Sony PlayStation 3 Game Console/Blu-ray Player Page 3
One of the PS3’s best aspects is its speed, which is second to none. Its power-on cycle time is about 10 seconds, while Java-intensive Blu-ray Discs load in about 30 seconds. Once the movie starts, disc navigation is instantaneous. Sony’s MovieIQ is the latest BD- Live enhancement. It lets you look up cast, director, and other information while a movie plays. On the Angels & Demons Blu-ray Disc, the feature worked flawlessly on the PS3. Even the speed-demon OPPO BDP-83 hits a speed bump loading this feature, but the PS3 didn’t miss a beat. Gotta love that Cell processor.
I used the PS3 with a JVC DLA-HD1 D-ILA projector and a 76.5-inch-wide Stewart Firehawk projection screen. As expected, the picture quality is every bit as good as I’ve come to expect from Blu-ray. The ultra-dark Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince was enthralling with the PS3 as my primary source component. Dimly lit backgrounds are the norm, and the player doesn’t mask any of the phenomenal shadow detail. The audio performance (whether bitstreamed or internally decoded) was outstanding. This was especially the case in the opening scene when a trio of Death Eaters descend upon London with their sights set on Diagon Alley. The overhead shot of the city is mesmerizing, and a plethora of discrete effects bombard the room from every direction. I saw this film theatrically, and the PS3’s audio and video reproduction is nearly as good (if I could only fit a 60-foot screen in my viewing room).
Tim Burton’s films have a certain visual flair, and 9 is no exception. Co-produced with Timur Bekmambetov, it tells the tale of a dedicated scientist who provides the spark of life to nine of his creations in humanity’s final days. The story is depressing, but the animation is astounding. It’s some of the best I’ve seen from any studio that’s not named Pixar. Whether in foregrounds or backgrounds, the detail is outstanding. The PS3 doesn’t inhibit the multi-layered textures in the VC1/1080p encode in any way.
I rarely watch DVDs anymore, but I had the PS3 in my system during Christmas, and one of my kid’s favorite films is Disney’s The Santa Clause, which isn’t available on Blu-ray. While the picture is watchable, it’s a far cry from native 1080p. Foregrounds are reasonably sharp, but the backgrounds are hazy and lack definition. But that’s the norm from a 480i source. To think, less than five years ago, we were happy with DVD!
The PlayStation Network offers an abundant supply of content, including game demos, movie trailers, movies, and TV shows. I have a Netflix subscription, so I rarely venture into the proprietary store unless I’m looking for free content. Netflix’s video quality is no better or worse than other supported devices I’ve used. Standard-definition programming is cringe inducing, but the 720p high-definition content is decent enough. Its quality is somewhere between DVD and my compressed HD cable feed. The audio output is limited to stereo.
I’ve happily owned a PS3 since January 2007, and I consider it to be one of the best A/V products I’ve ever owned. The slimmer version of the PS3 takes something great and makes it better. It’s ultra-quiet, it can bitstream Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD Master Audio, and it doesn’t look half bad, either. My only complaint is its lack of native IR support, but nothing’s perfect. Highly recommended.