Friday, 12 October 2007

The Blu-ray Dream Machine

After 5 years my ageing, but trustworthy, Toshiba SD-520 multi-region DVD player finally stopped working on Tuesday night! Sony's PS3 (60GB Premium Version) price cut, announced on Wednesday, couldn't have been better timed! A backlog of Doctor Who DVDs and a desire to indulge in Blu-ray eye candy notwithstanding!

I most certainly couldn't justify a PS3 purchase at launch! £424.99 was far too high an entry fee! However, the new price, £349.99 (including two selected video game titles) while stocks last, is a veritable bargain! Why? The key selling point is Sony's ongoing firmware update strategy (combined with technological trimmings)! And this month is no exception to that rule!

Not satisfied with adding standard definition DVD upscaling for HDTV. This month's firmware update will usher in Blu-ray Profile 1.1, which includes upgraded interactivity featuring true video picture-in-picture playback, and improved DVD player performance (the 40GB model ships with the latter). Future updates purportedly will be headlined by the highly-anticipated DTS-HD Master Audio upgrade!

Such firmware-based scalability arguably puts the PS3 at the forefront of Blu-ray playback and no other standalone Blu-ray machine can compete at this price point! I can't comment on the intrinsic value or merits of Microsoft's external HD DVD drive for Xbox 360.

Throw in PlayStation 2 backwards compatibility, SACD playback and MemoryStick / SD / CompactFlash connectivity (options only available on the 60GB model) and gadget-geeks (myself included) have an all-in-one multimedia hub worthy of the 5 stars awarded by T3 magazine!

My advice is to invest in the 60GB model, HDMI 1.3 compliant cable and Sony Blu-ray Remote, because the 40GB is nowhere near as good value by comparison! And, while you're at the checkout, be sure to grab a copy of the amazing Spider-Man Trilogy (Blu-ray)!