You have a few options when it comes to connecting your PS3 to your high-definition television. You can use component cables, you can use an HDMI cable, or you can use composite cables if you don't mind playing in standard definition. According to a memo allegedly sent to GameStop and obtained by Kotaku, the newest PS3 systems will disable high definition signals from component cables, requiring the use of an HDMI cable to show an HD image.
"This means you will want to offer an HDMI cable with every new 'K' model PS3," the memo helpfully points out. HDMI cables are often sold at a huge markup in retail stores, and this makes the purchase of one mandatory if you're buying a new PS3 and want to connect it to an HD display. This change will only be seen in new units; existing hardware won't be affected.
So why would Sony make this move? Some Sony Bravia televisions already require an HDMI connection to display video in the full 1080p resolution, and of course an HDMI connection is a protected path to your television, complete with a form of DRM called High-Bandwidth Digital Content Protection, or HDCP for short. This move will give Sony more control over how the image is used, while limiting the possibilities for recording or duplication. Also, retailers can now make a few bucks selling HDMI cables alongside the system.
I'll let you guess who loses in this deal. We've contacted Sony, and will update the story if we hear back.