We decided to go with the PlayStation 3 for our Blu-Ray and HD streaming needs. Thank you to those who had suggestions on my post on the subject.
I ordered the 160GB model from Amazon.com.
Our tradition for buying console games is to collect all of our spare change in a jar, take it to the local CoinStar machine, and turn the change into an Amazon.com gift card. We had a little over $115 in change in the jar, plus some left over from our last gift card, plus some Amazon.com credit I had received for my birthday, which just about covered the cost of the base system.
Then I ordered a second controller and the Blu-Ray remote control, which is a controller that has the form factor of a TV remote and which makes navigating and watching movies a bit easier.
Elapsed time from opening the box to streaming a Netflix HD movie: 55 minutes.
Putting things together and hooking them up was not a big deal. I had an HDMI cable ready, since almost nothing comes with that cable. The cable that came with the system went into the sound system.
Setup was a little annoying. I would like a few words with the team that designed the data entry UI. For starters, the button for “I’m done entering data and want to submit this and move on” should be a lot more obvious. And why not give me the MAC address of the device when I am setting up the wireless connection? I have our wireless setup to only give out an IP address to a defined list of MAC addresses, so I needed it before the unit could connect.
And getting used to the buttons on the default controller took a bit. For some reason, in my mind, X should be negative/cancel and O should be affirmative/OK. However, the opposite seems to be the case in the land of the PlayStation.
And I was also a bit miffed that the second controller did not come with a USB charging cable. But I will probably want a stand-alone charger in any case, so the controllers aren’t hanging off the front of the unit.
All in all though, it looks quite beautiful on our new TV. Even the menus look very nice.
We streamed a couple of National Geographic specials that were in HD. The streaming over wireless did not seem to have any problems and picture quality was very good. I have not tried any of the other services yet, though the consensus of opinions I have heard so far is that Netflix is the only company that “gets” streaming and does it well.
I upgraded our Netflix account for Blu-Ray disks. We kicked that off with the series Rome. We had seen it before, back when it aired on HBO, but seeing it on a big screen in 1080p adds a lot of depth to the already stunning visuals of the series.
And then there are video games. I have had a couple of suggestion from people on what to get (Little Big Planet, The Orange Box), but the first game I bought was LEGO Star Wars – The Complete Saga. It was inexpensive, it plays in 1080p, and I thought it would make a good comparison with the Wii, since we have spent a lot of time with the game.
It looks and plays much better than the Wii version. It took some time to get used to the new button layout, but visually it is quite good. One of my gripes about the Wii version was that everything looked oddly shiny. Things are shiny on the PS3 as well, but it looks right. There was one point, on the first mission, where I could see the reflections of the characters in the floor on which they were standing. That sort of shine works. I would also like to see how the online co-op play works, something that is not an option with the Wii.
I do not want to go backfill all of the LEGO games we’ve played already, though I might consider getting The Clone Wars on the PS3. But going forward, I’ll be buying for the new system and not the Wii, starting with LEGO Pirates of the Caribbean.