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PlayStation 4 Secrets

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This webpage provides information on the Sony PlayStation 4 console that will probably arrive sometime in 2011 the earliest. It will be updated regularly as more PS4 secrets are uncovered in the public, so visit often for the latest scoop. Please link to this webpage, rather than copy the contents. If you have a secret, you can leave a forum message at: PS4 Discussion Forum. Because the PS4 can run PS3 games (in High Definition, not Standard Definition mode like NTSC and PAL), you should visit the PS3 Secrets webpage for PS3 specific information.

Before going into the details, the following chart describes the evolution of PlayStation consoles. With this chart in mind, it is easier to understand the technology discussed many parts of this webpage.

PlayStation Evolution Chart

Technology PS1 PS2 PS3 PS4
Disc CD DVD Blu-ray Holographic Disc (HVD)
Audio Stereo Dolby Digital 5.1 Lossless 7.1 Channel Lossless 9.1 Channel
Storage 1MB Flash 8MB Flash 20GB-160GB Harddrive 220GB-1TB Harddrive, Flash, External
Storage Speed NA NA 1.5Gb/s (SATA-150) 6Gb/s (SATA-600)
Color Depth True Color True Color True Color, Deep Color Full Deep Color
Color Space BT.601 BT.601 sRGB, BT.709, x.v.Color x.v.Color
Controller Vibration Vibration Wireless, Vibration, Motion Sense Wireless, Vibration, Motion Sense (3D), Wind, Shock
Internet None 10/100Base-T wired 1000BASE-T wired, Wi-Fi 802.11b/g wireless 100 Gbit Eithernet wired, Wi-Fi 802.11b/g/n wireless
Display SDTV (640x480i) SDTV (640x480p NTSC / PAL) HDTV (1920x1080p) QF-HDTV (3830x2160p)
System RAM 2MB 32MB 256MB XDR 1024MB GDDR4

The PS4 brings along with it next generation gaming with enhanced feedback and sensors for better gaming experiences. It is easier to illustrate these new experiences by giving examples from six game types: an astronaut game; a skydiving game; a regular first person shooter game; a swimming game, and a fighting game, and a dancing game. A game having all elements of the above, would be even better. The motion detection on your four limbs in 3D (two hands, two feet, and your head) allows the game to detect your location, rotation, and force/velocity of movement. In the astronaut scenario, suppose you are in a game where you are inside a space module about to do a spacewalk outside. As soon as you step outside, where you move your arms and feet will coorespond to your avatar on screen. You can probably be lying down or standing while moving your limbs, but your actual on-screen avatar arms, legs, and head will correllate to how you position them in real life. Lets say you are in a slow tumble in space, and you need to move your arm in a certain direction, in a certain time frame, to grab onto the handle bar on the craft, or you will fly off into space during an emergency. Perhaps you also need to install a module into a satellite and you need to SLOWLY and ACCURATELY move your hands in certain direction and motion to get the device inserted correctly, or you will break the device or put too much force into the satellite that it will make the satellite go off orbit. (Similarly, in a swimming game the correct stroke movement will lets you go faster, while wrong ones will slow you down). When you are rotating in space, if your face happens to face the sun, you will get a bright flash in your eyes that makes it hard to see things. This can happing in any game where you face the sun, a bright light, get hit with a photon weapon directly on your head, or get hit with a flash-bang grenade (which will provide shock as well on your limbs). In skydiving, if you move your four limbs close to your body, you will dive faster, and spreading them out will slow down your descent. Rotating your head will let you see direction, similar to how the right stick is used in last generation games. Rotating your limbs ever so slightly left or right will make you drift to the left and right while diving down to earth. When your face is facing down, you will get air blown in your face. (and depending on how many fans, you may get blown in different directions depending on which direction your face is facing earth by detecting your head direction). The air feedback is also good for games where you are running fast, flying in a plane, or scenarios where you are picking up speed (like in a sports car with top down or windows down). When you land without a parachute you will not only get a vibration, but a minor shock on all limbs to let you feel the punishment of death. Similar with first person shooters, some weapons are shock weapons (lightning), and when you get hit, you will get a shock where you got hit with the lightning bolt. Shocking provides punishment feedback whereas vibration just provides regular environmental feedback. The fighting game has obvious benefits, moving your left hand will hit with left, move your right foot will kick with right foot, etc. Similarly, in the dancing game, how you place your feet (and in some cases your hands) allows you to dance correctly. In essense these next generation feedback and sensors will usher in next generation gaming for the end user.

Table of Contents

Clicking on a link in the Table of Contents takes you to the selected topic, and while there, if you click on the topic title, it will take you back to this Table of Contents.
PS4 Discussion Forum

PS4 Model Differences

The following chart describes the basic differences between various PS4 model numbers. All PS4 models have PS1 compatibility via software emulation. Some PS2 games can be emulated via software. For PS3 compatibility, the PS4 should run them without any problems as they are binary compatible. The chart is semi-ranked from most important to least important feature, taking into consideration possibility of adding back a missing feature. Pink entries indicate not officially released.

Model (Prefix) WiFi: 802.11 b/g/n Cell2/RSX2 Max Watts USB Ports CD/DVD Support Harddrive First Released
CECKA b/g/n 45nm/55nm 180 4 Yes 360GB Nov, 2011
CECKB b/g/n 45nm/55nm 200 4 Yes 220GB Nov, 2011
CECKC b/g/n 45nm/55nm 180 4 Yes 360GB Nov, 2011
CECKD b/g/n 45nm/55nm 200 4 Yes 220GB
CECKE b/g/n 45nm/55nm 180 4 Yes 400GB Aug, 2012
CECKF b/g/n 45nm/55nm 180 4 Yes 400GB
CECKG b/g 32nm/45nm 130 2 No 300GB Oct, 2012
CECKH b/g 32nm/45nm 130 2 No 300GB Oct, 2012
CECKI b/g 32nm/45nm 130 2 No 300GB
CECKJ b/g 32nm/45nm 110 2 No 300GB Aug, 2012
CECKK b/g 32nm/45nm 110 2 No 400GB Aug, 2012
CECKL b/g 32nm/45nm 110 2 No 400GB Aug, 2012
CECKM b/g 32nm/45nm 110 2 No 400GB Aug, 2012
CECKN b/g 32nm/45nm 110 2 No 400GB
CECKO b/g 32nm/45nm 110 2 No 400GB
CECKP b/g 32nm/45nm 110 2 No 1TB Oct, 2013

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Note that the PS4 model number prefix from above needs a two digit number appended at the end to designate a region. Therefore, append a two digit Code (suffix) from below to arrive at the actual PS4 model number. For example, a Japanese 360GB PS4 would be designated CECKA00, while the one in North America would be designated CECKA01.

