Tutorial: PSP Firmware
  • Those of you that have a PSP no doubt have seen on different forums people asking about firmware- what it is, what it does, where to get it, how to use it, etc. I'm hoping this will clear up those questions.

    What is firmware? It's that bit of programming that makes the PSP work and tells it what it can do- if this wasn't in the PSP it would be nothing but a shiny paperweight. This is what tells the system to light up the screen, play the music/sounds, and read the disc when you put it in.

    The PSPs that were introduced in North America came with version 1.5 firmware- handled all of the functions but added a bit of extra security from what was in the original Japanese release (they got version 1.0). Over time Sony released several updates- the first two were mainly security fixes.

    Starting at 2.0 we started seeing extra functionality being added with the introduction of a web browser for the PSP as well as more flexibility in what can be used in video, picture and music. 2.5 made some improvements to the browser and introduced compatibility with Sony's Location Free Player, which lets people watch what is on their tv from anywhere over the net (good for those going abroad but want to still catch the latest episodes of their favorite shows).

    The current version as I write this is 2.6, which adds use of RSS (Really Simple Syndication) newsfeeds (found on a number of sites), downloading of copyrighted movies (to be used with their currently-delayed revision of PSP Connect) and ability to play WMA audio files. Word is there is to be another update coming this Spring to add even more goodies.

    Now, how to get the update? If you have a wireless connection set up on your PSP it's a simple matter of going to the Settings menu and scroll up to Network Update. From there turn on the WiFI switch and select your network connection- if a new version is available the PSP will begin downloading the installer (try to have about 17 MB on the memory stick available). When finished it will ask to start installing. During this you will have to plug the PSP into the charger- Sony did this as a precaution to make sure the unit doesn't go dead during the install and making that paperweight I mentioned above. When the installation is done the PSP will reboot and installation is complete. At this point you can find the installer file in the Game menu and delete it, it won't be needed again.

    No wireless connection? No problem- you can also download it to your PC and transfer it over through the USB cable (available anywhere selling PSP stuff). There are a couple of locations for downloading- most North American owners will be headed to Sony's US PlayStation site, where the update can be found in the PSP section. Another spot for downloading the update is YourPSP whch is geared more to the UK/ European audience.

    Once the download is done connect your PSP to your computer via the USB cable and turn on USB mode in the Settings menu of the PSP. This should bring up a window on your computer showing the top folders of the PSP's memory stick. Go into the PSP folder and from there in the Game folder. In here if you don't see one make a new folder (right click in an empty area to bring up a menu for this) called Update. With this done go to where you saved the PSP firmware file on the computer and drag it into the Update folder you just made. When the transfer shows it is finished you can disconnect from the PC. Make your way to the Game section of the PSP menu and you should see an item there for updating the firmware- select it to start things going. Just as with the other method, make sure you have the charger/ adaptor plugged into it. Once the system restarts itselfs you can delete the updater from the PSP to reclaim that bit of memory stick space. Have fun with the new toys on the PSP!

This discussion has been closed.
All Discussions