Projectors and Console Gaming:
Finding a match for your gaming habits
Sony's Playstation 3 is the most advanced, and most expensive, of the current available consoles. At the heart of the system is a Blu-Ray drive, allowing playback of Blu-Ray movies without the need for an add-on drive or accessories. And while previous systems required the purchase of a special DVD remote to enable playback, the PS3 can play movies right out of the box (a remote is offered, but not required).
All models of the PS3 released have HDMI 1.3 as well as the option for component video. Thanks to a firmware update, the PS3 now supports 1080p/24 for Blu-Ray movies. And while most games are still 720p, there are a significant number of games in native 1080p - as well as the entire catalog of Blu-Ray movies. In addition to all of this, the PS3 is an excellent upconverting DVD player by all accounts, and it can also play back many video formats from the onboard hard drive. As such, you may find yourself using the PS3 as an all-around media center, as I did.
Due to the widespread availability of 1080p content for the Playstation 3, it makes sense to pair the system with a 1080p projector. This allows you to display Blu-Ray movies at their native resolution, play any native 1080p games you have at their native resolution, and upscale any DVDs you play to 1080p very cleanly. With 1080p projectors like the Sanyo Z2000 and Mitsubishi HC4900, 1080p can be had for roughly $2,000. However, if you have the budget for a higher-end 1080p projector such as the Optoma HD80 or Panasonic AE2000, you will likely notice the improvement.
Once again, if you have time to spare, consider waiting for the new offerings from these manufacturers. Sanyo's next-generation 1080p is called the Z700 and retails for $1,995 right out of the gate. It should be available within a month. Panasonic's AE2000 is being replaced by the new AE3000, though pricing has not been established. Even if you don't want one of the new models, their release should trigger price drops on the older generation of projectors.
Sony's Playstation 3 is, in many ways, more than just a game system. The incorporated Blu-Ray drive and impressive hardware capabilities make it a good choice for movie watching, both in standard- and high-definition. It is a perfect match for a 1080p projector and a great all-around media appliance for any theater.
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