Code (Suffix) Region First Release Date First Model Released PS4 Region HVD/Blu-ray Region
00 Japan Nov 11,2011 CECKA00 NTSC A
01 North America Nov 17, 2011 CECKA01 NTSC A
02 Australia / New Zealand Mar 23/23, 2012 CECKC02 PAL B
03 U.K. / Ireland Mar 23, 2012 CECKC03 PAL B
04 Europe / Middle East / Africa Mar 23/22/23, 2012 CECKC04 PAL B
05 South Korea Jun 16, 2012 CECKE05 NTSC A
06 Singapore / Malaysia Mar 07, 2012 CECKA06 NTSC A
07 Taiwan Nov 17, 2011 CECKA07 NTSC A
08 Russia / India Apr 20/27, 2012 CECKC08 PAL C
09 China PAL C
10 ?
11 Mexico Aug 27, 2012 CECKE11 NTSC A
12 Hong Kong Nov 17, 2011 CECKA12 NTSC A

Sometimes special promotions are created by Sony that introduce or bundle new color, games, or peripherals with a PS4. These promotional PS4 often have additional suffixes added to the model numbers. For example: CECKE01 MG. Although extra games or peripherals are included, the basic PS4 machine follows the same specs as the model prefix. So in this case, the example PS4 above would have the same specs as a CECKE PS4. The following is a chart listing the special models.

Code (Suffix) Description
CW Ceramic White PS4
MG Metal Gear Solid 5 Game included
SS Satin Silver PS4

Sometimes promotional PS4 are released. Included in these special one-time offers are the Metal Gear Solid PS4 bundles released in Japan. CEJK-10001, CEJK-10002, and CEJK-10003.

Special PS4 Models

The PS4 also comes in two different flavors for developers and retailers.

PS4 Test Unit

Developers get a PS4 Test Unit that allows it to run unsigned code. The machine is labelled Test below the PlayStation 4 logo, and it comes with a testkit. The PS4 model numbers for developers are similar to the the ones for consumers, but instead of the CECK prefix, the model numbers have the DECK prefix. Unlike retail units, a PS4 Test Unit has an extra “Settings”->”Debug Settings” menu in the XMB, which allows many options like downgrading to previous PS4 Test firmwares, changing the PS4 HVD region, and treating a USB drive as a HVD drive,.

PS4 Tool Unit

Developers can also get a PS4 Tool Unit that comes with an extra internal harddrive, and a full devkit. This unit has extra hardware on board that listens to port 1000, and connecting to this port with a webbrowser opens up a system configuration page.

PS4 Demonstration Unit

Retailers can obtain a PS4 Demonstration Unit for shop display that puts the machine in a special mode that allows playing PS4 games for only a limited time before rebooting. These Demonstration units can have their Demonstration firmware updated to newer versions by connecting to the internet.
Although the PS4 Demonstration Unit is locked into demonstration mode, you can unlock this mode by entering a secret unlock code. To unlock, navigate the XMB and highlight the Settings->Security Settings icon. Then press and hold these four buttons: L2, R2, Select, and Square. You will be prompted to enter a four digit security code. You should enter the corresponding security code corresponding to the firmware version installed (displayed on the corner of the screen).
You can force the machine to go back to demonstration mode by pressing the four button combo again, or turning off and on the PS4. Note that Demonstration PS4 units have certain features disabled. For example, you are not allowed to access the PlayStation Store.

HVD, Blu-ray, DVD, PS4, PS3, PS2, and PlayStation (PSone) compatibility with PS4

The above PS4 Model chart also displays the compatibility of PS4 with the various video and games formats.

Game compatibility

PS4 games (on Holographic HVD discs) are not region locked, but they are released and labelled with numerical regions codes (which seems to match Blu-ray region codes). Any PS4 game from any region will play in any PS4. However, there is the special situation when you try to play back the game in High Definition. If your display only has High Definition (720p, 1080i, 1080p) support, your PS4 game must have the same High Definition support, or you won’t be able to play it. This is not a problem if you have a Quad Full High Definition (QFHD) display that allows 1440p, 2160i, and 2160p support in QF-HDTVs, but there exists the possibility to region lock (based on HVD game region) games if the publisher decides to do so. All PS4 games have a serial number containing a four character prefix, followed by a five digit suffix. The following are the common prefix for PS4 games:

Prefix Description
HCAS First Party, Asia
HCJS First Party, Japan
HLAS Third Party, Asia
HLJM Third Party, Japan
HLJS Third Party, Japan
HCUS First Party, US
HLUS Third Party, US
HCES First Party, Europe
HLES Third Party, Europe

The first letter indicates the storage format. Normally, it is H for Holographic disc format. Other formats may include B=Blu-ray. The second letter indicates if the game is first party (C = Sony), or licensed from third party (L = others). The third letter indicates: A=Asia, J=Japan, U=United States, or E=Europe. The last letter indicates the type: D = Demo, S = Game, M = ?. Note that for some third party games, Sony may take it and repackage with appropriate material for other territories, thus the game become first party as well.

The PS4 supports PS2 games via emulation when you download from the PlayStation Network. Disc based PS2 games are not supported. Not all titles can be emulated, so some titles will never be in the PlayStation Network Store.

The PS4 supports all PS1 games, as long as they are downloadable from the PlayStation Network Store. Disc based PS1 games are not supported.

Movie compatibility

For HVD video, the discs are divided into three (A, B, or C) main regions which must match the region of your PS4 for playback. The initial HVD discs that were released supported region codes, but were not enforced, so a PS4 can play HVD discs from any region (this might change in the future).

Compatibility Notes

Note that HVD and Blu-ray uses the same region coding methods and country division.

