The New TV Makes Me Think of PlayStation 3

As I mentioned back in March, our old TV was dead, kaput.

But we did keep to the timeline laid out.  A new TV was purchased that Friday.

The shopping process started off exactly the way I feared it might.  My wife, my mother (who was in town for a visit), and I went to Costco to stare at the TVs they had on display, a process that quickly lead to indecision.

After some time, my wife started calling around to other places while we stood at Costco, mesmerized by an array of large screens and potential features.  She found that a nearby Target had a Samsung model that was discontinued and marked down.

This ended up being a 46″ unit, which had been marked down to $600.  This turned out to be a boon for us, as it saved us from one of the pitfalls of television purchasing.  The rule, as I am told, is that you should figure out what size TV you think you need, and then buy the unit that is one size up from that.

We were looking at 42″ models and ended up with a 46″ Samsung LN46C530F which, as it turned out, fit just fine in our TV space.

The New TV

It fit into the space and actually gave us a viewing area in 4:3 mode, of 35″ diagonal, making it effectively bigger than our old set.

And once I got all the other pieces hooked up, things looked pretty good.

The DVD Player upconverts and hooks into the TV via HDMI, so our movies look good.  I got a component video cable for the Wii, so it is playing at the highest resolution it can.  And the DirecTV box… well, it only has S-Video and composite video output, and the TV doesn’t do S-Video, so we are kind of in the worst possible case on that front.

But everything was fine and we were satisfied… for about two days.

By Sunday my wife was asking about what it would take to upgrade DirecTV to HD. (A new dish, a new receiver, and more money.)

Meanwhile, I was feeling disatisfaction with the Wii.  It’s 480p output was fine on the old TV, but when you want to stream NetFlix though it, you start wishing for a bit higher definition.

Of course, I wouldn’t mind seeing Blu-Ray on the new set.

And, after sorting through options, it looks like the next item on the wish list is a Blu-Ray capable device.  That seems to get us the most bang for the buck.  You can find a Blu-Ray player with built-in wireless and the ability to stream NetFlix in the $200 range.

But once I got into that price range I started looking at the Sony PlayStation 3.  For $80 more you can get the PS3 with the 160GB drive which does Blu-Ray and streaming and plays games at 1080p.  The problem there is that you have to start piling on extras.  It only comes with a single controller, so you have to get another one right away.  And it you want PlayStation Move, that is more still.  Then there are the games, which run $60 a pop.  And frankly, aside from the LEGO games, I am not sure if there is anything that compelling on the PS3.

So the PlayStation 3 ends up being a chunk of change, depending on how far we take things.

Is there anything really compelling about the PlayStation 3 that I am missing?  Or should I stick with Blu-Ray player that can stream NetFlix?

Meanwhile, I am tempted to spend a few bucks on an antenna just to see how good the local stations look sucking the signal out of the air.

29 thoughts on “The New TV Makes Me Think of PlayStation 3

  1. Jovaneh

    you don’t need to buy Move along with the ps3 system now.. just because [sadly] there are still no AAA games for it yet. after that’s fixed – hell, yeah.
    on the other hand, the option to experience LBP and LBP2 with your family is totally worth buying ps3 and not only one, but two additional controllers right away. :) you won’t be sorry :)


  2. We Fly Spitfires

    The PS3 is an excellent console, not just for gaming but for everything it can do. The blu-ray player is obviously a huge boon but it’s also handy being able to surf the net, stream photos, music and videos from your PC plus I think you guys get NetFlix on it in the US which is cool. We get the BBC iPlayer in the UK along with LoveFilm. And you get to play games of course :) Definitely recommend it.

    And yeah, suddenly once you have a big HD TV standard definition starts to look quite rubbish doesn’t it? :)


  3. Ani

    If you don’t mind the cord, skip the wireless option and you can get an internet-enabled Blu-ray player for under $100. I couldn’t stand the buffering of Netflix over wireless anyway.


  4. james

    other than you can play all your retro playstation and ps2 games on the new playstation 3 as well. if you dont have either of the the older consols you might enjoy playing the older games spyro and crash were always fun kids games.


  5. p@tsh@t

    I went PS3 a while ago mainly because it had Blu-ray and was an extremely versatile device. The PS3 as a game platform was an afterthought.

    While Blu-ray (with surround audio– the only way to go, IMHO) is excellent, by far the most use we get out of the PS3 is Netflix streaming (1080p and 5.1 digital surround).

    It probably gets used for streaming everyday of the week. As a result, we only end up watching queue-worthy Blu-ray titles a couple of times a month.

    Having it native to the platform and a decent network connection make all the difference for the stream.

    I’ve used it as a media center to stream digital audio from a computer that hosts our cd collection, but it doesn’t get that much use.

