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Sony announced today the release of a slimmer version of the PlayStation 3 game system, to be available the first week of September. The new model will sport a matte finish in addition to its smaller footprint, as well as a 120GB hard drive, power savings, and cooler operation, which should reduce the amount of time the machine runs in jet engine mode.
The slimmer PlayStation 3 has a matte finish, 120GB hard drive, and smaller price tag!
The slimmer PS3 will also have a slimmer price tag! Down from the standard $399 of days gone by, the new model has a retail price of just a penny under $300.
In anticipation of the new model's release, existing 80GB full-figured game consoles have been reduced to the same $300 price tag.
Which PS3 to buy?
If you just have to have a PS3 now, the 80GB model is at a better price than ever before. If you don't, the slimmer version will get you the same features (there are a few minor differences), a larger hard drive (which may not be upgradeable), and the smaller footprint and less power consumption. Of course, there may be glitches out of the gate with the new design, but Sony has been pretty good in the past about squashing bugs in its products pretty quickly.
A comparison of the two PlayStation 3 models
Is the PS3 Still the Best Choice for Blu-ray Playback?
Up until the last few months, the PlayStation 3 has been our only recommendation for a Blu-ray player, with the added benefit that it plays games, too. We've been using one for that very purpose for the last 18 months, and have been very happy with its Blu-ray playback. Its speed in loading discs is still in the top ranks among Blu-ray players, and the only knock continues to be the lack of IR remote control support (requiring an adaptor of some kind, like the Nyko Blu Wave Remote, or the Logitech Harmony Adapter for Playstation 3 if you have a Logitech Harmony remote control).
The playing field has changed in recent months, and unless you're into gaming with the PS3, there are probably better choices to be had for standalone Blu-ray playback.
The PS3's new lower price keeps it in the running, but basic models like the Samsung BD-P1600, Sony BDP-S360, Panasonic DMP-BD60, and LG BD370 come in at around $200-$250, and uplevel models, like the Samsung BD-P3600, Sony BDP-S560, Panasonic DMP-BD80, and LG BD390 add to the feature sets of the basic models very nicely, and can be had for $300-$350.
The PS3 does not have the ability to stream Netflix, CinemaNow, or Amazon Video on Demand, but it does have the Sony Playstation Store, which does provide some movies and TV shows for rent and sale. While it does support bitstreaming Dolby TrueHD and DTS HD Master Audio lossless audio formats, it doesn't offer analog outputs for those of us without a so-equipped receiver to do the heavy lifting in that regard.
The PS3 does a very admirable job of playing media from an internal network, which gives you the ability to create HD movies and show them on your HDTV in great quality. While some standalone Blu-ray players do this, not all do.
That means that choosing the ultimate Blu-ray player is no longer as easy as "Buy the PS3." You're going to need to look at your situation and determine which device suits your needs best. The slimmer PS3 and its smaller price tag makes it very attractive, but there's some baggage to be considered.
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