Sony Premium 60 GB Playstation 3 
Home Theater Video Players Blu-ray Players
Written by Bryan Dailey   
Wednesday, 01 November 2006

It was surreal on Friday November 17, 2006 a day that will live in infamy for gamers across the USA, to actually lay my hands on a virgin Sony Playstation 3 system. Eager customers waited as long as an entire week, camping outside of stores nationwide to be sure they would be first in line to experience Sony’s answer to the Microsoft Xbox 360. With a reported one hundred million PS2 units sold worldwide, Sony supposedly would only be rolling out a measly 300,000 PS3s on launch day, with about another 100,000 shipping to stores and online retailers before the end of 2006. By video game standards this is a miniscule number; however, what will be of great interest to home theater enthusiasts who have been watching the HD DVD versus Blu-ray format war is the fact that more Blu-ray players landed in the homes of US consumers in one day than had been sold in several months. More than sold by Toshiba with their first generation HD DVD player AND by Samsung with their stand-alone Blu-ray player. Priced at $599 (or a heck of a lot more if you buy one on eBay) for the 60 gig premium system and $499 for the 20 gig standard system, the Playstation 3 price tag may seem steep at first glance, but a little quick math will show that if this system lives up to its hype as a game system and has quality Blu-ray playback, there is an argument to be made that this is the most well-priced and important video game system in history.

Several years ago, when word of Microsoft’s Xbox 360 began spreading around gaming websites, HDTV was still out of financial reach for many consumers; only early adopters had plunked down the big coin for their 720p/1080i sets. Forty-two inch plasmas were around $8,000, 56-inch rear projection DLPs were around $5,000; truth be told, they all pretty much stunk compared to what you can now get for significantly less than half the price. DLP color wheels have gotten faster and have more color segments. HD-ILA TVs have deeper blacks, and today’s plasmas don’t “burn in” as often – if ever. Many of the old sets didn’t even have DVI digital inputs, let alone an HDMI input with HDCP compliance.



Microsoft introduced the Xbox 360 game system in late 2005, and by that time, the prices of quality HDTV displays had dropped significantly. Most sets had HDMI or at least DVI digital inputs, and some even had multiple digital inputs. Many gamers were ready for this HD-capable system from Microsoft and had their spare HDMI input ready to go on their TV, switcher, AV preamp or receiver. Some talked about the possibility of HD DVD playback capability and digital HDMI output, but it was not to be.

Microsoft took advantage of the 2005 holiday selling season and cranked out as many boxes as possible, getting about a million into gamers’ hands at launch, but many consumers, myself included, were disappointed to find no HD DVD drive and no digital video output. Surely PS3 would have HDMI and was going to be powered by Blu-ray, so I kept a space on my switcher reserved for PS3, and November 17, 2006 was the day this spare HDMI input was filled.

Moving my feather-light Nintendo Game Cube and Sony PS2 out of the way to make room in my theater for the PS3, I quickly realized what a serious piece of gear the Sony Playstation 3 is. With a weight of 11 pounds, the compact and stylishly boxed PS3 feels quite dense. The Xbox 360 was actually less bulky than the original Xbox, but the PS3 is noticeably larger than the PS2. The system is 3.9 inches wide by 12.8 inches long and 10.8 inches deep. Sony opted to put the power transformer inside the PS3, while Microsoft’s box has a large gray brick that sits outside the console. I actually prefer the way Sony did it, as all you need to do is plug in the included standard computer-type power cord, flip the small toggle switch on the back, and your PS3 is powered up.

Opening the box, I noticed the packing materials are not up to the level of a company like Apple, but still the look, smell and feel of a virgin video game system on launch day are something to experience. Included with the system is a standard power cable, as well as a wireless Sixaxis controller, an Ethernet cable, a short USB cable, a composite video cable (red/white/yellow RCA), the instruction manual and a Blu-ray disc of the Will Ferrell NASCAR comedy “Talladega Nights: The Ballad Of Ricky Bobby” (Sony Pictures), just to remind everyone that this is more than just a game machine, it’s a Blu-ray player too. You’ll note the lack of an HDMI and/or component video cable. It has been reported that the PS3 costs Sony around $900 per unit for the first few million that they make, so it’s understandable why they didn’t include every single cable option. Official Sony as well as a host of aftermarket HD cable options are available. If you have a native 1080p input, you will need to have an HDMI cable. If you want to listen to multi-channel SACD discs, your receiver or AV preamp will have to be at least HDMI 1.2 with the capability of decoding audio coming down the HDMI cable. The highest video resolution you will get out of the box with the PS3’s included composite video cable is 480p, the same as standard-def DVD. A menu in the display setup screen allows the system to automatically detect the highest resolution available for your display, and will set up the system for it. The maximum resolution is 1080p at 60hz via HDMI 1.3.