    Likewise, I’ve used it for accessing pictures and digital video hosted on another machine. Don’t use it that much this way either.

    The only game we consistently played on it was Portal.

    If I were considering it now, knowing what I do about the quality of Netflix streaming, I’d actually consider forgoing the Blu-ray entirely and focus on a box that could deliver streaming and/or other downloadable content.

    Blu-ray is a nice plus, but I suspect Blu-ray’s reign will end soon enough. Still we’re quite happy with the bang for the buck with the PS3.

    You’d want the blutooth tv-style remote for movie watching or you’ll go insane fiddling with the controllers.


  6. Wilhelm Arcturus Post author

    @Ska – The only problem with that is that everybody I know who has done the PC/TV thing has ended up with a half-assed, unreliable mess in their living room.

    I’m not saying it couldn’t be done right, I’m just saying I have never seen anybody do it right.

    @Ani – I saw a $79 unit at Best Buy, wired internet only, so considered it, but the TV is in an awkward place, in the living room on the slab with no crawl space, so wiring it would be… unpleasant.

    @James – I thought they killed PS2 support in the later PS3 consoles.

    @Potshot – Yeah, offered up the Blu-Ray remote as part of a package when I looked at PS3’s online, which is what made me aware that I might need that.

    @Jason – That is, for the moment, the default answer. I just want to see if somebody has an “OMG, you totally need a PS3 for…” suggestion. HiDef LEGO Star Wars is tempting, but not quite enough.


  7. james

    huh that was a stupid thing for them to do the older models supported them i’m glad i never bought a ps3 then good luck on deciding.


  8. BenD

    PS2 support is still in the PS3, but it’s no longer hardware support. I am not an expert on what that means, but I understand that a few games don’t work, and some games don’t work as well on the PS3 (mostly meaning the loading times got longer) as they did on PS2. I picked up a refurbished PS3 from the hardware-support era so I can’t offer much more information than this.


  9. Skaa

    @ Ani – I use a wireless-n 300 router for the Xbox, Tivo, and HTPC. They can all stream netflix with almost no buffering. and the three unit can share the same wireless switch. Never tried streaming on 2 at once though since there’s only 1 TV connected.

    @We Fly Spitfires – Newegg has BR drive internal with a seperate dvd writer internal for 65bucks, external might be a bit more. Could probably find a comp for 200. Not sure what a PS3 goes for.

    @wilhelm – With the new micro pc’s theres not much to making it work. Plug in the power, plug in the hdmi tv, add a wireless keyboard, done. Hulu streaming on the TV is better than Netflix if you want primetime shows.

    In general though I love my xbox. The Kinect is amazing and fun for the whole family. We’ve had the whole neighborhood over. Doesn’t help you with BlueRay but personally I’m skipping Blueray and going straight to pure digital, who needs another collection of video that will be obsolete in 5 to 10 years.


  10. Pantsula

    The only reason to get a PS3 is for LBP. I was offered a cheap PS3 but turned it down. I already bought the Sony Blu Ray player from Costco that can stream Amazon (don’t forget them if you like Dr Who), Netflix, Hulu Plus, Youtube, Pandora etc.


  11. mbp

    “The rule, as I am told, is that you should figure out what size TV you think you need, and then buy the unit that is one size up from that.”

    Did a TV salesman tell you that rule by any chance? It is a few years since I went TV shopping but when last I did I was pleased with myself for getting a bargain on a nice 42″ screen. My wife was less pleased because she felt it dominated our living room too much. She actually made me bring it back and swap it for a smaller model.


  12. mutharex

    You can ge ta pair of PLC to enable LAN in any point of your home.
    The PS3 isn’t that great a console anyway, I got it and a 360 and I use mostly the 360 for games (multiformat games play better on the 360, going from quite better to A LOT better, check Red Dead Redemption for example, or Black Ops). Exclusives haven’t fared better, Killzone 3 is tanking in sales, GT5 was a disaster, I bought LBP for 15 euros a month after it came out…
    Get a standalone Blue-Ray player (if you REALLY have to) with Netflix, don’t waste money on somethign you not likely going to use


  13. scotth

    If you do not really need to play dvd’s, and you might not, something like apple tv or a roku might work for you. They are pretty small, work on wireless, and are pretty inexpensive.

    An aerial is worth it, assuming you can get a decent signal where you live. The picture is really good, but it might make you want to spend more to upgrade your direct tv.

    Oh, and somewhere, electronics executives are rubbing their hands together and going Muwahahaha…


  14. coppertopper

    @Skaa – does that interal blu ray player come with the requisite BD playing software? That is the hitch usually with the drives – you can get them cheap but then find out you can’t actually watch a blu ray movie without the software (windows media player on Vista doesn’t play blu rays and have yet to find free blu ray playing media software online).