As for model releases and dates, note that although the PS4 was not officially released in China, the majority of them are actually made there, so you can find all sorts of models in that country. The region codes for China designate what they should be if an official PS4 was released.

PS4 Audio

The PS4 supports many different audio formats, either disc based, network streaming, or via fixed and removable flash storage like the internal harddrive and external memory cards. In addition, because most of the advanced audio support is done via software on the Cell2, the feature list is constantly changing. The following information is based on the latest firmware at the time of this writing. Feel free to come back for updates to the compatibility charts that follows. You need to purchase an Audio (and/or Video) Receiver that support “HDMI2 in” to enjoy 5.1, 7.1, or 9.1 surround channels. Basic HDMI2 1.1 that has 9.1 outputs for speakers (and a passthrough HDMI2 for the video to your QF-HDTV) is recommended. 9.1 channels is like 7.1, but two extra speakers are for surround speakers on top of your head and below your seat. Because of the various ways to connect your speakers to the PS4, how you choose the connection determines the quality of the audio output. Disc storage of music became obsolete with the introduction of downloadable music from the internet. Now all retail music is bought digitally over the internet. There are two main stages in the PS3 to get audio (in digital form on your harddrive) to your speakers (in analog form).

Stage Process Resultant Format PS4 Connection Connection Type
1 Obtain digital audio (encoded and compressed) from storage device Bitstream HDMI2 Digital
2 Decode and uncompress digital audio Linear PCM HDMI2 Digital

Digital versus Analog

The PS4 can do all of the stages above, but depending on the connection, it may skip some of the later stages if you have the right equipment that can handle it. The main audio output on the PS4 is the HDMI2. HDMI2 is a digital connection. HDMI2 can support more than two channels of audio (up to 9.1 for HDMI2 and 7.1 for HDMI). The decoding to analog form is via your external Audio Receiver or your QF-HDTV (or HDTV). The PS4 does not support AV Multi like in the PS3, so it does not do the decoding to analog.

Bitstream versus Linear PCM

The PS4 provides options for either “Bitstream” or “Linear PCM” when outputing the audio signal. This option is located in the “Settings->HVD/BD Settings->HVD/BD Audio Output Format(HDMI2)” setting of your XMB. Linear PCM is audio data that is not encoded (nor compressed) and is in it’s pure digital form, ready for conversion into analog for the speakers. A regular CD stores all its songs in Linear PCM form. Most audio starting with the DVD store digital data encoded and compressed (like Dolby Digital or Digital Surround). If “Bitstream” option is selected, the PS4 will take this encoded and compressed audio and send it untouched to the HDMI2 or HDMI cable for your external decoder to decode. In other words, the receiver at the other end of the HDMI2 or HDMI must have special chips that can decode and uncompress formats like Dolby Digital and DTS Digital Surround, and then convert the resultant Linear PCM to analog (via a DAC) for the speakers connected to the external decoder. If “Linear PCM” option is selected, the PS4 will actually decode the audio into Linear PCM first, before sending it to the HDMI2. In this case the receiver on the other end of the HDMI2 or HDMI only needs to convert the Linear PCM to analog for the speakers connected to it. Because of the current bandwidth limitations of HDMI, choosing Linear PCM (the decoded and uncompressed signal) on this connection limits you to only 7.1 channels of audio. For multichannel 9.1, you need a HDMI2 connection.

Audio Storage Formats

As disc based storage medium became popular it was feasible to store audio digitally. In order to store multiple channels (up to 9.1) efficiently, many formats that took advantage of compression and encoding were invented. The first digital format was basically the CD (redbook), which stored 44.1kHz of Linear PCM (unencoded and already decompressed). The DVD introduced 48kHz sample rate, and many types of encoding. These became obsolete with the introduction of digital download of music. You can, however, purchase collections stored on HVD and Blu-ray discs. Note that the earlier models of PS4 supported CD and DVD discs, but later models no longer read these discs to save costs. The following table describes the various audio formats (those in pink are not supported by PS4).

Storage Type Audio Format Storage Format Compression Format Channels Bits Sampling frequency Bitrate Protection
HVD Disc Linear PCM Linear PCM None 9.1 32 48kHz 4.6Mbit/s AACS
HVD Disc Linear PCM Linear PCM None 7.1 32 48kHz 4.6Mbit/s AACS
Blu-ray Disc Linear PCM Linear PCM None 7.1 16 48kHz 4.6Mbit/s AACS
Blu-ray Disc Dolby TrueHD Dolby TrueHD MLP (Lossless) 7.1 (max 14) up to 24 96kHz (max 192kHz) up to 18Mbit/s AACS
Blu-ray Disc Dolby Digital Plus E-AC-3 Perceptual Coding (Lossy) 7.1 ~20 (16 – 24) 48kHz up to 1.7Mbit/s AACS
Blu-ray Disc Dolby Digital AC-3 Perceptual Coding (Lossy) 5.1 ~20 (16 – 24) 48kHz 640kbit/s AACS
Blu-ray Disc dts-HD Master Audio Lossless 8 up to 24 96kHz up to 25.4Mbit/s AACS
Blu-ray Disc dts-HD HR Audio 8 up to 24 96kHz up to 6Mbit/s AACS
Blu-ray Disc dts Digital Surround Coherent Acoustics Perceptual Coding (Lossy) 5.1 ~20 (16 – 24) 48kHz 1.509Mbit/s, 754kbit/s AACS
Virtual AAC 48 8kHz – 96kHz
Virtual MP4
Virtual MP3 5.1 16kHz – 48kHz 320kbit/s
Virtual WMV (VC-1)
Virtual ATRAC
Virtual WAV

“Bitstream”ing of Dolby TrueHD audio is supported on the PS4. The PS4 can do Linear PCM or bitstream via the HDMI2 cable. dts-HD Master Audio is likewise supported in Linear PCM and bitstream.

