Should I get a PS3 or a stand-alone blu-ray player?

I’d like to upgrade to a blu-ray player for my home theater set-up, and I am trying to decide between getting a PlayStation3 or just a standalone blu-ray player. I am most interested in getting high quality picture and surround sound. Being able to play games is a secondary consideration (though I am sure I would do that, too, if I got the PS3). I would not want to spend more than $300, which is what the PS3 slim is at now.

So, does the PS3 have top-quality picture and sound? Or is that compromised because it’s also a game system? Any advice appreciated.

The PS3 is a top quality Blu-Ray player, as good as any on the market right now. I have mine hooked up to my 1080p screen and 5.1 surround, and I love it.

As for the games part, it depends a lot on what your gaming tastes are and what other systems you may or may not have. But for movies, it’s excellent.

You can also now stream movies from Netflix. I love my PS3, the movie quality is excellent.

PS3 no doubt. It’s the best BR player on the market and is continually updated via firmware updates.

There is only ONE thing I HATE about the PS3 BR player…it doesn’t have a remote. There isn’t even an IR port in front for a universal. It operates on bluetooth so you have to either use the controller (kind of sucks, especially when you accidentally bump a trigger) or by a bluetooth enabled remote, which isn’t neccessary for anything other than the PS3 so it’s a big waste of money.

That said though it is a great BR player.

Get the PS3 so you can use netflix on it.

The remote issue is the killer for me. You can get a converter so you can use a regular universal remote, but that isn’t the cheapest option.


Do you know if it can do 7.1 surround as well?

Thanks everyone for the feedback so far - it seems like a good option (except for the remote part, which is annoying but not a dealbreaker for me).

I personally would not get a PS3 unless you plan to play games as well. Its a much more complex piece of hardware than is needed to play Blu-rays. They can also get loud, depending on the model you have - not sure of the slims, but the fan runs pretty loud on my release model(s).

In my own experience they are also not very reliable - I’ve had 2 fail so far (yellow light of death). Since I was out of warranty on the first one I paid Sony’s $149 fee for a refurb replacement…which failed out of warranty a few months later (they only warrant the replacements for 90 days). Now they want another $149 to fix that one, which I’m sure will also break outside the 90 warranty.

Buy the simplest piece of hardware that will fit your needs.

Well, I just got an unexpected PS3 myself…yeah, I’d better tell this story first, huh.

Okay, so my old TV died. It was a ten-year-old rear-projection model, huge cabinet, not worth spending the money to fix (the convergence ICs fried). So I go to buy a new TV, find one at Best Buy that I like, and slide the ol’ credit card. The TV has to be ordered and won’t be here until Thursday, so I’m ready to head out with just my paperwork. Then, the checkout guy hands me a PS3, with a movie and a game. “No no no, I only bought the TV,” I protested. “It’s actually cheaper if you do it this way,” he said. Sure enough, when I get home I look online and see that they’ve started a sale wherein it’s actually cheaper to buy a Sony TV with a PS3, a movie, and a game, than to buy the TV by itself. So, without intending to, I’ve ended up with a PS3.

Anyway, now that that story’s out of the way: it’ll be a few days before I get the TV, so I haven’t even tried out the PS3 yet, but I did read something interesting in the manual. It says that if you have a Sony Bravia TV (the type I ordered), certain functions of the PS3 can be controlled via the TV’s remote control if you have them connected via HDMI. So, perhaps the TV’s remote can be used to control it as a Blu-Ray player, rather than the gaming controller. I’ll have to try it out and report back.

You can get a good Panasonic or Sony even Blu-Ray player for $150 or less. That’s half the price of a PS3, which doesn’t include a remote and looks like the droppings of a spaceship. As long as you get a blu-ray player that can connect to your network to install updates, you should be fine.

I’ve been a video game writer for years and normally the default response to this question is to go for the PS3, but since the price differential has grown to half, and since the PS3 is the least popular of the 3 game systems now (whether that makes it any better or worse aside) it’s less of a lock.

If you just want to be able to watch movies, you shouldn’t have to deal with something made to play games to do so.
Unless you have a professionally calibrated TV bigger than 70 inches and thousand+ dollar speakers and better than average hearing and vision, you wont be able to tell the difference between an amazing blu-ray player and a good one.

That is, unless you think you might want to play a game one day, then maybe it’d be worth it to have a PS3 on hand. Or, with the PlayStation Network, you can download/rent movies from their online store, but for both of those things I prefer the Xbox 360 experience better… So… right, I stick to what I said before.