The system and controllers have been shown online in many variations, colors and styles in spy and prototype photos, but at launch the first generation PS3 is a shiny black rectangular box with a curved top that has a higher quality feel than either its predecessor or the muted white, bulky-looking Xbox 360. The finish of the PSP is the same as the handheld PSP Playstation portable. The Premium 60 GB PS3 has silver trim and slots for external memory cards in a flip-up window just to the left of the disc drive slot. The 20 GB version lacks this decorative silver trim and does not have memory card slots, and also lacks the 802.11b/g wireless card inside for connecting to the internet wirelessly as well as linking PSP units to the system.

Like the PS2 and Xbox 360, users can lay the system flat or stand it on its side. When standing sideways, however, the relatively thin football-shaped footprint just screams out “tip me over and ruin me.” Unless it’s going to sit in a very secure, out-of-the way location, I highly recommend you don’t stand the PS3 on its side. The small multi-colored retro Playstation logo between the eject button and the drive slot can be rotated so it’s oriented to suit your tastes. If you are really punk, you can set the logo for vertical orientation while the system is laying flat. Go ahead, do it, I dare you.

Both the 20 and 60 GB systems feature the same 3.2 GHz Cell Broadband Engine processor created jointly by Sony, Toshiba and IBM. Microsoft and Sony can fight till they are blue in the face about the performance specs of each machine (I have seen several conflicting reports), but the one thing I can tell for certain is that whatever the PS3 is doing under its hood, it’s generating a hell of a lot of heat while doing it. The PS3 really cooks so I don’t recommend putting it in any kind of sealed cabinet. The first Xbox 360s generated reports of overheating; it wouldn’t surprise me to see some thermal shutdown issues with the PS3, but I have yet to experience a problem with this. Sony states that the PS3 has “heat bars” to dissipate heat without having to resort to using noisy fans.

The Blu-ray drive inside the system allows users to play Blu-ray discs, DVDs, PS3 video games and SACD audio discs. The front loading drive has excellent action as it gently pulls the disc in; a small row of soft felt-like material on the top and bottom of the disc brushes dust away, keeping it out of the inner workings of the machine. This drive is the heart of the system and it’s what sets the PS3 apart from other gaming systems. However, it is also what caused the extreme shortage of systems at launch, as it has been widely reported that the blue diodes needed for the Blu-ray drives have been in short supply. To handle the graphics, Sony has included a very powerful RSX graphics processor.

The upgradeable 60 GB Serial ATA hard drive (20 GB in the $499 unit) allows users to save their player profiles, save their places in games, store video clips, movies, pictures, music and other assorted media. I will not go into what it takes to upgrade the hard drive’ however, unlike TiVo users—who have to crack their boxes open and have a degree in computer science to upgrade them—Sony has provided easy access to the PS3 hard drive through a slot on the left side of the machine labeled HDD (hard disk drive). I’m sure computer geeks around the world will be posting online in droves about how they now have 160 GB of space on their PS3 and have downloaded a bootleg clips of “Spiderman 3” stored at 1080p resolution.

A built-in web browser (potentially much easier to use with an aftermarket keyboard and mouse) is available. Using the provided Ethernet cable with a spare port on my 4-port router, I set up the internet connection using the auto DHCP setting; it quickly grabbed an IP address and was set up and ready to go. The web browser is a proprietary one developed by Sony rather than a typical Microsoft Internet Explorer or Apple Safari browser, and other than a few little glitches with forms and Java applications, browsing the internet with the PS3 is pretty simple. However, I don’t in any way shape or form recommend this as your sole connection to the web. Chances are effectively doing your online bill-pay at the bank or your Christmas shopping on Amazon.com will not be a breeze on the PS3, but if you want to quickly check your online email or a sports score or two while gaming and your laptop isn’t handy, the PS3 can get the job done.

This internet connection also makes it possible for gamers to play other PS3 users around the world (once a satisfactory number actually have systems) and Sony has thoughtfully set up a link on the system menu to the online Sony store. Online users can purchase, download and store music as well as video clips, demos of games and in the future order games and accessories directly from Sony.

