You seem to be on top of all this stuff, Dave, so tell me: should I upgrade the firmware on my Sony Playstation Portable (PSP) to the latest 2.60 release from Sony, or should I stick with 1.50? I’m not entirely clear of the tradeoffs.
This is a question that I see a lot, actually. Sony already has a reputation of being in the forefront of the war over digital rights management (e.g., technological solutions that ensure illegal copies of music, games and videos aren’t playable or viewable) and so it should be no surprise that the price you pay for upgrading your firmware in the Sony PSP is that you have less and less ability to hack, experiment or exploit the capabilities of your handheld unit.
On the other hand, there’s no question that the last few firmware releases from Sony have added a raft of fabulous and invaluable new features and capabilities, not the least of which is a surprisingly full-featured Web browser.
For example, when Sony released firmware 2.0, here’s what was added to the PSP’s capabilities:
- An Internet browser has been added.
- 4:3 Screen Mode has been added (for video saved on Memory Stick Duo media).
- Go To feature has been added (for UMDVIDEO and UMDMUSIC).
- A-B Repeat feature has been added (for UMDVIDEO, UMDMUSIC and video saved on Memory Stick Duo media).
- Audio options have been added (for video saved on Memory Stick Duo media).
- MP4 (AVC) has been added as a playable file format (for video saved on Memory Stick Duo media).
- The combination of SonicStage version 3.2 (or later) and PSP system software 2.00 (or later) has made it possible for music files in ATRAC3 plus format to be transferred to a Memory Stick PRO Duo
- MP4 (the audio codec for MP4 format audio files is MPEG-4 AAC) and WAV (Linear PCM) have been added as playable file formats (for music saved on Memory Stick Duo media).
- Wallpaper feature has been added.
- Image transfer feature has been added.
- TIFF, GIF, PNG and BMP have been added as viewable file formats.
- [Character Set] has been added in [System Settings].
- [Theme Settings] has been added.
- [Internet Browser Start Control] has been added as a security mode in [Security Settings].
- WPA-PSK (TKIP) has been added as a security mode in [Network Settings].
Then, in October 2005, Sony released firmware 2.50, which added:
- [LocationFree Player] has been added as a feature under [Network].
- Settings for [Text Size] and [Display Mode] in [Internet Browser] can now be saved.
- The input history of online forms accessed through [Internet Browser] can now be saved.
- [Set via Internet] has been added as an option to [Date and Time] in [Date & Time Settings] under [Settings].
- [WPA-PSK (AES)] has been added as a security method under [Network Settings].
The most recent firmware release as of this writing is 2.60, which builds on the previous list and now includes:
- [RSS Channel] has been added as a feature under [Network].
- [Volume Adjustment] has been added as an option in the [LocationFree Player] control panel.
- Music data in WMA (Windows Media Audio) format can now be played under [Music]. (This applies to music saved on Memory Stick Duo media.)
- [Enable WMA Playback] has been added as a setting under [System Settings].
I realize that this is confusing. In fact, I’m still running with firmware 2.50 even though the newer release is available. Nothing added is sufficiently compelling to make me upgrade as of yet.
Fortunately, there’s a splendid comparison table of Sony PSP firmware that University at Buffalo PhD student Kevin Lim has produced that will give you yet another perspective on this matter: RSS: Should We Upgrade?
This is a long, involved answer. I hope it’s helpful.
When you are ready to upgrade your firmware, realize that there are two ways you can do so, as detailed in these two articles: