Originally Posted by imagic
All it needs is a BDXL drive, the rest can come through firmware. With that one addition Sony future-proofs the PS4. I would not be surprised if PS4 games come on BDXL media. Sony already has a 4K projector and 4K TVs to hook a PS4 up to, what else do they need to work out? By the time 4K TV sets are selling at Best Buy, I'm sure the PS4 will fully support it. Nobody is installing 64 speakers in their home theater anytime soon, so even if Dolby Atmos is implemented it won't matter for the vast majority of users. I like to stay optimistic.
If it doesn't include a next-gen Blu-ray optical drive and software upgradeable audio/video decoding and output, then you know the answer to whether or not the PS4 is the end-all, be-all UHD nerve center like they state. That should be one of the first questions asked at the press event.
There has not been a locked in specification for frame rates supported, bit depth, color depth, etc. for a unified UHD delivery method using H.265. That requires an HDMI chip set that will allow for HFR, 10 bit or greater video streams, open support for Dolby Atmos or DTS MDA etc. etc. etc.
At the CES there were demos for at least DTS's Multi-Dimensional Audio object-oriented soundtrack system (devised with SRS, which they bought). I'm sure an at-home object-oriented codec would be a scaled down version of the 64 speaker cinema experience. One thing both Atmos and MDA call for are height channels to create x-y-z panning plot points for the mixing engineer and the final decoder. Both also recommend extra screen speakers like Dolby Prologic IIz and DTS Neo X for a wider front sound stage and separate subwoofer outputs for the surround channels. So, that would be 11.2 right there (two more speakers up front, another sub effects channel, and at least two voice-of-God speakers along with the current 7.1 layout).
These are scalable systems... the more speakers you have, the more accurate the sound field placement. This may be where receiver and pre-amp manufacturers would base the amount of speaker outputs available on the model purchased by the consumer. The Atmos or MDA controller would map the soundtrack accordingly.
However, the HDMI chipset would have to allow for them (they're usually hard coded, and not firmware upgradeable, which is a stupid oversight). I don't think the HDMI committee had final UHD or object-oriented soundtrack specs. available when they made their chipset recommendations. This was a problem with the PS3 as well where the initial "fat" versions had implemented outdated HDMI chipsets that limited their functionality. Even the PS3 "slim" versions had issues with 3D and audio bitstreaming, that regular Blu-ray players did not.