The Games
Having purchased Madden NFL 2007 (Electronic Arts) for Xbox 360, I was quite eager to find out if the PS3 version would bring something new to the table. The Xbox 360 is DVD-based, and the games discs can fit about 4.7 gigs of information on single layer disc. The Blu-ray-based discs, if made dual-layer, can potentially be as large as 50 GB in size. This means there could be PS3 games that are dramatically larger than anything available for the Xbox 360. Sliding the Madden 2007 disc into the drive with the 360 version fresh in my mind, I was a little surprised to see it was almost an exact duplicate. The word on gaming sites among hardcore users is that the first batch of 27 titles for the PS3 doesn’t do anything to push the envelope of this new platform, but the potential benefits of all of this added storage capacity is going to be tapped into with the next wave of games.

As the title screen of Madden 2007 comes up and the famous “E A Sports… It’s in the game” narration sounds, my competitive juices begin flowing. The Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack is hard-hitting and the native 16x9 aspect ratio picture displayed at 720p on my JVC HD-ILA is nothing short of spectacular. This game, as most modern sports games today, has become so realistic that it can be extremely complicated to learn. Long gone are the days of the long bomb a-la-Tecmo Bowl with only the A/B buttons on a Nintendo keypad to worry about. Spin moves, dives, jukes, stiff arms and pump fakes are just some of the moves players have at their fingertips. Where the PS3 version differs from the Xbox release is with the Sixaxis controller. The controller itself can be quickly moved to throw different types of blocks to create open lanes for running backs to follow through. Running was the weakest point of Madden 2004; it has become increasingly improved over the years. Madden 2006 for the Xbox 360 was a big disappointment, but with the new level of control in the PS3, the 2007 version has brought the franchise back to the front of the pack in video football games. Just be careful, when using the new controller motion techniques, not to accidentally punch your friend in the face if he is sitting too close to you.

War is hell and ever since the opening sequence of “Saving Private Ryan,” a host of World War II-based video games has sprung up using this intense war scene as the inspiration for their game play. The Call of Duty series (Activision) began with storming the beach at Normandy, and this third installment of the series takes us further into World War II. Call of Duty 3 has improved graphics and again takes advantage of the Sixaxis controller. When both your character and a Nazi enemy are out of bullets and attempt to engage in hand to hand combat, quickly rotating the entire controller back and forth makes your soldier on screen struggle. If you are quick enough you can smack the enemy in the head with the butt of your rifle and knock him out. The explosions and the gritty action in this game are so realistic that I don’t recommend it for any war veterans. It may trigger flashbacks that have you diving behind the couch and sleeping with a gun under your bed.

Gran Turismo 2 was one the best-selling video games for the PS2, so I wanted to see what the first car racing offer for the PS3 was. Ridge Racer 7 (Namco Bandai Games) is a pretty run-of-the-mill car racing game as far as game play is concerned, but visually it’s a stunner. The action is fast and you make your way around turns more by “drifting” than actually turning, making the game feel quite unrealistic, however, it is an impressive demo for its graphics and the ability to resolve detail that flies by the screen at warp speed. The game that race fans are looking forward to most on the PS3 is Gran Turismo HD that will feature full 1080p support.

Sports games are always favorites of mine and 2S Sports’ new release of NHL 2K7 features game play that is pretty much exactly like the 2006 version for the Xbox 360, but where the PS3 version shines is in the backgrounds, details in the crowd and the stadiums. Having recently seen the LA Kings in Los Angeles at the impressive Staples Center, it was mind-blowing to see how accurately the 2K sports developers have rendered this modern arena.

Sony Computer Entertainment’s NBA 07 has home games for both the Lakers and Clippers, also in the Staples Center, and these developers have done just as amazing a job creating the stadium as for basketball games. The sound of the basketball bouncing on the court, the shots hitting the rim and the music that plays during the player introductions are so incredibly realistic now that nothing surprises me anymore in games. The only problem with this game is that it's so graphics intensive that the players will "merge" with each other sometimes as the arms and legs of the players onscreen will sometimes pass through each other in a ghostlike fashion.

