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Sony Quiet About PS3 During CES

Out in Las Vegas, the 2006 Consumer Electronics Show is winding down this weekend. Sony hasn't said much about the PlayStation 3 at the show. Instead, the company's CES push has revolved around high-definition displays and the forthcoming Blu-Ray Disc media format.

Fans of Blu-Ray Disc have much to look forward to this spring, and on into the summer. Players from Sony, Samsung, and other vendors will be rolling out at roughly $1,000-and-up, and initial movie titles will include Robocop, House of Flying Daggers, Kill Bill, Terminator 2: Judgment Day, and Underworld: Evolution.

Although a disc-based format like DVD, Blu-Ray media trumps DVD with regards to both storage capacity and display resolution. A typical Blu-Ray disc can hold 50 Gigabytes, compared to 8GB for a dual-layer DVD. Furthermore, display resolutions for Blu-Ray include 720progressive and 1080interlaced. DVD tops out at 480progressive, although high-end players can "upconvert" the image for display on high-definition displays. The higher the number of pixels, the sharper and clearer the image looks. The main reasoning behind Blu-Ray is that it affords the space required for the high-definition movies that customers will eventually want to watch on their 50-inch and larger HDTV sets.

On the PlayStation 3 front, Sony is keeping quiet. Few new details were revealed at CES 2006.

During a media presentation yesterday, Sony CEO Howard Stringer once again re-affirmed the company's plans for a "Spring 2006" launch (presumably in Japan) and showed off a re-vamped demo reel containing footage of Motor Storm and Vision Gran Turismo. Viewers were wowed by the realistic mud and damage models exhibited by Motor Storm, and a mild hush came over the crowd as the cars from Gran Turismo zoomed around a spectator-filled track.

It was also mentioned that nearly 4,000 development kits have been distributed to developers during the previous six months.

Still, the number one question we've been hearing from reporters and attendees alike is "when?" Sony sure isn't saying. That "Spring 2006" launch date is vague at best. Not only could it refer to the span of days between March 21st and June 21st, it could also refer to an artificial time-frame based on fiscal quarters.

Sony has a media-only shindig planned for mid-February, and has procured a large floor space at the upcoming Game Developers Conference in March. Most likely, definitive information about the PlayStation 3's launch window will be revealed at either of these two events.

1/6/2006 Frank Provo

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