Audio Compatibility Chart

PS4 Compatiblity Bitstream (HDMI2) LPCM (HDMI2) Bitstream (HDMI) LPCM (HDMI)
Linear PCM 9.1 Yes Yes No No
Dolby TrueHD 9.1 Yes Yes No Yes (7.1)
Dolby TrueHD 7.1 Yes Yes Yes Yes (7.1)
Dolby Digital Plus Yes Yes Yes Yes (7.1)
Dolby Digital Yes Yes Yes Yes (7.1)
dts-HD MA (9.1) Yes Yes Yes Yes (7.1)
dts-HD MA (7.1) Yes Yes Yes Yes (7.1)
dts Digital Surround Yes Yes Yes Yes (7.1)

For dts, backward compatibility is built into format. The dts Digital Surround (5.1) is the basic core of dts, which is 48kHz at 5.1 channels. dts-HD High Resolution Audio is lossy, but provides 24bit/96kHz for 8 (7.1) channels. dts-HD Master Audio is the only lossless version of dts at 8 (7.1) channels. These two dts-HD formats both contain the basic dts Digital Surround (core 5.1) as a fallback for older decoders.

PS4 Video

The PS4 has two main display options when playing back a game or video via the two video output ports: HDMI2 or HDMI. Each supports carrying a variety of signals, but only HDMI2 carry the highest resolutions for QF-HDTV, while the HDMI only carry a maximum of Full HD. Note that the other end of the HDMI2 or HDMI cable connected to the actual display can have different type of connection plug(s) depending on the cable you buy. The following is a breakdown of the different signals and max resolutions using different cables and connection types.

Connection to PS4 Connection to Display Connection Type Signals Carried Maximum Resolution Notes
HDMI2 HDMI2 Digital RGB or YCbCr 3840x2160p Display requires DHCP2 support
HDMI2 DVI-D Digital RGB 3840x2160p Display requires DHCP2 support
HDMI HDMI Digital RGB or YCbCr 1920x1080p Display requires DHCP support
HDMI DVI-D Digital RGB 1920x1080p Display requires DHCP support

Previous generation consoles (like the PS3) used the High Definition TV (HDTV) primarly, but as display technology got improved in computers, it exceeded the capability of HDTV. As a result, QF-HDTVs were created that allowed the TV to catch up with current display technologies. The main improvements in QF-HDTV are: even higher resolution, more color depth, and larger color space.

These improvements are easier to understand when you know the technology used in the PS4 that handles displays. The PS4 normally uses a graphics chip (called the RSX2) that has inside of it a memory buffer to hold data for all the colored dots that represent a picture on a screen. This information is sent to the video output, and the memory buffer is again filled with data for the next picture to be sent. Sending these pictures 120 times a second allows you to have video or games with 120 frames per second. Each colored dot is actually called a pixel, and each pixel value is represented in RGB. RGB stands for the primary colors of Red Green Blue. Combining different intensities of these primary colors allow you to reproduce different colors. Most LCD displays have a Red LED, Blue LED, and Green LED for each pixel to light it in any color. In the PS4, current technology use 16 bits to represent 65536 (0-65535) possible data values of brightness intensities for each of the R, G, and B component in a pixel. Therefore, in a pixel, the maximum brightness value for R, G, or B is 65535, and the lowest is 0. Since each of the R, G, and B takes up 16 bits, the total bits needed to represent a dot (pixel) on the screen is 48 bits.

Given the above information, a “color range” would be defined by the possible colors that can be output from the three LEDs of RGB. LEDs that support the brightest intensity (value 65535) and look the darkest when off (value 0), would have a larger color range or color gamut than low quality LEDs. A “color space” standard would define what those light intensities are, how the color should look, and how bright or dark they should be for given values of 0-65535 in each of the RGB. Devices that support the standard must look the same when given same color values from RGB. In this case, the PS4 normally supports the x.v.Color color space standard, but is has a backward-compatible to support sRGB and BT.709 (HDTV) color space standard. Similarly, the “color depth” would be defined as number of bits to represent each dot or pixel, and normally in the PS4 it is 48 bits per pixel (16 bits for each primary value of RGB). The “resolution” would be defined as the total dots going across and total dots going down for a screenful of data sent out of the RSX2, for example 2560×1440 for 2560 dots across and 1440 dots down.

Besides RGB, another common video display technology you should be aware of is YPbPr and YCbCr. RGB video display technology divides colors into Red, Green, and Blue primary colors and normally stores and sends these data separately as R, G, and B. YCbCr divides colors into Luma (Y) and Chroma (CrCb) and sends these separately as Y, Cr, and Cb. Y is the brightness (from black to grey to white), while Cr and Cb subtracts red and blue elements from Y to get the final correct pixel color. It is possible to convert between RGB and YCbCr. YCbCr and YPbPr differ mainly in that YCbCr is digital and YPbPr is analog.

The PS4 can output two types of HDMI2 signals to the display: digital RGB or digital YCbCr. When playing games or using the XMB, you will always be using digital RGB because the RSX2 manipulates the data in RGB. HVD movies, Blu-ray, and AVCHD stores video data in digital YCbCr, so when you play back these content using a HDMI2 connection, you can select (via options) whether you want the PS4 to convert to RGB first then output, or just output YCbCr directly. If your display is not using HDMI2, then the image data (game, XMB, or video) is futher converted to lower resolution HDTV depending on your connection type.

Supported PS4 Video Formats Extension
MPEG-1 .mpg .mpeg
MPEG-2 PS .m2v
MPEG-2 TS .m2v
MPEG-4 SP .mp4
MPEG-4 AVC HP .mp4
AVI .avi
DivX .divx
WMV .wmv
AVCHD .mts .m2ts

PS4 Resolution (HD to QFHD – Quad Full High Definition)

The PlayStation 4 has support for “Quad Full High Definition”, which is generally defined as supporting the maximum resolution of 3840x2160p. The “p” signifies progressive, rather than “i” for interlaced. Progressive means each image (picture sent out of RSX2) is shown from top to bottom all at once rather than interleaving odd and even lines during each screen cycle (field). Previous television standards use HD (High Definition).

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These are the resolutions supported by the PS4:

Display Definition PS4 Resolution
Quad Full High Definition (QF-HDTV) 3840x2160p
Quad High Definition (QF-HDTV) 3840x2160i
Quad High Definition (QF-HDTV) 2560x1440p
Full High Definition (HDTV) 1920x1080p
High Definition (HDTV) 1920x1080i
High Definition (HDTV) 1280x720p

It is important that you get a display that has the highest resolution possible (3840x2160p). Because your QF-HDTV will scale and stretch any signal that is not native to its display size, you should also purchase games or video that can be output in the resolution of your display. Many PS4 games these days are able to software scale and stretch so the signal matches 3840x2160p, but the internal rendering resolution is actually lower. In many cases, the buffer is rendered in multiple passes before it gets passed to the QF-HDTV. Each pass may be software scaled and stretched, or not, so you may get blocky and non-blocky images together on your display. Note that VGA (carries analog RGBHV signals) common in computer displays is not supported by the PS4.