Playstation 2 Games on the PS3
With one hundred million PS2 systems on the street, chances are most savvy gamers have a few titles on their shelves. Fans cheered at the fact that Sony promised full backwards compatibility out of the box with the PS3 for all older games. This came in the form of a small system software update that automatically ran when I was first setting up the system, and since running this I have had no problem playing any of my Playstation 2 games. The problem is, going back and revisiting these 480i games in 4x3 aspect ratio after playing games in glorious 720p on my TV and the new Pioneer 1080p plasma of a friend, is the biggest buzz kill known to man. You really don’t know how far you have come until you look at where you were before. Virtua Fighter 4: Evolution (Sega) on the PS2 was once my favorite console game (until being replaced by the boxing game Fight Night 3 for Xbox 360) and now looks downright boxy and pixilated. The sound is scratchy and low-fi. As much as I’m glad to see there is backwards support for the older games, I don’t foresee a day when I’ll be going back to ancient history to play these low-res games. It will be only a matter of days until they are up on eBay to raise more money for native PS3 games and Blu-ray movies.

Blu-ray Movies
Last month I picked up “X-Men: The Last Stand” (Universal DVD) and was amazed at the quality of the transfer. It was one of the best DVD releases I have seen in quite some time; as I watched this film through my reference DVD player, the Integra DPS-10.5 via the HDMI output, I thought to myself, I wonder how this will look on HD DVD or Blu-ray? I was stoked to see this film was just released on Blu-ray. I thought that there couldn’t be a better test for the first Blu-ray movie on the PS3. The first batch of Blu-ray movies like “The Fifth Element” had some transfers that were stinkers, and I wanted to put the best fuel possible in the PS3.

As a Blu-ray player, the PS3 is so much faster from power up to the time the picture comes on the screen compared to the Samsung Blu-ray player, it is scary. No Windows 3.0-looking hourglass icon. You boot the PS3 up and within about six seconds the Sony logo/system menu comes up with a little classical music fanfare. You scroll over to the Blu-ray drive icon and launch the disc. The picture glitches a time or two as the HDCP copy protection and HDMI cable do their thing and within less than 10 seconds, the “X-Men” Blu-ray menu was up on the screen. For a generation who doesn’t like to wait for anything and lives for instant gratification – this is a welcomed improvement over the first generation Blu-ray players. It also thankfully never gave me the dreaded HDMI error message that is so common on first generation HD DVD players when switching between inputs while a movie is playing. While watching any Blu-ray movie, I could switch to my satellite receiver, check the USC football game score and then go back to my Blu-ray movie without the disc starting over from the beginning. Try that on a first generation Toshiba HD DVD player.

Selecting the scene towards the end when Ian McKellen’s character Magneto, who has the power to move metal, lifts the entire Golden Gate Bridge and drags it to Alcatraz, my jaw about hit the floor. Having just watched the exact same scene from the DVD a few minutes prior on my Integra DPS-10.5 DVD player, the best way to compare the video improvement from DVD to Blu-ray is to say that it was no less subtle than if your doctor corrected your prescription in your glasses. The level of detail in the opening panoramic shot of the Golden Gate Bridge from the San Francisco peninsula is nothing short of visually spectacular on Blu-ray when played on the PS3. If you want to nitpick, looking for dot crawl, you have to stick your head unnaturally close to the screen (five feet or closer). From a normal seating distance the picture was not just impressive to the videophile, it is so noticeably better than DVD grandma will start dropping hints that she wants a Blu-ray player for Christmas. There is no question Blu-ray from a PS3 via HDMI at 1080p into a 1080p HDTV is absolutely better than even the best scaling DVD players.

As Magneto raises his hand and rips the bridge supports out like a super-powered Yoda using The Force and some steroids he got at a shady gym near the San Francisco Giants’ practice facility, the long expanse of the red bridge against the blue sky in the background was the only time when a curved line showed any signs of “jaggies.” This very long but slightly curved line is a very tough challenge to accurately resolve. When sitting 12 to 13 feet away on my couch in the prime viewing position, these step-like lines that created the curve of the bridge were not visible. If you want to scour the format and the transfers for faults, you will find them, since, much like the game developers, excited like a kid who just got that Crayola box upgrade from 16 to 48 crayons, the movie studios are still trying to figure out how to best get information from film to 1080p video. Much like music engineers eventually figured out how to make CDs sound more musical than they did at the launch of that format, Hollywood studios have quite a few tricks up their sleeves to get home video looking its best for you on the HD formats. For an early peek at what is possible, buy or rent the Adam Sandler film “Click” on Blu-ray. It was shot using the Sony-Panavision digital camera and has more of the look of native HD for a movie.

