(1) Play games from any country
Harbouring a desire to play Super Gaiden Ninja XI? Now you can. In fact, you can handily play any PS3 game from any country. On holiday in the States and spot the latest release at a bargain dollar-to-pound price? Help yourself. So far, at least, PS3 games aren't being region coded. That said PS2 and PS1 games are so you can't play a US title on a Euro console.
And let's not forget that Blu-ray movies are region-coded so the barriers aren't completely down yet.
(2) The secret video reset
One of the most annoying aspects of the PS3 are its video settings. Take it up to the bedroom portable or round to a friend's house and there's a good chance that you won't be able to see anything on screen because your 'new' TV is running at a different resolution or using a different cable connection. And - because you can't see anything - you can't change it.
Until now. Shut down your PS3 then restart by pressing and holding the power button.This will reset your PS3 to its most basic 480p graphics mode so you'll be able to see enough to choose RGB SCART, component, HDMI or whatever from here.
(3) See how much charge is on your pad
There's no indication of how much charge is left on the pad itself. Instead it appears on screen during games. Press and hold the PS button on any joypad. An indicator will appear, showing your pad's charge as a small battery. A full battery pic means a fully-charged pad. Neat.
(4) Download game saves
Chances are someone out there has already beaten that boss for you and saved their game afterwards. Why not take advantage of it? Google 'PS3 game saves'. There are hundreds of finished and half finished game saves scattered all over the internet. Download the save you want - it'll come in a 'PS3′ folder that you can lift onto a USB stick and put into your PS3. Go to the Game menu, choose your stick and the game save you downloaded should be right there. Press Triangle to copy it to your hard drive.
(5) Make free video phone calls
You will need a USB headset (like the one you use for PS2 Socom) and an EyeToy camera. Plug in both via USB then go to your Friends menu. Choose a friend you've signed up earlier and press Triangle. Choose Start New Chat and type a message. Something like 'Videochat?' should do the trick. Now, providing they're in front of their powered-up PS3 (perhaps you could text them to tell them to be in position?) then they'll see your message and be given the option to accept your videochat.
Now, provided they too have a camera and headset, two windows will open, one showing you (so you can make sure you're looking your best), the other displaying your mate. Best of all you can hit Triangle again and invite more people to join your chat - up to a maximum of six. And the cost? Not a bean above your usual broadband connection charges.
(6) Browse multiple internet windows
Open the browser (go to Network) and surf to a page you want. Now open up the menu with a press of Triangle and choose 'Open In New Window'. Enter another URL and then do the same again. Keep going until you've got six windows open. Now press L3 (done by clicking down the left stick). You're now in multi-page mode. Move the left stick to flick through the webpages as though they were bits of paper, then click L3 again to zoom in.
(7) Upgrade your hard drive
We took the drive out of our PS3 and found it to be a Seagate Momentus 5400rpm 60GB 2.5inch SATA drive. We swapped ours out effortlessly for a Seagate Momentus 120GB 2.5inch SATA drive and it worked perfectly. Remove the cover flap on the bottom of your PS3 with a fingernail. Undo the blue screw and slide the drive over to the right and out of your PS3. Undo the four screws on the 'caddy' and remove the old drive.
Put your new drive in the caddy (it should be exactly the same size, of course) and re-do the four screws. Slot it back in and slide to the left to make the connections. Re-do the blue screw, pop the cover back on and restart your PS3. Say 'yes' to the message on screen and voila - new super-size hard-drive. (Go to Settings, System Settings, System Information to check).
(8. Share your bought downloads
You can download anything you've bought from the store to five PlayStation 3s. This is useful if you've got more than one PS3 (of course) and also if you've wiped your hard-drive and don't fancy paying for the same download twice...
However, you can also choose to share your download with your mates. The PlayStation Store logs how many times each download has been downloaded by each user. On your mate's PS3 Create New User and log onto the store with your ID. You'll now be able to go to your download and see that you've already downloaded whatever it was that you paid for. You can now download it again, using another of your downloads and giving it to your mate for free. Or a small optional charge...
(9) Force a PS3 to show your files
Put your photos in a folder called 'PICTURE' or your videos in a folder called 'VIDEO' or simply *force* your PS3 to look at your files on your stick regardless of what you called them or where you put them. Insert your stick and go to the menu option you want (Photos, Music, whatever). PressTriangle to bring up a menu and choose Display All.
This will show every file on the stick. It even works for a plugged-in iPod, though the multi-folder structure you'll reveal is a bit baffling. Still, your songs are in there if you've got the patience to find them.
