Sony PS3’s HD Output – Dual or Single?

At last year’s E3 (2005), Sony announced and demonstrated (via simulation) the PS3 running with two simultaneous HD displays. That’s two 1080p displays. Side by side that might be enough to fill your peripheral vision (if the displays are large enough and you’re close enough to them when playing on the PS3. It was enough to make me drool and start contemplating building a separate PS3 entertainment room.

However, when Sony released the specifications for the forthcoming PS3 models at this year’s E3, curiously, the low end model did not even offer an HDMI port for digital HD out (Sony has recently asserted that the low-end PS3 will support 1080p HD output via the component video out ports on this model). The high end PS3 would offer just a single HDMI port as well as component video out. And nowhere was there any mention of the dual HD display support Sony had touted just the year before.

I had been trying to get someone at Sony to confirm that the dual screen HD support is definitely out on the PS3 as presently specified, but even that has proven challenging. I’ve been passed around, and no firm answers are forthcoming. I’ve found, typically, when a question is dodged, the answer is rarely in the affirmative.

In other words, it appears likely that the only dual screen support the PS3 may possibly have is the kind shown in the photo below, where a PSP can display content sent to it via WiFi from a PS3 (in this image, the PSP is used as a side view mirror of the car in the racing game):

I don’t see the PSP feature being all that useful, as you can’t hold a PSP while also using the two-handed PS3 controller, and mounting it on your HD TV might be problematic for a number of reasons.

I’m personally disappointed by the PS3’s apparent lack of support of two HD displays, but another part of me is breathing a sigh of relief that I may not have to spend a large chunk of money on a second display or heavy remodeling or building. The reality is that while two simultaneous displays would be a cool thing, they aren’t particularly practical, and it’s doubtful that many games would support such a high end configuration. And, considering the PS3’s higher price, I suspect Sony is doing all it can to cut out features that would be used by few.