Keanu Reeves and Sandra Bullock saved a bus full of innocent Los Angeles commuters in the mid nineties and it’s all documented in beautiful 1080p on Blu-ray disc format in the movie “Speed” (20th Century Fox). It’s not the best transfer, but is better than average, and for those with HDMI 1.2, the disc features DTS HD 5.1 with lossless audio. In my system the audio is carried from the PS3 via a Tos-link cable to my Integra receiver and is decoded as standard DTS 5.1, but still packs a powerful punch. As Keanu Reeves’ character climbs under the moving bus as it cruises around the runways at LAX airport, the added resolution of Blu-ray draws you into the action. I’ve seen this film a time or two in standard def and was mildly entertained. With the lights dimmed in my theater and this Blu-ray disc spun up, I found myself on the edge of my seat. Mission accomplished. The point of these new formats is to bring you deeper into the action, and this Blu-ray release of “Speed” does just that. When I was eight years old and was playing Atari games on my trusty 2600 console, I’d never have dreamed of the day when video game systems would have a picture that rivals the local Cineplex. It only took 22 years for it to finally happen.

DVD Movies on the Playstation 3
Now that I had the third X-Men movie on Blu-ray fresh in my mind, it was time to take it back to standard def. The PS3 automatically recognized the format change, the Blu-ray icon on the menu changed to a gold DVD icon and I launched this movie. Again going to the Golden Gate Bridge scene, my jaw dropped once more, this time in disappointment. Surely something must have been wrong. The picture looked dull, flat and lifeless. Was the PS3 trying to upscale the 720p? Checking the settings, it had automatically adjusted to 480p, so it wasn’t a scaling issue. Sony had to skimp somewhere to save space and money; it seems as if the DVD playback capability is one of the areas that suffered. Testing several more discs from “Cars” (Pixar/Disney) to my black and white favorite “Sin City” (Dimension), I couldn’t find a DVD that looked really good on the PS3. I even bypassed my HDMI switching receiver temporarily to see if it was the internal scaler in the Integra that was causing the poor picture, but had no such luck with direct HDMI or composite outputs. I was hoping to free up some space in my theater, but like every DVD player built into a video game system I have tried before, they just couldn’t cut the mustard against the Integra DPS-10.5. For average users this might be a significant problem, but I suggest that if they are going to spend the big money for the bad-ass Playstation 3 system, they invest at least $2,500 in a true 1080p HDTV to get the most from it and in doing that use a good scaling 1080p DVD player and/or buy one or both of the HD formats.

SACD on the Playstation 3
SACD was Sony’s attempt at trying to recreate the audio excitement of the CD all over again but this time with higher resolution audio for stereo and surround sound. The format was a flop with everyone but the audiophiles who whom it was marketed, mainly because of a format war with a competing format DVD-Audio, a lack of major label support and not very much music created in surround sound.

The Playstation 3 can play these discs and can play them very nicely. For stereo music, you can actually hear the difference between CD stereo versions of records like the epic ‘Thriller” (Epic) from Michael Jackson. On “P.Y.T.” on SACD, played back from the Playstation 3, you can hear significantly better bass definition, but more important for me was the impressively improved layering of the wonderfully produced track. “Thriller” is a stereo SACD, but can be a wonderful way to impress your buddies when showing them what your PS3 can do. People still love music and this classic album brings back many a fond memory from days when Intellivision and Atari game systems ruled the world.

One of the fatal flaws of SACD was its lack of digital multi-channel audio outs. To suggest that consumers needed to use anywhere from six to nine audio outputs as well as get a new AV preamp or receiver with a six channel analog input, was a big part of the format’s failure. The powers behind SACD needed to be more worried about creating a format that people wanted to steal, than how people would go about stealing it. This brings me to surround sound audio on SACD from the PS3, which requires you to have an AV preamp that can take an HDMI 1.2 (or even better, the soon-to-be-released HDMI 1.3) input which will take all sorts of high resolution audio from the likes of DTS and Dolby in a digital format on one cable. My system has HDMI switching for video but I wasn’t able to eke surround sound SACD from the PS3 without a preamp upgrade, and considering what the company paid for the PS3 I was playing – asking for a new $4,000 AV preamp might get me fired. Fear not audio fans, HDMI switching is the buzz word in receivers and it won’t be more than a few months before receivers have HDMI inputs that solve the age-old analog audio problem, manage 1080p video without the amazingly annoying HDCP “handshake.” issues and more.

The Downside
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.

Conclusion
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.
Manufacturer Sony
Model Premium 60 GB Playstation 3
Reviewer Bryan Dailey





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