Sony Quietly Adds ‘HDMI Link’ Options To PS5, But It's Kind Of A Bust

playstation 5
Photo: Hopix Art (Shutterstock)

Today, Sony released an update for the PlayStation, adding, among other things, support for external storage of PS5 games. But, as reported by The Verge, Sony quietly snuck in a handful of bonus features in the update, including the ability to automatically deactivate HDR, plus a new suite of customization options bundled under “HDMI Link.”

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In the most basic sense, HDMI Link pairs your PS5’s power state to your TV’s power state. Turn one on, the other turns on—kind of. HDMI Link is split among two different functions: Power Off Link (if you turn off your TV, your PS5 will go into rest mode) and One-Touch Play (if you turn on your PS5, your TV will turn on and automatically switch the input to your PS5).

You’ll find both of these by heading to your settings, opening the System menu, and navigating to the HDMI submenu.

In particular, the latter option, One-Touch Play, is a godsend. Think about it: You play video games. You likely have multiple machines hooked up to your TV. Consider all the time you’ve spent thumbing through the various inputs, looking for the console you want (in this case, your PS5). With One-Touch Play, you needn’t remember which input your console is on, and you’ll reap some energy-saving benefits to boot.

Too bad it doesn’t appear to always work.

When I tested out the HDMI Link function on my TV this morning, I found that neither function works. (I primarily keep my PS5 hooked up to a 2019 Sharp Roku TV.) When I turned off my TV, my PS5 remained fully on, not in rest mode, and certainly not powered off. In a second test, when I turned my PS5 on, my TV didn’t turn on and certainly didn’t flip to the proper input.

Huh.

I tried it again on a second screen (a Toshiba Amazon Fire TV picked up last year) and was met with identical results. So I did what every flummoxed writer should do and pestered my colleagues until they tested it out for me.

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Kotaku’s Lisa Marie Segarra initially tried these functions out on a PC monitor. One-Touch Play worked just fine, but Power Off Link did not. Even after she unplugged the monitor, the PS5 remained on. However, on a several-year-old Sony Bravia TV, both functions worked. Meanwhile, for Kotaku’s Ash Parrish—whose PS5 is plugged into TCL TV—neither worked.

So, clearly, HDMI Link works in some cases, but it’s unclear what pre-requisites, if any, are required in HDMI displays for these two new functions to function. (Kotaku reached out to Sony for clarification but did not hear back in time for publication.)

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Today’s update also grants PS5 owners the previously nonexistent ability to store PS5 games on an external USB device. Following the update, under your “Games and Apps” submenu, you should now see a separate column labeled “Move PS5 games.” Transferring those games to an external device works exactly how it does with PS4 games: just check off the ones you want to move and click the “move” button.

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The catch is that you can’t play those games while they’re stored externally. PS5 games require the system’s built-in solid state drive to run. If you want to play a PS5 game on a PS5, you’ll still have to move it back to your console’s internal storage. (As the system will tell you in a pop-up notification, moving games from external to internal storage is generally faster than downloading them fresh.) For those with lightning-fast internet or stable wired connections, this feature might not sound like much, but it’s a true boon for those with iffy connections or data caps.

Oh, yeah, and despite the size of today’s update, you still can’t hold down the PS Button on your DualSense to turn off your console. Maybe next time.

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Clarification: 4/15/2021 12:10 p.m. ET: An earlier version of this article implied that HDMI-CEC functionality didn’t exist at all on PlayStation 5 consoles. We’ve updated the text and headline to reflect that the update added new settings for the feature.

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Staff Writer, Kotaku

DISCUSSION

NicholasPayne
Nicholas Payne

“HDMI Device Link” is Sony’s branding for HDMI-CEC, which your display needs to both support and have enabled for devices to be able to take advantage of it. It’s been around for ages, but it’s a flaky standard with even flakier adoption, so it’s mostly just used for changing the volume on your home theater with your TV remote.