PlayStation 4 gets HDR and UI refresh

ps4-pro-playstion-4-slimHave you been waiting to get High Dynamic Range (HDR) visuals on your PlayStation 4? Well, Sony has just dropped what could well be their biggest update for the PS4 so far.

Sony has today started to squirt out their latest system software update for the PlayStation 4. HDR support is probably at the top of most people’s lists but there’s much more than that. There also a refresh to the gaming console’s interface, adding folders, and tweaks to its menu screens.

The version 4.00 update — codenamed Shingen — is preparation for Sony’s upcoming new consoles. A slimmer PS4 coming later this week, and the PS4 Pro. The latter promises to be more powerful and 4K capable and is due for release on November 10th.

PS4 and HDR

Just in case you are not aware, HDR is a display technology that greatly boosts the range of bright and dark tones visible in a picture. This then expands the colour range to deliver images that are closer to those we see in real life.

As with most things, you’ll need a TV (most recent 4K TVs will work) that will be compatible. Oh, and a game that outputs in HDR – as far as I am aware The Witness, an indie puzzle game, will be one of the first titles to receive an HDR-enabling patch.

The other stuff

The update also brings with it Full HD streaming in 1080p, on YouTube, Twitch, and for remote play.

If you are planning to make the jump up to PS4 Pro or go skinny with the PS4 slim), today’s update also prepares your PS4 for a wired LAN connection. This allows you to transfer all relevant data from old to new consoles. Handy.

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Clean and organised

The user interface (UI) has been tidied up to make things clearer. There’s reworked system backgrounds, icons, notifications and drop down menus.

ps4-update-homescreenThis is certainly great news for those who remember the original UI. What was once slick and uncomplicated soon became cluttered with things getting buried in sub menus.

The Quick Menu now only covers a portion of the screen when you bring it up. No more do you have to leave the game to enter a party or see who’s online. It also gets a new music section offering up Spotify or USB music playback control without having to open up a separate app.

The menu layout is also customisable, and will automatically adjust itself to be more context sensitive too.

ps4-update-foldersDo you like organsing everything in tidy little folders? Yeah, me too. It’s great then that Sony has added user-created folders. Now you can arrange your games and apps in to neat folders. These folders can be placed both on the home screen and within the Library.