Michael Samson writes from the Philippines with some interesting questions about the PlayStation 3:
1. In order to get 5.1 audio, do I need to attach the PS3 to an A/V receiver? I tried connecting the HDMI out from the PS3 to the HDMI in on my Sony LCD TV and then left and right analog audio out from the TV to my Sony 5.1 home theater in a box (which has no HDMI input), but no sound came from the speakers. I tried the same setup with our Wii, and the sound came out.
2. If I am able to accomplish this, can the HTB assign the TV's audio out to the respective rear and front speakers?
3. Do you know if the PS3 is region-coded?
By the way, I found a website that lists region-free and region-coded Blu-ray discs.
Hmmm, some interesting questions, Michael. Let's take them one at a time:
1. I don't know why the connection scheme you describe works with the Wii but not the PS3; perhaps the TV does not send a certain handshaking message via HDMI that the PS3 expects but the Wii does not. In any event, it will certainly not give you 5.1-channel sound from Blu-ray discs. The only way to do that is to get an A/V receiver with HDMI I/O (input/output). Connect the PS3's HDMI output to the AVR's HDMI input and the AVR's HDMI output to the TV. The AVR will play the 5.1 audio from the disc and the TV will display the high-def picture.
I normally recommend getting an AVR that can decode the new Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD audio formats, but in your case, it's not necessary because the PS3 can't send these bitstreams to the AVR. Still, it's probably a good idea to get an AVR with these capabilities anyway to be ready for any new source devices you might get in the future. Based on UAV's reviews, the best inexpensive AVRs that can do this are from Onkyo.
2. If your HTB provides synthesized surround modes such as Dolby Pro Logic IIx or DTS Neo:6, it can artificially expand the right and left channels to 5.1, but this is not true 5.1 audio. The only way to hear true 5.1 is to use a 5.1-channel AVR.
3. The PS3 is region-locked, which means it will only play Blu-ray discs coded for the same region in which the console was purchased. Of course, it will also play BDs that have no region coding, of which there is a surprising number.
There are three distinct Blu-ray regions:
A: East Asia (except mainland China and Mongolia), Southeast Asia, North America, South America, and their dependencies.
B: Africa, Southwest Asia, Europe (except Russia and Kazakhstan), Oceania, and their dependencies.
C: Central Asia, East Asia (mainland China and Mongolia only), South Asia, Europe (Russia and Kazakhstan only), and their dependencies.
Regarding which studios release their titles with or without region coding, Wikipedia says:
Major studios have different region coding policies. Paramount Pictures and Universal Studios have released all of their titles region free. Sony Pictures and Warner Bros have released most of their titles region free, however the titles released by Warner which are region coded, come from their New Line sub-division. Lionsgate and Walt Disney Pictures have released a mix of titles that were region free and region coded. 20th Century Fox has released all but one of their titles region coded.
However, since the demise of the HD DVD format which did not support region coding, the majority of Blu-ray releases are now region coded.
Thanks for the link to a website that identifies which titles are region-coded and which are region-free.