The PlayStation 3 is arguably one of the most advanced home consumer entertainment products ever, but it's missing one of the most rudimentary features found on every $40 DVD player: an infrared remote sensor. That means that you can't control the PS3 with a traditional universal remote; you're instead forced to use the console's included Sixaxis controller or Sony's Blu-ray DVD Remote, both of which interact with the PS3 via Bluetooth. In the wake of some kludgey workarounds and hacks, however, more bona fide third-party solutions are finally available. One such option is the Nyko Blu-Wave Infrared Remote, which retails for just $20.
The Blu-Wave package includes two components: a USB dongle (which adds the infrared receiver to the PS3) and an infrared remote. The remote is black and outlined in silver chrome, and feels good in your hand. It requires two AAA batteries (included). The clicker is, for all intents and purposes, a Sixaxis controller (minus the gyroscope) morphed into a more traditional DVD remote design. In addition to all of the standard PS3 controller keys (square, triangle, X, and circle buttons, and so forth), Nyko added shortcuts to all of the on-screen movie playback options--fast-forward, rewind, pause, play, chapter advance, display, top menu, and the like.
To get it working, you simply pop the dongle into any one of the console's front USB ports. It should begin working immediately, and there's no software to install. In our testing, the Blu-Wave remote performed well. There were no problems when playing DVD and Blu-ray movies, and it did a decent job with "special features" such as the shooting gallery on The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen Blu-ray disc. Our only complaint was when we exited to the PS3's main menu--there was a noticeable lag when navigating the system's Cross Media Bar interface. The remote was simply not as quick as the Sixaxis controller.
While the Nyko remote performs ably enough, it's still yet another remote on the coffee table. We were more interested in just using the dongle with our existing universal remote. Because the Nyko remote uses proprietary codes, we had to take the time to "teach" them to our Philips Prestigo SRU8010. But if you have a learning remote like the Philips, it shouldn't be a problem. After a few minutes, we were finally controlling the PS3 with our one and only remote--the Nyko was tossed away in a drawer for safekeeping.
In the end, there's really only one annoyance that keeps the Nyko Blu-Wave from being a perfect PS3 remote solution--and it's not Nyko's fault. An IR remote can't be used to turn the PS3's power on or off (the USB ports aren't active when the PS3 is off, so the dongle can't accept any commands). That means that you'll still be forced to use the Sixaxis at the beginning and end of every PlayStation 3 session (or use the power switch on the console itself). While some are holding out hope for a firmware update to fix the issue, the idea of Sony investing time and effort into fixing a third-party accessory seems slim at best.
Bottom line: if you can live with that power limitation, the Nyko Blu-Wave Remote is a cheap and easy way to add infrared support to your PlayStation 3, whether you use the included remote, or opt for your own universal model instead.