(10) Change your album art
When you import a music CD your PS3 automatically pulls down the album art and stores it with the tracks. Occasionally it gets it wrong, however, or it may simply not be able to find the art of your hipper, less commercial tracks. This is easily fixed however.
Download a pic of the art you need as a jpg on your PC and put it onto a stick (in a folder called PICTURE, ideally). Copy it to your Photo menu (press Triangle). Now go to Music and select the album folder with the offending art. Press Triangle and select Information. Go to the Photo menu and select your new picture. Bingo.
(11) Customising your PS3
Try Googling 'PS3 .p3t theme' to find downloadable examples of PS3's new Themes - the alternative desktops, menus and fonts for your PS3 that have been enabled since the recent 2.0 firmware update. Read on through this article for our tips on how to transfer them to your PS3. You can even make your own Themes.
(12) Mastering removable media
The PS3 is compatible with many different file types, playing and displaying just about anything you can throw at it. The full list is as follows: (video) MPEG-1, MPEG-2, MPEG-4, AVI, Motion JPEG, AVCHD, H.264/MPEG-4 AVC - DivX and Xvid coming soon; (audio) MP3, WMA, WAV, Audio CD, SACD (60GB version only); (photo) JPEG, PNG, TIFF, GIF, BMP.
Whatever format you want to access, the trick is to put your files in the right place so that your PS3 can actually see them.
Take any removable media - be it a USB stick, Memory Card or CD-R with files on it - and lace music, pictures and videos in folders called 'MUSIC', 'PICTURE' and 'VIDEO' in the root directory of the storage device. The caps are important. The quote marks aren't.
More PS3-based files need to be in a folder called 'PS3′ in the root directory of the storage device. Then, inside this folder make sub-folders called 'EXPORT' (this is the folder to put PS1 and PS2 game saves in that you find on the net), 'SAVEDATA' (for your PS3 game saves), 'THEME' (for Themes) and 'UPDATE' (see tip 8.)
(13) Boost your WiFi
Slow downloads and dodgy PS3 connections? Try this... Firstly let's start with a bit of wireless networking 101. Try getting a direct 'line of sight' between your wireless router and your PS3. Pull them out both out from alcoves and behind dense furniture and try to minimise the number of obstacles between both boxes. (Nothing degrades your Wi-Fi signal like a nice stone fireplace.)
Next, stand your PS3 on its on end. The PS3's antenna is located in the right hand side so standing it up on its left-edge gives it a bigger spread. Ideally put your router up on a high shelf.
Finally - and this is the clever bit - take a Coke can (other soft drinks are available) and cut the top off. Cut down the sides of the cup-like can and fan out the divisions slightly so it looks like a weird metal flower. Now make a hole in the bottom and place your new 'high-gain antenna' over your router's stubby aerial so it pokes through. Now point it at your PS3. Sounds mad, looks awful, but you could see a 10% boost in signal strength.
(14) PSP and PS3 Remote Play
One of the best features of the new firmware is the ability to turn your PS3 on and off remotely, via the internet, with your PSP. Sounds like a tiny detail, but it finally opens up Sony's Remote Play feature fully.
First get yourself a PSP. Go into the System option, select Remote Play and pair your PSP with your PS3. This used to be a slightly complex process but now it's a cinch. Once both devices are paired together they'll 'look' for each other automatically.
Leave your PS3 on standby and just go on holiday - taking your PSP with you. Find a Wi-Fi hotspot near the beach. Connect your PSP to your PS3 using the Remote Play option. Your PS3 will switch on and its menu will appear on your PSP's screen. You can now listen to your music, look at photos or watch any videos stored on your PS3's hard disk. When you're done, switch off your PS3 and go back to sunbathing.
(15) Play PS3 games remotely on your PSP
OK, so your PSP hasn't got any 'tilting' capability like the Sixaxis and Lair is pretty much unplayable on the PSP. But, in tech terms at least, it's a great indicator of the possibilities on the way. Engage Lair's Wireless Play option and you can wirelessly link your PSP to your PS3 and play (a cut down, worse looking version of) the PS3 game on your PSP.
(16) Those secret button features
PS3 not behaving itself? Then give it a prod. The most common causes of PS3 crashes are during PS2 play. Or your PS3 might hang while waiting for a network disconnection to be resolved. In either scenario press and hold the power button for five seconds to force a system shutdown.
Finally, have you ever been caught out moving your PS3 from an HDMI TV to the one in the bedroom, only to find that you're not getting any SCART output when you get there. Here's the fix: Turn on your PS3 as normal but keep your finger on the Power button. You'll get the first beep, as normal, then about eight seconds later a second beep and your PS3 will restart - this time defaulting to the most basic, lo-res, SCART friendly TV output.