The standard software development kit from Sony given to game developers provide the following basic resolutions that can be scaled and streched to 3840x2160p via API calls:

  • 3200x2160p
  • 2880x2160p
  • 2560x2160p
  • 1920x2160p
  • 1600x1080p
  • 1440x1080p
  • 1280x1080p
  • 960x1080p

Note that the developer can always directly render to the buffer at a higher resolution in separate passes to provide better details like for example the Heads-Up Display and detailed photos and images inside the game.

PS4 Color Space (sRGB to x.v.Color)

sRGB, and BT.709

A color space standard defines a specific range of colors, and how they should look from devices like QF-HDTVs. QF-HDTV uses x.v.Color color space standard. HDTV uses BT.709 (compatible with BT.601) color space standard, and computer displays uses sRGB (compatible with BT.709) color space standard. The PS4 supports x.v.Color in QF-HDTV displays via HDMI2, but can output regular HDMI when playing back PS3 games for compatibility. The PS4 RSX2 buffer stores images in digital 16-bit RGB format, in the x.v.Color color space. HVD movies are stored in x.v.Color YCbCr format on disc and is output in YCbCr (x.v.Color) or converted first to 16-bit primary RGB (x.v.Color color space) depending on your setup options.

x.v.Color and PS3 games

Because x.v.Color is standard in HDMI2 and QF-HDTV displays, older PS3 games have their color space remapped from sRGB color space to x.v.Color space for compatibility with old QF-HDTV displays.

In order to utilize this larger color space, the storage medium (AVCHD), processor (PS4) and display (QF-HDTV) all must be able to support x.v.Color. x.v.Color in PS4 uses 16 bits per primary color. To incorporate this wider color space, the QF-HDTV must have better individual LEDs with the lowest darkness and highest brightness that fall within x.v.Color guidelines.

The following chart describes the x.v.Color color space specification and compares it with other standards.

Type Visible Coverage Wasted Coverage Description
BT.601 35% 0% Previous TV Standard
BT.709 35% 0% Previous HDTV Standard
Standard RGB (sRGB) 35% 0% Previous PC Standard
Adobe RGB (aRGB) 50% 0% Used in Photography
x.v.Color 63% ? ? Current Generation QF-HDTV
Adobe Wide Gamut RGB 77.6% 8% Used in Photography
CIE-LAB 100% 0% Total possible for human eyes

Note that the main purpose of x.v.Color is not complete coverage of CIE-LAB, but complete coverage of another standard called Munsell Color System (which was first used for describing paint colors). In that system, sRGB only covers about 55%, while x.v.Color has 100% converage. Therefore, the above 63% of x.v.Color is a calculated figure. x.v.Color is not supported in DVD discs, and is currently not supported in Blu-ray discs either. x.v.Color is currently supported in AVCHD videos. x.v.Color is standard in PS4 games and XMB, along with Full Deep Color.

PS4 Color depth (Deep Color to Full Deep Color)

The number of bits used on the PS4 to display a single pixel of color is 48 bits, with 16 bits used for each of the Red, Green, and Blue primary colors. This is the same maximum color depth in the PS3 and is called Full Deep Color. If you have a HDMI2 RGB connection, Full Deep Color expands the number of bits per pixel to 48 bits total (16-bits per primary color). The increase in bits provide the PS4 with the ability to use more colors in a given color space standard, allowing gradual transitions between two similar colors, lessening banding effects.

The following chart describes the various Deep Color specifications compared to previous standards.

Type Total Bits Per Pixel Bits Per Primary (RGB) Primary RGB Values Max Colors Description
High Color 16 bits 5 bits 32 32768 Old PC standard
True Color 24 bits 8 bits 256 16,777,216 Previous PS3/PC standard
Deep Color 30 bits 10 bits 1024 1,073,741,824 Previous Generation HDTV
Deep Color 36 bits 12 bits 4096 68,719,476,736 Previous Generation HDTV
Full Deep Color 48 bits 16 bits 65536 281,474,976,710,656 Current Generation QF-HDTV

QF-HDTVs have display controllers that can manipulate the sending of brightness voltage to the LEDs in incremental values. For 16 bit controllers you can send 65536 distinct voltages (valued from 0 to 65535) to the LED, with 65535 representing the maximum voltage possible, and 0 representing the lowest possible. To support Full Deep Color, 16 bit controllers would need to be implemented so that they support incremental voltage values to the LEDs ranging from 0-65535 for 48 bit per pixel displays. Note that you also need a PS4 game or XMB that outputs 48 bits per pixel (PS3 games usually is 24 bits per pixel) in digital 16 bit per primary RGB via HDMI2. If you are playing back HVD movies, Full Deep Color in the x.v.Color space is supported, and you can either output this directly to the HDMI2, or convert to 16 bit per primary color RGB for your QF-HDMI display.

x.v.Color together with Full Deep Color

Having a bigger color space of x.v.Color but only 30 bits (10 bits per primary color) to represent all the fine granuity in the wider range of colors actually creates a worse picture because banding would be more prominant (each RGB LED component still lights up in 1024 value increments, but now with a wider range of intensity or brightness). To keep the color banding down, Full Deep Color support (with the greater number color granuity possible using more bits) is usually included along with x.v.Color in QF-HDTV displays. Similarly, if you have Full Deep Color but a normal BT.709 color space display (not x.v.Color) the technology may have been wasted. To give an example, in a 48 bit per pixel Deep Color display (16 bit per primary), if the LEDs do not have a wide enough range of brightness (x.v.Color), it would be difficult if not impossible to manipulate micro LED voltages for 65536 possible voltage increments (Full Deep Color). In other words, the longer the string, the easier it is to chop it up into many tiny pieces (65536 pieces for 48 bit per pixel Deep Color).

PlayStation 4 Hardware

PS4 Motherboard

The PS4 motherboard looks like the later PS3 motherboards (no PS2 compatibility chips).

