- Sony declares "game on" as Adam Turner
discovers the PS3's menu system is now built into Bravia televisions.
The user interface seems to be an afterthought on many consumer electronic devices, but Sony has obviously had its UI boffins working overtime (playing games consoles - nice work if you can get it).
They've decided that the XMB (Xross Media Bar) menu system used by the PlayStation 3 and PlayStation Portable is more friendly that the menus used by Sony's big-arse Bravia LCD televisions, so the new generation of Bravias will utilise the PS3's menu system.
The old Bravias were designed around a standard tree-like menu system, with options opening up to the right as you scroll down through the categories. The Bravia's Xross Media Bar menus are built around a similar concept, the menus are sightly more animated but it still requires you to scroll down through categories as your options pop up on the right.
The Xross Media Bar actually has a similar look and feel to the Vista Media Centre interface and even the changes in Windows Mobile 6.1.
The Bravia's move to Xross Media Bar is more cosmetic than functional, yet I can't deny that I prefer it over the old Bravia menus. Smooth and responsive menus reduce the feeling that you're fighting with a device. The iPhone's touch-sensitive menus, that allow you to flick to scroll, are one of the best examples of this.
While PS3 lovers are probably rejoicing at Xross Media Bar's move to the Bravia, the big question is whether your average suburbanites will take to it. What looks intuitive to the tech-savvy may very well look intimidating to everyone else. According to Sony, Xross Media Bar won an Emmy award - but I'm always suspicious of Sony winning awards after the SIXAXIS affair.