full AJAXy form. Google maps worked well, draggable maps and all, but the format was messed up -- no search, no address entry. It was very weird. Calendar ran our browser out of memory the first time (huh?), but the second time it loaded -- awfully. So to answer your question, your mileage may vary with the fun AJAXy sites, but Google web apps didn't work too hot.

  17. How does the PS3's browser do on the ACID2 test? Have you seen any problems with page rendering?

    Ha. Horribly. Most pages render ok, but not the ACID2 test, m'friend.

  18. Does the SIXAXXIS have a sync button? What happens if you try to associate the PS3 controller with a PC using Bluetooth?

    It syncs via USB to the PS3, there isn't a sync button, like with the Xbox 360 and Wii.

  19. How is the SIXAXIS controller's tilt sensor?

    It works, but we honestly haven't played any games that implemented it very well yet. Wait and see, it's not a Wii-like scenario where motion-sensing is requisite for out-of-the-box play. Some games even allow you to turn it off (which is a bad sign in vouching for its necessity over, say, rumble).

  20. What is the extent of the motion sensing for the PS3 controller? Will it be as dramatic as the Wii's?

    It's a fundamentally different approach. The PlayStation 3 controller is a PlayStation controller first, a motion sensing device second. It probably won't ever be as dramatic as the Wii's motion sensing, but that doesn't mean it can't be immersive.

  21. Can you turn the console on and off remotely with the controller like you can with the Xbox 360?

    Yes. Just hold the PlayStation button and it'll give you a similar prompt to quit the game, shut off the controller, or shut off the console.

  22. Does the PS3 network allow users to upload their own icons or avatars or whatever is used in the friends list?

    We didn't see a method, no. Users are presented with a very long avatar list to choose from. We assume that list will grow with time.

  23. Is there a hard switch to turn off the Wifi on PS3?

    Not that we've seen -- it's software only.

  24. Does the PS3 include an EyeToy?

    No, but your PS2 EyeToy will work on your PS3.

  25. What happens if you put a disc in upside down?

    Nothing much, that's for sure. It tries to read it for a few minute, then stops trying. No error, and it doesn't spit it out. Of course, that may change with future updates. Oh, and our disc was in absolutely perfect condition when it came back out.

  26. Could you hook the PS3 up to the Dell 2405/7 with a DVI-HDMI Cable and take pics?

    Sorry Dell fans; if your monitor doesn't support HDCP, you're totally out of luck. No 1080p for you if you've got a 2404, but you'll be fine with a 2407. Gateway users, on the other hand, are good to go (after they snag that a DVI-HDMI adapter).

Hope that helps! Let us know if you've got another head-scratcher. And no, we don't know where you can get one, sorry.