Six reasons you shouldn't use the PS3 as your Blu-ray player

The PlayStation 3 is still the best Blu-ray player, but there are some legitimate reasons why you should opt for a standalone player instead.

Matthew Moskovciak Senior Associate Editor / Reviews - Home theater
Covering home audio and video, Matthew Moskovciak helps CNET readers find the best sights and sounds for their home theaters. E-mail Matthew or follow him on Twitter @cnetmoskovciak.
Matthew Moskovciak
3 min read
CNET Networks

OK, before the angry fanboy comments roll in, let's get this out of the way: the PlayStation 3 is the best Blu-ray player on the market right now. It sits at the top of our best Blu-ray players list, we consistently use it as the reference that we judge other Blu-ray players against, and it's the only player on the market right now that supports Blu-ray Profile 2.0 and onboard decoding for both Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD Master Audio. And it will always be the only Blu-ray player that streams media, has a browser, and plays PS3 games. Virtually everyone looking to buy a Blu-ray player should go with the PS3 right now.

However, with that in mind, there are a few legitimate reasons why someone wouldn't want to use a PlayStation 3 as their main Blu-ray player. Let's check them out.

1. Doesn't work with universal remotes.
Sony decided not to include an IR receptor on the PlayStation 3, and home theater fans have been complaining ever since. The lack of an IR receptor means that the PlayStation 3 won't work with universal remote controls, so you'll have to use the PS3 controller or the separate PS3 BD remote to control it. It's definitely a pain for anyone who is used to activity-based macros such as "Watch TV" and "Watch Blu-ray" to control their home theater.

2. It's louder than standalones.
Although every PS3 seems to be different, the PS3 can occasionally get loud once its fans start spinning. For audiophiles, that can be a pretty big drawback, especially if you start to hear a whirr during every quiet scene in a movie. You'll have better luck keeping the PS3 quiet by keeping it in a well-ventilated area, but standalones are quieter in general and don't mind having other gear stacked on them.

3. Interface isn't as easy to use.
This isn't an issue for tech enthusiasts, but Sony's Xross Media Bar (XMB) is packed with options and can be intimidating for neophytes. Although we generally like the XMB for zipping around the PS3's functions, using a standard Blu-ray player where you just need to put in the disc and hit play is definitely a lot easier.

4. You have an older AV receiver and need multichannel analog outputs.
If you're using an older receiver and want to use its multichannel analog inputs to get high-resolution soundtracks, you can't do it with the PlayStation 3. You're better off going with a standalone Blu-ray player with onboard Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD Master Audio decoding, like the upcoming Pioneer BDP-51FD and Panasonic DMP-BD50. Of course, if you're OK with standard DVD-style surround sound, you can still get that with the PS3's optical SPDIF output, which is compatible with nearly all modern receivers.

5. You want to be green.
The PS3 is great at a lot of things, but conserving power isn't one of them. If you're looking to stay green and limit your power consumption, you'll be much better off using a standalone Blu-ray player. For example, the PS3 sucks up about 170 watts while playing a Blu-ray movie, while the Samsung BD-P1400 only uses about 25 watts. That's a fairly huge difference and can easily wipe out any power savings from using other green products such as the Philips Eco TV. (Check out our guide to TV power consumption for more green tips.)

6. I need to see my receiver light up and say "Dolby TrueHD."
Even if you do have a new HDMI-capable receiver, you'll never get the Dolby TrueHD light to turn on with the PS3. That's because although the PS3 can decode both DTS-HD Master Audio and Dolby TrueHD, it can't send those soundtracks in bit stream format and allow the receiver to decode them. Of course, this isn't really a legitimate reason, as you're still getting the same high-resolution audio, but some people just need the comfort of seeing the Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD Master Audio lights on their receiver.

What do you think? Are any of these a legitimate reason to get a standalone Blu-ray player instead of the PlayStation 3? Or is anyone who buys a standalone Blu-ray player wasting their money on an inferior product?