With its new $300 price tag, the PS3 Slim has been selling like crazy, and the fact that it's an excellent Blu-ray player is at least part of the reason.
Since Blu-ray's inception, the PS3 has been our reference Blu-ray player, only recently getting edged out of the top spot by the Oppo BDP-83. Now that the new 3.00 firmware has been released, we've had some time to put the PS3 Slim through our Blu-ray testing suite.
Editors' note: This story has been updated since publication to reflect that the PS3 Slim can now stream Netflix.
Testing the image quality of the PlayStation 3 has always been a challenge, mainly because it does not deinterlace native 1080i content to 1080p at 60 frames per second. That means test discs specifically designed to assess Blu-ray image quality--like HQV, Spears and Munsil, and Qdeo--aren't helpful; they all feature 1080i content and the PS3 just passes it along without processing. The PS3 Slim is no different in this regard. Not much Blu-ray content is available in 1080i, however, so this quirk of the PS3 isn't a huge problem in real-world scenarios.
Without the comfort of our reliable test discs, we switched to our favorite challenging passages from actual program content. The kitchen scenes during chapter 2 of "Sunshine" are often difficult for lesser players, but the PS3 Slim had no problem rendering the ridged cups or striped shirts. It also handled the end of chapter 6 on "Ghost Rider," where we sometimes see moire in the grille of the RV on players with faulty 1080i deinterlacing. A couple of select scenes from "Spider-Man 3" looked flawless as well.… Read more