While the Sony PlayStation 3 is one of the best values for high-definition movie buffs, it's always been somewhat of a pain to integrate in a standard home theater because it lacks an IR receptor. That means popular universal remotes, such a Logitech Harmony, can't control the PS3 and you're forced to break out either the PS3 controller or buy the Sony PlayStation 3 Blu-ray DVD Remote. For those who can't live without an activity-based remote, like us, it's a considerable drawback.
The only mainstream product to address this issue has been the Nyko Blu-Wave, which is a cheap fix, but can't turn the PS3 on or off, which means you'll need to do power the PS3 on and off manually or use a controller. To address this problem, a small group of basically homemade products have popped up on independent Web sites, offering the capability to convert standard IR commands to Bluetooth and use some clever macros to get around the PS3's peculiarities. The Schmartz PS3IR-PRO ($90, only available on the Schmartz Web site) is one of these devices, and it delivers on the essential functionality you'd want on an IR-to-Bluetooth converter.
The design of IR-to-Bluetooth converters is pretty much uniform, as they all consist of a small black box about the size of a pack of cards, with one side featuring IR receptors. Unlike the other converters we tested, there are no lights on the front of the PS3IR-PRO. That's a plus for home theater buffs looking to limit light sources, but, on the other hand, you don't get any feedback confirming that the device has received an IR signal. We prefer the option of choosing whether we want the lights or not, which is available on the ps3toothfairy.
Setup on the PS3IR-PRO is relatively simple. The first thing you need to do is "pair" the PS3IR-PROi with your PS3, which lets your PS3 know that it will be controlled by a remote. To do so, you navigate to the appropriate screen on the PS3, plug in the PS3IR-PRO, and then press "0" on the remote. One slight annoyance during setup is that after we added the PS3IR-PRO to a Harmony activity (Play PS3), we had to manually associate all the PS3IR-PRO functions with that activity. It's tedious, but you only have to do it once. It's worth noting that we had to do the same thing with all the IR to Bluetooth converters that we tested.
The main purpose of the PS3IR-PRO is to offer a way to integrate all the functionality of Sony's Blu-ray remote to a standard universal remote. The PS3IR-PRO has access to all 51 remote buttons, so you can easily watch Blu-ray movies and perform all the standard functions, such as access the pop-up menu or skip chapters. Of course, some functions are obviously handled better by an actual game controller, such as browsing the Web or (obviously) gaming.
The PS3IR-PRO is powered via USB, which is convenient if your entertainment center has an always-on device, like a TiVo or cable box, with a powered USB port. If you don't have one of those devices, you can buy a USB power adapter, such as an iPod charger. The standard USB port on the back is definitely preferable to the ps3toothfairy's less-common power adapter, although we would have liked if at least a USB cable was included at this price. Note that you cannot use one of the PS3's USB ports, as they did not provide power when the PS3 is turned off.