by Charles Ying

Archive for September, 2011

The PlayStation Web App

Tuesday, September 27th, 2011

This is the new PlayStation Video Unlimited service. This PlayStation app runs at a full 60 frames per second (when you see it on a PS3), has tons of 3D graphics effects, full-speed 1080p video playback, and a fluid, hardware accelerated, animated user experience. What you may not know is that this is a web app.

A Web App? On A PlayStation?

The Video Unlimited service is a JavaScript application with a carefully designed runtime platform and very lightweight APIs to access hardware accelerated 3D graphics and shader effects, video playback engine, and other aspects of the PS3 hardware.

Two years ago, I helped start this project at Sony. In six weeks, our team took a working Flash UI prototype and recreated it on a PS3, complete with an early version of the platform, now internally called Trilithium. Alex Bustin, the same UI developer who built the original UI prototype, also wrote the Trilithium port.

The release of Video Unlimited was delayed until now, but Trilithium was used to build another of Sony’s partner’s apps, Hulu Plus for PS3. (See video at the end of this post).

The Trilithium Platform

Trilithium’s strength comes from taking full advantage of the PS3 hardware and existing well-optimized frameworks to do everything from graphics to video playback, leaving the decisions about the high level application to a very flexible JavaScript core API.

We built Trilithium for several reasons:

  • Make good use of the complex 8-core + GPU PS3 hardware without killing ourselves.
  • Give this power to our UX developers and designers.
  • Let partners easily build their own PS3 apps with little knowledge of PS3 architecture.
  • Rapidly develop with a flexible environment.

True, there’s no hyperlinking and Trilithium isn’t open (for now).

But Video Unlimited, Hulu Plus, and future Trilithium apps do show what’s possible when you bring the best parts of web and native technology together.

Hulu Plus for PS3