Very recently I came across some interesting PS2 applications which opened doors to multitude of options. One thing lead to another and at end of the day this is what extra I can do with my PS2
1) I can play DivX (man they play way better than PC)
2) I can play MP3s
3) I can load programs from my USB drive (no more burning DVDs, hurray!)
4) I can load stuff from network
Following are some utilities and links which should get you started on getting all this and possibly much more from plain old deprecated console. Most of the information is already there. What's missing is these very softwares. (HINT) But you can get nearly all of them from torrents (/HINT)
1) SMS Player: Plays DivX, MP3, provides support for both PAL/NTSC. Provides virtually every feature you can think of while playing a DivX. Can load movies from USB drive. After getting it I have stopped playing movies on my PC. Playstation plays it more smoothly and gives better resolution. I have configured my PS2 with my TV Tuner card. While playing a DivX on a PC media player most of the times I get to see movie in only two-third or less of the screen. Rest is cut. But SMS players allows to gobble up entire screen without any lose in quality. You must see it in action to understand the difference. Not sure how much PS2's hardware capabilities contribute in this. You can get it from here http://sms.ps2-scene.org. They have disk images but I recommend that you burn the latest release yourself.
2) Swap Magic: Magic? Huh! What can be magical about a PS2 utility which is not even a game? Well embrace yourself. Good (read Great) things do come in small packages. This nifty little piece of genius can play pirated PS2 games without modchip. Apart from that it lets you play video format of other regions (PAL/NTSC selection). This is how you use it.
- Boot PS2 using Swap Magic disc.
- Select appropriate options.
- Eject Swap Magic disc (now you know why it is called Swap Magic)
- Put in the game disc.
- Enjoy :D
4) UsbExtreme PS2: This is the software you need if you want to play games using USB hard drive as storage medium. This suite has a windows based utility using which you can format a particular hard disk partition and transfer multiple PS2 games onto it. Secondly it has a bootable CD using which you boot your console. This utility can than load the game from hard disk. Cool! right?
I have used all these utilities very recently. Reason I am so excited about them is that I never knew they existed. I am sure there are many more PS2 softwares out there (PSLinux for one) which can add an entirely new feature to an old new console :).
In any case I will get a Playstation-3 by next year. Assassin's Creed demos are amazing.