The Xross Media Bar (XMB) is the graphical user interface for the PS3
The first Sony product with a XMB interface was the "Sony PSX" in 2003 (A hybrid of a PS2 + DVR player with recorder capabilityes only released in japan, see: PSX sony.co.jp and Wikipedia PSX), later was used by the PSP, then PS3 and some Bravia TV's
The word "Xross" (the "X" itself) is a reference to the alignment of the icons in rows and columns, each column is a category
|XMB manuals.playstation.net:||Users||Settings||Photo||Music||Video||TV/Video Services||Game||Network||PlayStation Network||Friends|
Installable Content (games or apps in .pkg format, and a few PS2 Discs), and contents in PS3 Discs, are "preloaded" by XMB using an small file (see: PARAM.SFO) this file is indexed in a database for efficiency purposes and fast access (see: XMB Database) and contains an identifyer that belongs to an specific XMB column (see: CATEGORY)
The dynamic lines on the background theme are more condensed into a 'ribbon' rather than the PSP's large waves, unselected icons shrink slightly and every selectable background color has been made a shade darker.
The PS3 includes the ability to store various master and secondary user profiles, manage and explore various photos format(.MPO since FW 3.70) with Photo Gallery or an ordinary musical/non-musical slideshow, rip audio CDs, rip iTunes AAC protected files, play and copy music and video files from the hard disk drive, an optional USB mass storage or Flash card, or an optical disc (Blu-ray Disc or DVD-Video).
Since FW 4.30, trophies have been moved to the PlayStation Network category, in which Online shopping through the PlayStation Store is possible.
The Friends menu allows email with emoticons and attached picture features and video chat which requires an optional webcam (although the PlayStation Eye and the EyeToy are official webcams, most USB webcams will work).
The PS3 reserves 48 MB of RAM at all times for XMB functions, multi-task in ways such as listening to stored audio files while surfing the web, looking at pictures or playing games.
The XMB by default changes its color depending on the current month of the year and brightness depending on the time of the day (only in original and classic Themes). XMB color can be configured to "default" (changes every month) or one of the 12 color preconfigured for months, in XMB Settings column ---> Theme settings ---> Color
This change of color affects background, waves, all the icons, and other images like the "side menu". The color is applyed to the originall images like a "color filter" layer over them (note originall icons are semitransparent white to improve this effect)
The background images changes acordingly with the month. The file lines.qrc contains 24 textures_month_bg_*.dds images of 64x32 pixels. Each day has 2 different images for "day" and "night". See QGL_modding
The color filter and brignhness values in this tables are not the exact values, is unknown how this filters are applyed, where are stored, and how works, see Talk:XMB for speculations
XMB can be configured to display the texts in several languages, this same language codes are used in contents that contains several languages availabes (like games, trophy installers, themes, etc...). The font can be configured to "original", "rounded", and "pop", see XMB Fonts page
|01||en||English (United States)|
|12||fi||Finnish||Not available on PSP FW 6.60|
|13||sv||Swedish||Not available on PSP FW 6.60|
|14||da||Danish||Not available on PSP FW 6.60|
|15||no||Norwegian||Not available on PSP FW 6.60|
|16||pl||Polski||Since PS3 FW 3.15, not available on PSP FW 6.60|
|17||pt-br||Portuguese (Brazil)||Since PS3 FW 4.00, not available on PSP FW 6.60|
|18||en-gb||English (United Kingdom)||Since PS3 FW 4.00, not available on PSP FW 6.60|
|19||tr||Turkçe||Since PS3 FW 4.30, not available on PSP FW 6.60|
 Virtual Shell (VSH)
The Virtual Shell encapsulates the XMB interface. It is loaded at: /dev_flash/vsh/module/vsh.self
And has numerous modules and descriptor files. The VSH does not directly load the XMB interface, it loads support modules to do that instead. The modules directly responsible for the XMB interface are in /dev_flash/vsh/module/ and include:
explore_category_friend.sprx explore_category_game.sprx explore_category_music.sprx explore_category_network.sprx explore_category_photo.sprx explore_category_psn.sprx explore_category_sysconf.sprx explore_category_tv.sprx explore_category_user.sprx explore_category_video.sprx explore_plugin.sprx explore_plugin_ft.sprx explore_plugin_game.sprx explore_plugin_np.sprx
Those modules are responsible for processing the XMB descriptor files (.XML format) used to generate the XMB interface. All of the above modules except for "explore_plugin_game.sprx" and "explore_plugin_np.sprx" contains a full list and location of XMB configuration files and the "root" entry which is to be loaded for the root of the category for each firmware type (CEX/CEX-Shop/DEX/ARC/TOOL).
It's important to note that explore_plugin.sprx is capable of managing most of the XMB categories, and thus, not all of these modules might be in use at any time. The explore_plugin.sprx is actually available to vsh.self and other modules through the xmb_plugin.sprx and xmb_ingame.sprx See Module Action
 XMB Configuration Files
These are .XML files which outline the logic of XMB categories. All of the XMB .XML configuration files are located in path: /dev_flash/vsh/resource/explore/xmb/
|XMB Category||Retail XMB CEX||Debug XMB DEX DECR||Shop XMB Shop||Arcade XMB ARC|
|<filename>.xml||Root View id||<filename>.xml||Root View id||Demo Mode||Unlocked Mode||<filename>.xml||Root View id|
|<filename>.xml||Root View id||<filename>.xml||Root View id|
- 1The VSH heavily regulates the Setting Category and the .XML file is only used by when accessing the XMB "in-game", even then it restricts what parts of the .XML are actually shown. It is not possible to modify the Settings Category to any effect by editing the .XML configuration file
- This table is not inclusive of other PS3 firmwares, but their root entries are present in all PS3 Firmwares. All PS3 Firmwares (CEX/DEX/CEX-Shop/...) contain the *same* XML configuration files for any given firmware version.
- In category_friend.xml <View id="root_hide_friend"> is used when not loged in ? (no friends)
 Other XMB Configuration Files
These are XMB Configuration Files which are used in the 'behind the scenes' of running the XMB.
|Configuration File||Directly Dependent Modules||Module Use|
|category_user_login.xml||Found in all "explore_*.sprx" modules, except "explore_plugin_game.sprx" and "explore_plugin_np.sprx"||XMB Configuration File for the 'Log In' XMB Category, which only shows when no user is logged in.|
|download_list.xml||data_copy_plugin.sprx, download_plugin.sprx, friendim_plugin.sprx, photolist_plugin.sprx, playlist_plugin.sprx, scenefolder_plugin.sprx, sysconf_plugin.sprx, videodownloader_plugin.sprx, webbrowser_plugin.sprx, webrender_plugin.sprx||Used For the Download of Photos/Music/Video to various external and internal locations.|
|null.xml||Found in all "explore_*.sprx" modules||Dummy File/Testing Purposes?|
|playlist.xml||filecopy_plugin.sprx, playlist_plugin.sprx||Creating Playlists|
|registory.xml||-||Used for the organisation of User Data which is accessible from the XMB|
|savedata_list.xml||ps3_savedata_plugin.sprx, ps3_savedata_plugin_game.sprx, ps3_savedata_plugin_psp.sprx||Outlines the XMB entries for creating new saves, for both PSP and PS3 games.|
|upload_list.xml||-||Photo/Music/Video Locations for Upload|
|videodownloader_list.xml||videodownloader_plugin.sprx||For downloading videos, to both 'secure' and 'not secure' locations. USB Mass Storage devices are not included in either.|
 Sony Documentation