Book review: Secrets of the PlayStation Portable


PlayStation Portable (PSP) is a handheld game console produced by Sony Computer Entertainment. The PSP offers games, video, music, photos, as well as world wild internet (RSS readers) functionality. It is one of the fastest selling game consoles in history.


Usually I only read UNIX / Linux books. However, I love my games and gadgets, so I picked up this book.

The book Secrets of the PlayStation Portable offers advice (or tips) about how to get most out of PSP. It covers gaming, movies, multimedia, surfing web, setting up a Wireless Lan, tips & tricks and much more.

This is your ultimate guide to the Sony PlayStation Portable. The entire book divided into 14 chapters.

Chapter 1: Presenting the PlayStation Portable
This is chapter introduce you to PSP and takes you on a tour of your PSP. It introduces you to the almost all features of PSP such as Games, Movies, Music, Wifi etc. It is always fun to play games over wifi with your friends or partner. Most of us aware of all of these features but book takes you one-step ahead and introduce you to
=> Homebrew
=> Hacking a PSP
=> And detailed PSP tech specs etc

Chapter 2: What the Manual Doesn’t Tell You
PSP manual does have good information like how to insert UMD and so on. But the language is quite technical (author describes it as manual have been written by robots for robots … heh).

Surprisingly this chapter well tells you few things you will not find in the manual such as podcatching software, WLAN networking, types (Infrastructure networks and Ad-hoc networks), gathering information from wireless routers, connecting to computers, updating PSP fireware, homebrew, tips on how to increase battery time etc

Chapter 3: Caring for Your PSP
You will learn how to keep your PSP clean, tips on care taking for PSP media and headphones and most important how to avoid breaking it.

Chapter 4: Gaming on the PSP
Most people buy PSP for games only. Trust me this is one of the biggest reasons. This chapter starts with, how to get games and tips for purchasing games online (I prefer to purchase used games it saves money, but make sure store offers some sort of 48-72 hours replacement guaranty). It also covers memory management tips, backing up your games profile/data and hints on game control.

Finally, it has tutorial of a typical play session with a mew game (good for absolute new PSP users).

Chapter 5: UMD Movies on the PSP
Games are core of PSP but movies is one of the extra feature offered on the PSP. Because of the UMD’s large storage capacity and the PlayStation Portable’s large display screen, you will find films/movies in the UMD format. This chapter explains how and where to get UMD movies. It also explains how to play and control movies.

Chapter 6: Introducing Your PSP to Your PC
At some time, you will want to connect PSP to PC or Mac. This chapter explains how to connect your PSP to a Windows PC. It explains which file formats supported by your PSP and later how to manipulate files on a Memory Stick Duo.

Chapter 7, 8 and 9 offers tips on other cool features of PSP. Now you know how to hook up PSP to your PC. It is time to turn your PSP into entertainment zone.

Chapter 7: Playing Videos on the PSP
Learn how to organize video files on a memory stick duo and later play those files on the PSP.

Chapter 8: Playing Audio on the PSP
Learn how to organize your audio files and later play those files on the PSP

Chapter 9: Viewing Images on the PSP
Learn how to organize and optimize your image files for your PSP

Chapter 10: Web Connectivity and Your PSP
The PSP can connect to a wireless network through Wi-Fi, which allows it to surf the Internet or connect to other PSP for multiplayer gaming anywhere in the world.

After reading this chapter, you will end up setting up a WLAN. It also offers solution to common connection problems. This is a good troubleshooting guide for new users.

Chapter 11: Surfing the Web with Your PSP
Now you know how to configure and hook PSP to internet via Wi-Fi. It is time to surf the net using built-in web browser. You will also learn how to use RSS feeds so that you can read your favorite blog or news site.

Chapter 12: The Dark Side of the PSP
Homebrew is considered as the dark side of the PSP. Homebrew is nothing but the process of executing unsigned code (read as application not approved or licensed by Sony) on the PlayStation Portable. Usually geek people (or people with UNIX background) use term hacking for this kind of work.

This chapter offers some explanation – why people try to extent the capability provided by PSP.

Chapter 13: The Logistics of Homebrew
Now you know homebrew, it is time to use your knowledge. This chapter is for advanced users. You will learn more about PSP firmware-versions, eloader and where to get latest news on web for homebrew. Finally, you will learn how to use homebrew.

Chapter 14: Twelve Cool Homebrew Programs
This chapter offers list of applications and games you can find online.

You will also find two appendixes:

Appendix A. Nine Nifty PSP Accessories – Headphones, External Speakers and Other Awesome Accessories

Appendix B. Format Conversion Made Easy – Learn how to convert media format to PSP format – Converting Video/Audio/Images to PSP Format


When I picked up the book, I had only one question in mind – What unique feature does this book offers or what secret does it covers?

Advanced user will not find much information. Horeover, it is good buy for all new PSP owners (for example, my friend who is not a technocrat finds books quite easy to follow…):
=> Topics are explained very well
=> Graphic diagrams to understand concepts such as WLAN and USB connectivity etc
=> Overall author Joel Durham Jr. has done a good job explaining the PSP for novice PSP users.

  • Author: Joel Durham
  • Publisher: Peachpit Press
  • Pub Date: August 7, 2006
  • ISBN: 0321464362
  • Pages: 240 pages
  • Level of experience needed: None
  • Who will find useful: PSP Owners
  • Additional goodies included (such as CDROM) : No
  • Purchase online at Amazon

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I'm Vivek Gite, and I write about Linux, macOS, Unix, IT, programming, infosec, and open source. Subscribe to my RSS feed or email newsletter for updates.

1 comment… add one
  • james jackson Apr 1, 2009 @ 0:32

    I really want psptube on my psp but I don’t feel like going through the hacking process. Is there another way?

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