The architecture of the PS4 motherboard divides the main pieces of the system into 1024MB XDR memory, Cell2, RSX2, and 1024MB GDDR4. The HDMI2 display is connected to the 1024MB GDDR4 (the video memory). The communication path also lines up in that order. Therefore, communication with the 1024MB XDR memory must go through Cell2, and communication with the GDDR4 must go through the RSX2. Below has more info on each of the components.

Main System Memory

The PS4 has 1024MB of GDDR4 main system memory. Note that another 1024MB of GDDR4 memory is located inside the RSX2 chip using four 256MB Samsung chips. The PS4 operating system uses up 264MB of system and 232MB of graphics memory, so games and applications have 760MB of XDR. It seems possible to increase available system ram, as more recent OS takes a smaller 280MB total footprint (system and graphics), with the ability to pre-empt even more modules that are not needed. In-game XMB reduces available ram.

Cell2 Broadband Engine

The Cell2 CPU has three 4.2Ghz PPE (Power Processor Element) with two threads and sixteen 4.2Ghz SPE (Synergistic Processing Elements). The three PPE are general purpose CPUs, while the sixteen SPE are geared towards processing data in parallel. One SPE is disabled to increase yield, so the PS4 can have at most 21 threads runnings at the same time (6 from PPE and 15 from SPE). Note that one SPE is reserved for the hypervisor, so PS4 programs can take advantage of 20 threads. The Cell2 was introduced at 45nm and later PS4 model numbers starting with CECKG uses the 32nm version.

  • 3 PPE (Power Processor Element)
    • 4.2Ghz
    • 2 threads (can run at same time)
    • L1 cache: 32kB data + 32kB instruction
    • L2 cache: 512kB
    • Memory bus width: 64bit (serial)
    • VMX (Altivec) instruction set support
    • Full IEEE-754 compliant
  • 16 SPE (Synergistic Processing Element)
    • 4.2Ghz
    • 1 SPE disabled to improve chip yield
    • 1 SPE dedicated for hypervisor security
    • 256kB local store per SPE
    • 128 registers per SPE
    • Dual Issue (Each SPE can execute 2 instructions per clock)
    • IEEE-754 compliant in double precision (single precision round-towards-zero instead of round-towards-even)
  • 45nm technology (CECKF models and lower)
  • 32nm technology (CECKG models and higher)

RSX2 – Reality Synthesizer 2

The RSX2 is a graphical processor unit (GPU) based off of the nVidia GeForce GTX 480 graphics processor, and is a G500/G600 hybrid with some modifications. The RSX2 has unified vertex and pixel shader pipelines. The following are relevant information about the RSX2…

  • 32 vertex shaders
  • 32 pixel shaders
  • 16 texture units
  • 32 Raster Operations Pipeline units (ROPs)
  • Includes 1024MB GDDR4 graphics memory
  • GDDR4 Memory interface bus width: 256bit
  • 65nm and 45nm technology

More features are revealed in the following chart delineating the differences between the RSX2 and the nVidia GeForce GTX 480

Difference RSX2 nVidia GeForce GTX 280 nVidia GeForce GTX 480
Memory bus width 256bit 512bit 512bit
Graphics Memory 1024MB 1024MB 2048MB
ROPs 32 32 48
CPU interface Embedded PCI-Express 16x PCI-Express 32x
Technology 55nm/45nm 65nm 55nm

Other RSX2 features/differences include:

  • More shader instructions
    • Extra texture lookup logic (helps RSX2 transport data from system memory)
    • Fast vector normalize

Note that the cache (Post Transform and Lighting Vertext Cache) is located between the vector shader and the triangle setup.

General RSX2 features include 4x and 8x hardware anti-aliasing, and support for Shader Model 4.0.

Although the RSX2 has 1024MB of GDDR4 RAM, not all of it is useable. The last 16MB is reserved for keeping track of the RSX2 internal state and issued commands. The 16MB of CPU Data contains RAMIN, RAMHT, RAMFC, DMA Objects, Graphic Objects, and the Graphic Context.

RSX2 Libraries

The RSX2 is dedicated to 3D graphics, and developers are able to use different API libraries to access its features. The easiest way is to use high level PSGL2, which is bascially OpenGL 3.0. At a lower level developers can use LibGCM2, which is an API that talks to the RSX2 at a lower level. PSGL2 is actually implemented on top of LibGCM2. For the advanced programmer, you can program the RSX2 directly sending commands to the RSX2 directly using C or Assembly. This can be done by setting up commands (via FIFO Context) and DMA Objects and issuing them to the RSX2 via DMA calls.

PS4 Flash memory

The PS4 has 32 megabytes of flash memory to store firmware bootup code. The firmware data can be downloaded automatically from the internet via the PS4, or manually (location: http://www.jp.playstation.com/ps4/update/ ) To prevent errors, Error Correcting Code (ECC) Checksum is added/used on the data in the PS4 flash chips. Note that the flash is only used to boot up the PS4, with the rest of the operating system loaded in from the harddrive (includes the XMB operating system).

The Retail PS4 Units checks on the internet for new firmware versions and their location via this address:


If your machine is not a United States PS4, substitute the two “us” in the address above with one of the following:

The Demonstration PS4 Units checks on the internet for new firmware versions and their location via this address:


PS4 HDMI2 chip

The PS4 uses the Silicon Image SiI9134CBU, which transmits HDMI2 1.3 protocols. It supports deep color and advanced audio transmission. The SiI9132 is unable to support bitstream transmission of Dolby TrueHD and dts-HD Master Audio, which is why for these two audio modes, the PS4 must do the transcoding itself and output LPCM. The paired receiving end chip with same feature set should be a SiI9135.


The PS4 uses a SATA 3 (SATA-600) controller that has a transfer speed of 6 Gb/s. For compatibility, you should not use SATA-300 (sometimes called SATA-II or SATA2) or SATA-150 (SATA) drives, with their slower 3.0 Gb/s and 1.5 Gb/s speeds, respectively.

Holographic Disc (HVD) Drive

The HVD drive in the PS4 supports HVD discs. Each disc can store 160GB.