This is very interesting, thank you. The stand-alone blu-ray players that I was looking at (recommended by Cnet and other sites) were all around $300, which is why I was comparing to the PS3. If I can get a good blu-ray for half that, I would certainly lean that way. Any models you can think of in that price range that are good.

FTR, I’ve got a 50" Samsung DLP. Right now I’ve got only 5.1 surround but will be upgrading to 7.1 at some point soon (perhaps very soon is Santa is good to me).

Here’s a Panasonic for $130

It’s got everything you could ever need, including the ability to download/stream movies from Amazon’s Video on Demand service, which is quite nice. It automatically checks for updates whenever you turn it on, and it’s got HDMI and optical-audio outputs, which is all you could ever need for your current or near-future setup (they’re the best outputs currently available).

In my experience, DLP TVs are a bit brighter and more washed-out than flat panels, since they’re projection-based and built around the technology of a bigass light bulb shining your moving pictures at a mirror, so it’s hard for them to do dark colors very well. Not horrible by any means, my main TV was a Sony DLP for a while and I didn’t have many complaints. That said, Blu-Rays will look brighter, which sometimes makes them look better, but it also means that if you got a $900 blu-ray player with dynamic contrast darkness whatevers, you wouldn’t even be able to tell.

So, yeah, $130 buckos.

Cool, thanks for your help.

I own the Blu-ray player weirdaaron linked to and would recommend it highly.

Also, if you go the standalone player route, they typically do not come with an HDMI cable in the box, so order one now (in fact, order 3 now so you’ll have extras in the future) from someplace online like or Nothing more annoying than having to spend $25 for an emergency HDMI cable from Wal Mart, when you could have gotten one online for $6 shipped.

I’d bet on the PS3 out of worry that updates required to watch some new movies might be more of a hassle to get on a third-party player.

My understanding is that the Bluray spec is… not fully implemented by all players, and that, as earlier copy-protection gets broken, newer parts of the spec get incorporated into new copy-protection mechanisms. The upshot of this is that, from time to time, you’ll need to update the firmware on your device. Firmware updates for standalone boxes will come from the manufacturer, so you have to hope yours is on the ball. And, it’s entirely possible that there will be some bug that actually prevents some players from ever updating, at which point you’re screwed on new discs.

The PS3 is Sony’s flagship Bluray player and, as such, will always be in the testing gauntlet for any newly released disc, so I would expect to never have such problems with it. For Sony to let a PS3 get locked out would be the death knell for the format.

Note that the problems I mention in this post might have been solved in the newer-gen players, and might not ever be an issue. I haven’t kept up on the various Bluray security issues in the last year or two.

I’ve become a bit of a PS3 fanboy this year, but it all depends if you’re going strictly for just the bluray aspect. You’ve mentioned 7.1 a couple times - are you upgrading to a solid AV receiver or already have one? If you don’t currently have one, I think your $150 will be better spent upgrading your receiver/speakers. The HD lossless audio formats are fantastic on BR.

But honestly, I love my PS3. Yeah - you can’t turn it on with a universal remote. But you can control it with a universal remote ($15 Nyko Bluray IR dongle). And if you’re just using it as a BR player, it turns on once you put in a disc. Or if you really REALLY want to control it AND turn it on with a universal, Logitech makes a Bluetooth-to-IR adapter that’ll take care of you (~$80).

As for the PS3 as a BR player - it’s faster (load times on average players is poor). Upgrading is a cinch (I don’t use the wifi since the player is right next to my router - but it’s very fast, and setup is incredibly easy since the game portion of the player lends itself well to that). Netflix is a great addition that doesn’t come at an extra cost (and is just as good as your internet connection). Media streaming from your home computer is also a good bonus. Plus, you know, games.

It appears that I will be getting a new A/V receiver for Christmas (which is what prompted this thread in the first place). My current receiver is 10 years old, and showing its age.

Based on what I’ve read here, I don’t think doubling the cost is worth it for the PS3, since I barely have time to play games on my Wii. I had been under the impression that I couldn’t get a decent standalone blu-ray player for less than $250, which made the PS3 much more attractive. But since it seems like there are good ones at $150 or less, that’s where I’m leaning.

I hope your new receiver has HDMI switching and upconverting.

Sure does :slight_smile:

Then Merry Christmas!