  15. Bryan

    The PS3 is probably one of the finest gaming consoles I have ever owned. It literally does EVERYTHING! I view the system as primarily a bluray player with the added bonus of being able to play AAA console games (the Uncharted series is a favorite of mine) on it. As far as pricing goes the PS3 is expensive, but in my opinion, worth it. Sometimes having a controller in your hand is far better than the old keyboard and mouse. Plus, you get to sit on the couch!


  16. pkudude99

    For me, I’ve got an older model 37″ tv in the family room downstairs and I hooked a Roku wireless box up to it. Streams Hulu and Netflix in HD just fine. I’ve got the Wii hooked up to this also. Used to run the Netflix through it, but it always had such poor picture and sound quality, I’m *very* glad to have made the upgrade to a Roku.

    Upstairs I’ve got a 32″ internet-capable tv, so it’s already streaming everything I need on it. I have a cheap blu-ray I got for $65 hooked up to it for movie watching. I could hook the PC up to it also, but I leave that in the office with its 22″ monitor. I’ve also got it hooked wired into my router, even though it’s fine wireless anywhere in the house. I can watch Hulu and Netflix in there too if I feel like it, but I usually don’t.


  17. Skaa

    @coppertopper I didn’t realize there was anything VLC couldn’t play, as I said I’m skipping BR though. Great information though, thanks

    @pkudude99 The roku was definitely a contender when I was choosing, it’s a great little box. Hulu doesn’t let most of my shows stream to TV though. I was doing Playon to the Xbox but the Xbox had trouble decoding 1080p for me

    I expect the Onlive box to end up with netflix, hulu, and the others or the roku to end up with onlive, either way to play the hardcore pc games on the bigscreen would be tempting


  18. pkudude99

    @skaa — yeah, I’m finding that the HuluPlus for tv has been quite disappointing, so I do move the laptop to the tv every so often so I can watch “regular Hulu” on it.


  19. Skaa

    @pkudude99 if you have a game console check out playon. It will let you stream video from you computer to the tv so things like hulu think they’re playing on a computer and not a tv screen. Also lets you access on your android phone at home or away from it.


  20. Adam

    My biggest complaint with the DVD with streaming Netflix is that you can only get what’s in your instant queue – there’s no browsing.

    A minor annoyance to be sure… but my wife got my a PS3 as a Father’s day present when my son was born… since I got her the Bluetooth PS3 remote, she LOVES watching Netflix on the PS3 because you can search very easily, and it doesn’t have to be pre-qeued up.

    I’ve also had a lot of issues with the wireless internet on the dvd players… when I hooked up the one my parents got, it seemed like every other time you had to go back into the unit to re-enter the password for the wireless internet… which is annoying when your parents have difficulty just opening email.


  21. Wilhelm Arcturus Post author

    @Adam – That might be a deal maker/deal breaker detail you have brought up right there. The initial version on NetFlix on the Wii wasn’t queue only, but was so ugly that it might as well have been. We have since grown used to the updated version that allows browsing and search.

    It seems small, but it is a quality of life issue.


  22. Xyd

    Buy the PS3 and a copy of Black Ops so I can frag your ass. :-D

    The PS3 a great Blu-Ray player, good Netflix streamer, good gaming console and can do some other multimedia stuffs (stream music, julienne fries, etc.). It’s small and quiet and I leave mine running 24/7. Standalone Blu-Ray players with Netflix streaming will sock your wallet about the same as a PS3 and they’re arguably lesser quality Blu-Ray players with many taking as long as the PS3 to boot albeit without the additional features.

    I’ve done the PC route with mythtv, SageTV and BeyondTV and it’s not worth the trouble. System and/or software updates inevitably bite you and you end up stuck doing a system or software update while your family stares at you because they’re waiting for the TV.

    Now PS3 is not as good a gaming console as the Xbox360 (IMO, of course). @mutharex nailed it: just play Black Ops a couple hours on both and you will see why. Also, you have to buy a subscription to play multiplayer online with the Xbox. We have both here in the Xyd house but the PS3 still gets the game playtime mostly because I’m boycotting the monthly Xbox Live fee.

    Now go run the Best Buy while they’re still open and I’ll be waiting for the friend request.


  23. Beleg

    I don’t know the answer, and I’ll admit I didn’t read most of these comments, but there’s a “Insignia NS-WBRDVD Blu-ray Disc Player with Wi-Fi” available on right now for $60. That beats the pants off a PS3, I think. Linky is my “website”.


  24. Shadow

    The show is White Collar, the character is Peter Burke. I’m not sure if the silhouette is Neil Caffery or not, but that is his apartment if I remember correctly.


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