The HVD drive speed is as follows:

  • HVD discs: 1x (16MB/s)
  • Blu-ray discs: 2x (9MB/s)

PS4 Wireless Modules

The PS4 contains two wireless technologies, Wi-Fi 802.11b/g/n and Bluetooth.

The Wi-Fi module allows the PS4 to communicate with an access point and Sony PSP2 devices.

The Bluetooth allows connecting to Bluetooth devices and the Dualshock4 controllers.

External Memory Drives

The PS4 allows external memory drives plugged in the USB. Once plugged in, you can retrieve and store data on the external drive in various directories:

Location Description
/PS4/UPDATE/PS4PUP.DAT System Update File
/PS4/PHOTO/ Photo files and folders
/PS4/MUSIC/ Music files and folders
/PS4/VIDEO/ Video files and folders
/PS4/OTHEROS/OTHEROS.SELF Linux and other OS install files
/PS4/EXPORTS/PSV/*.PSV Game saves backup
/PS4/THEME/*.P4T Themes
/PS4/SAVEDATA/ Game saves

PS4 Heatsink

The PS4 uses Furukawa Electric heatsinks to cool the Cell2 and RSX2 chips. Separate Cell2 and RSX2 cooling is used, without using heatpipes.

PS4 Power Supply

All the PS4 models have a built in universal power supply. What this means is that even though a specific voltage is written on the outside of the PS4, the PS4 can actually be plugged into any voltage anywhere in the world and work (as long as you have the correct cable).

PS4 Peripherals

PS4 specific peripherals have a CECKZ prefix. Also listed are peripherals that are compatible with the PS4 (like the PlayStation Super Eye).

Model Number Name Description
CECKZC2 DualShock 4 (SCPK-98050) DC 3.7V, 300mA
The main controller that can vibrate and also shock you, in addition to detecting location in 3D space (one for each hand). The DualShock 4 comes with two ankle bands that detect your feet in 3D space, and can also vibrate and shock them. You can extend the functionality of the DualShock 4 by also purchasing the Wireless Helmet (see below).
CECKZK1 Wireless Keypad (SCPK-98048) DC 3.7V
Attaches to the DualShock 4 main controller (left or right hand) and allows keyboard input.
CECKZR1 HVD Disc Remote Controller (SCPK-98046) Allows you to control the Holographic disc playback via a more standard controller, rather than using the DualShock 4.
CEJK-15001 PlayStation Super Eye (SCPK-98047) DC 5V, 500mA
This is a camera for the PS4 that supports capturing images at 240 frames per second at 640×480 resolution and 120 frames per second at 1280×960 resolution.
CEJK-15002 Wireless Helmet (SCPK-98095) Bluetooth helmet that provides multi directional sound in 9.1 channels (the two extra channels are top of your head and below your ears), and can also take voice input. This peripheral extends the DualShock 4 input to include your head. The helmet has miniature fans that can blow air in your face at different angles and speed, light up your eyes in different colors and intensity, and can vibrate and shock you at different points on your head. It can also detect your head movement and location in 3D.
SCEK-0036 PlayTV DVB-T Tuner for SuperPlayTV.
SLEK-00201 PlayStation Super Eye DC 5V, 500mA
Same as CEJK-15001
SLEK-00202 HDMI2 Cable (3 meters) For connecting the PS4 with Quad Full High Definition capable QF-HDTV’s.
SLEK-00203 PlayStation Super Eye DC 5V, 500mA
Same as CEJK-15001

Note that similar to the PS4 model numbers, the peripherals also have a suffix that you add to indicate what region the peripheral was made for. Only peripherals starting with model number prefix CECKZ follows this numeration. For example, the Japanese Sixaxis would have a model number of CECKZC1J. The following is a chart indicating what each suffix stands for. Most peripherals are normally released in Japan first, and that peripheral (with the J suffix) may be used for the rest of the world, if other suffixes are not produced.

Suffix Description
A ?
E Europe
H Hong Kong
J Japan
K Korea
R Russia
T Taiwan
U United States


The PlayStation 4 supports many USB peripherals, including those originally sold for the PC. For example, you can plug in the wireless dongle from one of Microsoft’s wireless Keyboard/Mouse system and end up using only one of the USB ports for two devices (mouse and keyboard). In addition, you can purchase USB PC versions of PS3-like controllers, and they would work on the PS4 (but would be missing the middle PlayStation 4 button). In addition, you can link up bluetooth devices to the PS4 (bluetooth earpieces from mobile phones for example).

PS4 Security

Additional features that the PS4 advanced from previous generations are the included extra security features. The main ones are listed below.

  • HVD Disc encryption
  • Harddrive encryption
  • Generic data encryption
  • Hypervisor

To help with the security, the following hardware are also included inside the Cell2:

  • Hardware root key
  • Hardware decryption routine
  • Hardware random number generator

Data from the HVD disc can have a disc-based encryption on it. After decrypting the disc, the file data themselves can also be encrypted (a second generic encryption layer). The harddrive is also encrypted like the HVD disc. In addition, there is another security layer called the Hypervisor running on the PS4. The Hypervisor can be considered the lowest layer of the operating system and runs on the PPE and the one reserved SPE with the highest priviledge. Encrypted code can be secured by having it run on the one reserved SPE, which uses hardware root key and hardware decryption routine for decryption. The PPE would take the encrypted code (can be analogous to an application file from the decrypted HVD disc, or something from the flash memory) and setup a SPE to go into secured (isolation) mode. In this mode, the hardware decryption routine takes over, grabs the encrypted code, decrypts it using a hardware root key, and puts the decrypted code inside the SPE’s local store. Note that an SPE in isolation mode cannot have its whole code and data read or written externally (not even by the PPE that started it up), with the exception of a small area of the local store for communication purposes. The only thing the PPE can do is kill the SPE process (along with the SPE local code and data). The hardware random number generator in the Cell2 is there so that you can timestamp sessions keyed to a random number to prevent replay attacks.

