In its time, the Playstation 2 was a cutting edge games console. It was also one of the first DVD players, bringing digital quality movies into the home – unfortunately, it was rubbish at it. Fast forward 10 years to the Playstation 3 – a cutting edge high-definition games console that also doubles up as a Blu-ray player. But is it any good at it this time?
The difference this time around is that Blu-ray was always an integral part of the design and part of the reason for the Playstation 3. It was Sony’s vision that one system should be able to do pretty much everything – play games, watch movies, surf the internet – and any shortcomings in any of these areas would immediately expose its high price. Because of this it was planned and executed very carefully.
Is it any good as a Blu-ray player?
The short answer, for most people, is yes – the Playstation 3 is a highly accomplished Blu-ray player. Pop a Blu-ray movie in like Casino Royale, Cars or Spider-Man 3 and you’ll have an eye wateringly good image on your HD Ready screen, and great sound quality, without really doing much. So on that aspect alone it is a worthy Blu-ray player. But it gets better…
Why you should buy the Playstation 3 as a Blu-ray player
It is also relatively future proof – as new Blu-ray profiles are added, and new features become available, the Playstation 3 will automatically update itself via your internet connection. As this article is written, the PS3 already has the BD-Live profile some time before the first BD-Live standalone players have even been launched.
One of the annoyances of Blu-ray players, and now defunct HD-DVD players was the length of time it takes from switching the machine on, to actually watching the movie. On some machines you’re talking about a wait of a minute or even longer. The Playstation 3 whilst not spritely, is much quicker, and for that reason is easier to live with.
The price of the console is also a factor. Although not cheap at around £200, is still good value when you consider that it is always updated with the latest blu-ray spec and firmware, and of course you get a games console too, and the raft of cheap games available means you get the best of both of gaming and movies.
Why you should not buy the Playstation 3 as a Blu-ray Player
However, if you are serious about your home cinema, it does have some potential issues you should be aware of as some people might them as showstoppers:
- No HD Bitstream output – If you have a recent home cinema amplifier which has the capability to decode a Dolby TrueHD or DTS-HD Master soundtrack, you’re likely to be disappointed. Whilst you can still get HD sound, it will come as an already decoded signal.
- No IR receiver – The Playstation 3 uses bluetooth technology on the controllers and remote control, and not the standard Infra-red signal. So if you have a programmable remote like the Logitech Harmony series, you won’t be able to use it.
- No remote control is included, you have to use the games controller. Remotes are available separately, see the review of the official Sony remote here.
The other thing we need to mention of course is that the Playstation 3 is also a games console! If you want or need an high definition player but are not interested in the gaming aspect, it is still advisable to get a dedicated player. Otherwise, the Playstation 3 really is the only choice, and is highly recommended.