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If you’ve got a PSP you’ll instantly feel at home when you switch on your PS3, since it uses the same graphical user interface, the XMB or Cross Memory Bar. I always thought that the Xbox 360 had a very well laid out and intuitive user interface, but the XMB in the PS3 just makes it so easy to get to what you need as quickly as possible. When you switch the PlayStation 3 on for the first time and realise just how many options and settings are at your disposal, you’ll then soon discover that the XMB interface really is the perfect solution.
Just like on the PSP, the XMB is split into several main categories such as Settings, Photo, Music, Video and Game. All the categories are pretty self explanatory – the Game setting will show you the game that is currently loaded in the Blu-ray drive, while also listing each and every game and demo that you may have downloaded to the hard disk. As each game is highlighted, the entire screen takes on that persona and you’re treated to an animation in the game window. Likewise, the Video category will list a Blu-ray or DVD movie if one is in the drive, while also providing an indication of every movie that happens to be on your hard disk. Although the PS3 will play multiple video formats, it won’t playback DivX or XviD, which is a real disappointment but no different to the Xbox 360.
The PS3 will playback music in ATRAC, MP3 and AAC formats, while it will view images in JPEG format. I had a bit of trouble getting the PlayStation 3 to recognise any images or music at first though – no matter whether I used an SD card, CompactFlash or USB key, the PS3 simply refused to see anything the external devices. Then I remembered the annoying file structure that your MemoryStick had to use for the PSP to recognise anything on it. Sure enough, when I put my photos in a folder called Picture and my music in a folder called Music, the PS3 miraculously found all my media. Surely Sony could just convince the PS3 to search the whole of an external drive, rather than implement this annoying and tedious file structure on us again? Perhaps in the next firmware update.
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