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Sony preps fix-filled PS3 firmware update

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Sony has confirmed that the next release of the PlayStation 3 firmware, version 1.9, will be available in the US "in the next few days". It's already been released to Japanese console owners, and will almost certainly come to Europe shortly.

Firmware 1.9 will allow users to customise their XMB - the PS3's answer to a computer's desktop - with their own snaps. XMB's game listing can be modified too.

Videos encoded in the AVHCD format and store on Memory Stick media - or still on the camcorder, for that matter - can now be played by the PS3. The console also gains the ability to upscale the sampling rate of audio to 44.1kHz, 88.2kHz and even 176.4kHz - provided, of course, the PS3's connected to the output device by HDMI or digital audio cable.

Speaking of HDMI, Firmware 1.9 brings cinema's 24fps playback rate to the PS3, again provided your TV supports it and the Blu-ray Disc you're playing is so encoded. The PS3's video settings can be changed while you're playing a game.

Finally, PlayStation Network chat gets emoticons, and there's now an 'eject disc' entry in the XMB Options menu.

Sony last updated the PS3's firmware, to version 1.8, in May.

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