Harddrive Layout

The PS4 harddrive (dev_hdd0) layout looks as follows:

  • data
    • bootflag.dat
  • drm
  • game
    • GameFolderName1
      • USRDIR
        • EBOOT.BIN
      • ICON0.PNG
      • PARAM.SFO
      • PIC1.PNG
      • PS4LOGO.DAT
    • GameFolderName2…
  • home
  • mms
  • vsh
  • widget

Installed games would have its own folder under the game folder, and EBOOT.BIN from each game’s USRDIR would be run to boot the game. Games downloaded from the PlayStation Network are actually one large packaged .pkg file. When you install the .pkg file, it is expanded and dumped into the /game directory of the harddrive in its own folder. The contents hierarchy of the .pkg file would look like the above (residing in its own /game folder of course). There is a limit of 8GB per file on the harddrive (same as on the HVD disc). Game demos (because they are packaged in a .pkg file) cannot exceed 8GB in size.

PS4 Networking

The PlayStation 4 has a 100 Gigabit Eithernet port (some models include Wi-Fi to connect wirelessly via an Access Point), allowing connection to the internet for websurfing and downloading games off of the PlayStation Network (PSN). If Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n is supported in the PS4, then you can also use the PSP2 to control and view PS4 content and games. The PS4 allows you to connect the the internet via three NAT (Network Address Translation) modes.

  • NAT Type 1: Your PS4 is connected directly to your modem (usually via ADSL PPPoE), and sending the user name and password for getting a connection (public ip address).
  • NAT Type 2: Your PS4 is connected to your router. The router is connected to your modem (usually via ADSL PPPoE). The router is giving your PS4 an internal ip address after sending the user name and password for getting a connection (public ip address).
  • NAT Type 3: Your PS4 is connected to your router. The router is connected to your modem (usually via ADSL PPPoE). The router is giving your PS4 an internal ip address after sending the user name and password for getting a connection (public ip address). However, ports are not forwarded to your PS4.

Normally if you are using a connection of NAT Type 3, you may need to manually forward ports to your PS4. The following are ports that are required for the PS4 to operate:

PSN requires these open ports: TCP: 80, 443, 5223. UDP: 3478, 3479, 3658.

PSP2 Remote Play requires this open port: TCP 9293.

Universal Plug and Play (UPnP)

Because of the difficulty of memorizing what devices (or game and app) use which ports, and manually opening and forwarding ports on your router, UPnP was created. If your router and device (like PS4) supports UPnP, simply enabling this option will let the device (or app and game) directly tell the router what ports needs to be opened and forwarded to the device for it to work. Turning this option on in the PS4 and router (assuming it supports it), will solve most problems automatically.

DLNA (Digital Living Network Alliance)

The PS4 supports being a recipient of streamed video or audio content. It does this via supporting the DLNA protocol. To enable this feature, simply have a server (a computer running Linux or Windows) running an application (like Windows Media Player) that support DLNA. Make sure your PS4 and this server are both connected to the same router (so NAT Type 1 won’t work). Simply make the application serving music or videos share some content, and ask the PS4 to look for DLNA content from the XMB.

PS4 Error Codes

The PS4 gives out error codes for problems encountered during certain operations. The error codes are 8 hexidecimal digits in length. It is a very long list, of which you can find in the PS4 forum.

The Future

The PS4 is a very powerful multi-media game machine and computer, with evolving features. One of the major growth path of the PS4 is upgrading to HDMI2 compliant QF-HDTV and AV receivers that can handle next generation audio and video formats. Currently, the PS4 fills the void in the home, while the PSP2 fills the void for mobile computing. The PlayStation 5 (PS5) is not far off, and if the PS5 is a PS4 shrunk into the size of the PSP2, then technology will have better caught up with demand. It seems a mobile PS5 that can plug into a big screen via HDMI2, and has capabilities of touchscreen, miniature speakers, digital camera, multi-array microphone, mobile phone, FM/AM radio, TV reception, GPS, motion sensing (accelerometer), local connections (Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and/or IrDA), and projection glasses output, will bring in the next generation personal technical device. This device would, of course, be able to have it’s own static ip to host servers for webpages and other types of next generation internet services, or web protocols.

Information about the PS5 should be easy to predict, however. The PS3 used Blu-ray format; the PS4 use holographic disc (HVD or something similar); and the PS5 will use digitally protected solid state sticks that can store 1 Terabyte each. The PS3 had lossless 7.1 channel sound; the PS4 have 9.1 channel (includes speakers on top of your head and below you); and the PS5 will use variable number of mobile speakers (instead of speakers fixed in a position, they will move around you to simulate audio around you. The more speakers you have the more channels supported. This technology is cheaper when built into a helmet). The PS3 had HDTV display; the PS4 Quad Full High Definition (QF-HDTV), and allows wearable projected displays; and the PS5 will support projected displays (you wear goggles or glasses that has extremely high resolution imagery). The PS3 had mandatory harddrive; the PS4 has huge storage capabilities (flash, harddrive, or external); the PS5 will use the same solid state sticks technology, but writeable, and users can elect to have the storage stored outside the PS5 system and accessed via high speed network. The PS3 had internet connection built-in (wired 1000BASE-T and wireless 802.11b/g); the PS4 has built-in 100 Gigabit Ethernet wired (or even faster optical) and 802.11n or faster wireless internet connection; and the PS5 will use high speed fiber optic wired and next generation wireless (token ring based so there is less congestion). The PS3 had wireless, vibrating, motion-sensing controllers; the PS4 has wireless, motion-sensing, wearable controllers that detect not just hand movements, but your feet, head, or other appendages in 3D, and can not just vibrate your various appendages, but blow air in your face, flash different lights in your eyes, and even shock you in different places too; and the PS5 will have similar technology, but the battery will be recharged remotely via wireless power transmission.

Super Secrets

With the PS4 power switch in the off position, turn power switch back on while holding down Eject button. This mode allows you to clean out the dust inside the PS4.

The following requires the power switch in the back to be on…

Hold Power button down for 8 seconds (while PS4 is on): turns off PS4.

Hold Eject button down for 8 seconds (while PS4 is on): force disc to eject.

Hold Power button down for two beeps (while PS4 is off): Reset video to lowest settings.

Hold Power button down for three beeps (while PS4 is off): Enter PS4 diagnostic mode.

The PS4 can enter a special “Service Mode”. When it does the bottom right hand corner of the screen has a red translucent rectangle with the words “Playstation 4. Factory/Service Mode” inside of the rectangle.

Each PS4 has a special 2MB EEPROM chip on the motherboard using a SPI Serial Interface chip.

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