|Sony Premium 60 GB Playstation 3|
|Home Theater Video Players Blu-ray Players|
|Written by Bryan Dailey|
|Wednesday, 01 November 2006|
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The first downside only applies for a few months. It is virtually impossible to get your hands on one of these systems unless you sell off a kidney or have a boss like AVRev.com’s publisher. Extremely limited numbers of them are available; despite a recent flood of them on eBay, there is going to be a tremendous shortage for the holidays. A few hundred thousand more may trickle into the market before the end of 2006, but based on the fact that millions of kids and gaming geeks are still scouring every store and online retailer for these boxes, the day you can just stroll into any store and pick one up at retail price is most likely two to three months away.
The PS3 is a great gaming system and a very good Blu-ray movie player, but unfortunately not a good DVD player. DVDs played through the system look darker, more lifeless and flatter than I had hoped. The controls for navigating movie discs, both Blu-ray and DVD, on the Sixaxis gaming controller are just about as clunky they were with the PS2. A traditional style remote control that works via blue tooth is on the horizon for the PS3. This will be another “sell up” that these consoles are so famous for. They never come with more than one gaming controller, and of course, you guessed it, that is another $50 accessory. An HDMI cable can run you $25 to $150 depending on quality. If you want to run your system via component video, the required cable will set you back about $60.
So far, with about 20 hours of gaming under its belt, my PS3 has locked up only twice, both times during the World War II first-person-shooter Call of Duty 3. Firmware updates may remedy this problem and the fact that the game is frequently auto-saved as each level is passed made it easy to get back to where I was in the game, but it is a little worrisome to have a system exhibit a glitch like this. You will want to take note that if you pause the system and don’t touch the controller for several minutes, the controller will lose its connection. This is done to save the battery life of the Sixaxis controllers, but it is easy to think the system is locked up, when in actuality the controller just needs to be reactivated by pressing the Playstation logo in the middle of the controller. A red indicator light on the top edge of the controller will let you know if it is active or not.
Sony is on to something interesting with their rechargeable (via the included USB Cable) wireless Bluetooth motion-sensitive controllers, but Nintendo has taken this to a much higher level with their new Wii system ($250). The Sony Sixaxis controllers almost seem as if they were a quick afterthought put into the system to compete with the Wii. I found the reaction time to movements of the Sony controller much slower and less accurate than the Wii demo systems I have played in stores. This will perhaps change as developers focus on the movement abilities of the Sixaxis controller, but for now I haven’t used it often in the handful of games I have played.
The last thing that gives me pause for concern is the amount of heat that the system generates. It’s not going to burn your hands, but if mounted in a small space with limited amounts of circulation there is a good chance the system can overheat. Vent holes all around the sides constantly pump hot air out of the system and it will raise the temperature of your entire cabinet. Systems are going to keep getting faster, and in doing so they are going to generate more heat. It’s inevitable. But just be aware that this is the hottest-running game system you can put in your system today, with the Xbox 360 coming a close second.
It’s hard to live up to the hype surrounding $10,000 plus pre-sale prices for the PS3, but it does trounce Microsoft’s mighty Xbox 360 in terms of technology, sex appeal and the fact it is the least expensive Blu-ray player on the market. To their defense, Microsoft will have a $200 external HD DVD drive to add to the many Xbox 360 systems out there so gamers can be HD movie junkies at a very affordable price. Considering gamers’ willingness to spend $50 or more for a game title – they might just be the best audience to whom to sell high resolution movies.
In my experience, the Sony Playstation 3 is actually a better Blu-ray player than the $1,000 Samsung BDP-1000 first-generation Blu-ray machine, but lack of RS232 control and not-so-fantastic DVD performance will make the need for another HD player a must for most home theater enthusiasts. Sony, Panasonic and Pioneer should have second-generation Blu-ray players to market, and Toshiba will have their generation two HD DVD players complete with 1080p video output, on the streets possibly before St. Nick makes an appearance at a chimney near you. My advice is if you can get your hands on a PS3 – do so by all means, but in the end you will want another player for your back catalog of DVDs, and maybe something a little easier to control than the PS3 when you consider the needs of a more sophisticated Crestron or AMX-controlled system. All of that aside, what makes you think you will be watching movies in Blu-ray anyway? You will have to peel your kids away from your HDTV using a putty knife before you can spin up a movie. You will need another Blu-ray player as well. When you see the picture on your PS3 the cost will be easy to justify. Movies in HD are the only way to fly.
At $599, the 60 GB Sony Playstation 3 is an incredible value. Its gaming power shows huge potential and free online gaming saves you some dough compared to the Xbox 360. The Blu-ray functionality is equally impressive. Its role as a computer is somewhat limited but can provide you that late night fantasy sports fix in ways a traditional DVD player or game machine simply can not. Audiophiles will rejoice at the fact SACD wasn’t forgotten, but it is the game play that really makes the Playstation 3 worthy of such strong praise. Even if you are too old or too cool to play some Madden with your kids, you have to have both of your retinas detached to not see how strikingly incredible the picture and action looks. Factor that in with 1080p movies on Blu-ray and you have a case for why it might just be worth bucking up on eBay for one of these machines. In the 10 year history of AVRev.com, we have never ever suggested our readers pay above retail for a product before, but Playstation 3 is so impressive we might need to break that tradition. The Sony Playstation 3 is beyond the Holiday season’s hot gift. The PS3 is ground-breaking technology, and the most significant convergence component ever sold.