Following its crowd-pleasing showing at the E3 entertainment expo, Sony has revealed the full specification of its next generation PlayStation 4 games console. Set to go head-to-head with Microsoft’s Xbox One, these details bring us a step closer to understanding the full capabilities of this new machine.
The first part of this article looked at the main and graphics processors, internal storage, RAM and the integrated Blu-ray optical drive. Here we deal with the video and sound output, connectivity specifications, the DualShock 4 controller and the included and optional accessories that will be available.
Video and Audio Output
When the PS3 and Xbox 360 were released, analogue connections were the most prevalent ways of connecting your console to your TV. Display technology has progressed at an alarming rate over the past few years, and as a result the PS4 only has digital outputs. For video, an HDCP-encrypted HDMI port is the only option, whilst for sound there is, in addition to audio over the HDMI output, a Toslink SPDIF optical connection.
Wired and Wireless Connectivity
Wireless options on the PlayStation 4 will be in the form of built in 802.11 b/g/n wireless network connectivity and integrated Bluetooth 2.1. Wired connections come on the form of a gigabit Ethernet port (also backwards compatible with 10BASE-T and 100BASE-TX), two USB 3.0 ports and a bespoke auxiliary port used for connection to the PlayStation Camera motion detection device.
The controller (see below for more details) uses Bluetooth 2.1+EDR technology to achieve a wireless connection, although the USB port can be used for charging and playing games with a low battery level. The USB ports maintain a power supply even when the console is turned off.
DualShock 4 is the new standard PS4 controller and contains several new features over its predecessor, the DualShock 3. The first is a built-in clickable capacitive touch pad on the front of the controller. Another new feature is a light bar across the front of the device that is capable of displaying different colours and can be used for things such as identifying players in multi-player games or to indicate low battery level. The light bar is also used by the external camera to measure movement and depth. Improved motion detection using a three-axis gyroscope and three-axis accelerometer along with an improved vibration function also feature.
Some of the buttons have been revised. The START and SELECT buttons have been removed and replaced by a single OPTIONS button whilst a SHARE button has been introduced, presumably to allow the uploading of pictures, video or statistics from their games. The joysticks and triggers have also been redesigned.
The controller features a 3.5mm stereo jack and a micro USB port for charging and connection to the console when there is insufficient charge in the controller to continue playing wirelessly.
With regards to backwards compatibility of controllers, PlayStation Move controllers will be supported on the new console, however the DualShock 3 will not be compatible with PS4. Sony will include one free PS4 controller with the console, with additional units available at a cost of $59 USD or £44 GBP.
In addition to the DualShock 4 wireless controller (see above), The Sony PS4 will come with a free mono headset that can be plugged into the controller. Despite the free headset being mono, the connection jack on the controller is capable of outputting a stereo signal.
A HDMI cable will also be included with the PS4 package, although due to the omission of analogue ports on the console no other video cables are included, although the user could purchase some sort of digital to analogue converter if this is the only connection option open to them.
The PlayStation 4 Eye camera will not be included with the standard retail package, but will be available as an accessory for $59 USD or £54 GBP.
This concludes our look at the technical specifications of the Sony PlayStation 4. Look out for other articles comparing the new consoles with that of its main rival, the Xbox One.