We got a chance to test the 3D portion of the Sony PlayStation 3's, version 3.5, and the short story is that it works fine, aside from one minor issue that may be a deal breaker for audiophiles, and some compatibility gaffes with older PS3s.
For our test we hooked up our PS3 Slim to a number of 3D TVs in our TV test lab: the
For compatibility testing we tried six of the currently available 3D Blu-ray discs: "Monsters vs. Aliens," "Coraline," "IMAX: Under the Sea," "Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs," "Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs," and "Monster House." All played without a hitch in 3D mode, as they have on standalone 3D players like the
Further compatibility testing performed on an older, 60GB PlayStation 3 "fat" (first generation, February 2007 manufacture date) reveals that the player cannot recognize or play back either "Monsters vs. Aliens" or "Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs." The other four 3D Blu-rays mentioned above were recognized and played back normally.
We wouldn't be surprised if a firmware update appeared to fix this issue, but in the meantime it might be annoying for Samsung and Panasonic 3D TV owners; both "Monsters" and "Ice Age" are exclusives, respectively, to each company for now. We would be surprised, on the other hand, if theshowed the same issue.
We've contacted Sony for an explanation and when we receive one, we'll update this post. Until then we don't know for sure which versions of the PS3 can play which 3D discs, and why.
A couple of other oddities are worth noting. The PS3 makes extensive use of menu overlays for settings and status, and engaging them by pressing Triangle or Select during playback causes the image to revert to 2D, which can be a bit jarring. Removing the menu re-engages 3D mode. For what it's worth, other players we've tested can deliver overlays and maintain 3D mode.
Audiophiles may fume in rage that, according to Google's translation of Sony's Japanese press release (hat tip: AVS Forum), the PS3 is incapable of outputting high-resolution audio formats, namely Dolby Digital TrueHD and DTS-Master, when playing back 3D Blu-rays. We confirmed this issue using "Ice Age" and a
Aside from these minor issues, the upgrade making the Sony PS3 a 3D-compatible Blu-ray player (did we mention it's free?) provides a rare smooth sail in the otherwiseof this year's 3D TV revival.
Editors' note: This article was updated with additional testing of a first-generation PS3.