Just bought a Sony PlayStation 3? Then you've not maxed out the power of your new uber-console until you've downloaded the latest firmware and dabbled with the following techniques... Following on from our previous 10 PS3 tricks Sony doesn't tell you article, Digital Home brings you another batch of tips.

1) Customizing your PS3
Try out the 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. All you'll need is Sony's PC-only design software, which is available for free.

2) Make thousands of new PS3 Friends
Taken a shine to someone you've played against online? They'll be in your Players Met menu. Or if you just want to make loads of new friends fast, then go to www.gamewith.us/ps3 and to find thousands of names to hit up and try.

3) 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).

4) 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.

5) 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.

6) 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.

7) 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.

8) Do your system updates at work
With system updates clocking in around the 200MB mark (and set to get bigger) it can be a pain to have to download updates when you're stealing a quick five minutes for a game. Instead, download the updates at work and take them home on a USB stick or CD for instant installation on your PS3.

Make a folder called 'PS3' on your disc/stick and inside that one called 'UPDATE' (see tip 3). Go to http://uk.playstation.com/help-support/ps3 (or the site for your region) and find the System Software Updates box. Download the latest update and put it in your 'UPDATE' folder. When you get home choose to update your PS3 from whatever storage medium you've chosen instead of via the Internet. Enjoy!

8 More PS3 tricks Sony doesn't tell you


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