Retro Video Games and Consoles
Megalong Games > PSP
The PlayStation Portable, officially known as the PSP, is a handheld game console and a product of Sony Computer Entertainment Japan. The PSP was first announced during E? 2003 and was unveiled on May 11th, 2004 at a Sony press conference during E? 2004.
The PSP is intended as an entertainment platform and is currently positioned to play videogames, video content, and digital audio, as well as displaying digital photos. It supports Sony Memory Sticks (PRO Duo) and "Universal Media Discs" instead of traditional solid-state ROM cartridges. Other notable features of the PSP include its WiFi wireless networking support, its rechargeable and removeable battery, its 4.3 inch LCD flat screen, and its sliding flat panel analogue stick.
Technical specifications The unit measures 170 mm (Length) x 74 mm (Width) x 23 mm (Depth), and weighs 260 grams including the battery. The most noticeable element of the PSP is its 4.3" 16:9 ratio TFT LCD screen sporting a 480 x 272 pixel resolution capable of 16.77 million colors.
The PlayStation Portable's CPU is a MIPS R4000 (32-bit) CPU, split into two cores each operating between 1 and 333 MHz; the system has 32MB of main RAM and 4MB of embedded DRAM. The primary CPU core is responsible for traditional game processor functions; the secondary core, dubbed the "Virtual Media Engine", is responsible for decoding multimedia, for example the h.264 decoder.
The independent 166 MHz graphics chip provides hardware polygon and NURBS rendering, clipping, morphing, texture compression and tessellation, along with handling image output. Specifications state that the PSP is capable of rendering 33 million flat-shaded polygons per second, with a 664 million pixel per second fill rate.
Unlike Sony's PlayStation 2 console, the GPU (PS2 Vector Unit equivalent) is not programmable.
Multimedia The PSP is capable of displaying still image, movie and audio files stored on the UMD disk format or a memory stick. The system supports MP3 and Sony's ATRAC-3 plus formats for audio, AVC (H.264) for video, and JPEG images. Sony is reportedly in talks with various studios with regards to producing their content on UMDs; such content is not expected until some time after launch.
Sony has announced that Image Converter 2, a piece of PC software for converting video files to AVC for playback on Clie PDAs, will be available before the end of the year, and may be used with the PSP. A preview version was made available shortly after the PSP launch. It can convert AVI, MPEG1/2/4, Quicktime and WMV movie files to AVC, as well as the "Gigia Pocket" and "Do VAIO" files used by VAIO PCs to record television. It will also convert most common still image files into JPEG format.
An arguably more elegant solution was created by a third party vendor with the creation of iPSP, which allows Macintosh users to quickly convert and queue iTunes and iPhoto, and Macintosh video formats, for use on the PSP. A PC version of the software is said to be in development.
Third-party software has been available for some time which is capable of converting video files into the required AVC format, and early PSP adapters have already been able to play back converted video files from memory stick.
In January 2005, Sony announced the creation of software that allows for watching television broadcasts via WiFi which will be released for the PSP, as well as Sony's portable television sets. Sony plans to add the functionality to PSP in the first half of 2005.
In addition, Sony has unveiled an iTunes-like download capability to be added in the near future to the PSP. Users will be able to use the online component of the PSP to buy songs or albums and listen to them on the PSP, with a similar pricing strategy as iTunes. Downloadable content for games (tracks and vehicles for WipeOut Pure, for example) as well as playable game demos are also promised.