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In February 2008, I wrote a Journal article titled "Looking for a Blu-ray Player? The Only Good Choice Right Now Is..." which bemoaned the sad state of Blu-ray players at the time and identified the Sony PlayStation 3 game system as the best Blu-ray and the only one worth buying.
A lot has changed in the Blu-ray player market since then! Manufacturers finally started releasing halfway decent units later that year, and each subsequent generation has improved in reliability, functionality, and features. What hasn't changed is that, in many respects, the PS3 is still the best Blu-ray player available. Its speed, handling of many different media formats, networking, and streaming features, much less its ability to play some really cool games, makes it a really attractive option for someone looking for a high definition media device for their entertainment setup.
One of the biggest limiting factors about the PlayStation 3 for many people has been its price. Originally, it came out at $400, which was a pretty penny, but not unreasonable given the other Blu-ray players available at the time. Given that it actually worked, and worked well, it was a relative bargain! But now, we live in the era of $100 Blu-ray players (see the Panasonic DMP-BD65 for an example) that are probably very good for a large percentage of people out there, so even the PS3's new $300 list price is relatively high. However, if you're looking for more than what these budget-priced players can provide, it's not bad! The downside is that finding sales on the PS3 is difficult, but not impossible.
That's where Gift Shop merchant Amazon.com comes in right now. They have a sale going on where you can purchase the PlayStation 3 160 GB for the standard $299.99 price, but they're throwing in a Dual Shock controller right now for free!
If you plan on doing any gaming, having more than one controller is a good idea, and the individual price for one is about $45, so you could look at this promotion as saving you $45 off the normal price of a PlayStation 3.
While the PS3 does have some minor annoyances as a pure Blu-ray playback device (like the need for a decent remote control solution that must be purchased separately), no device on the market today can match its capabilities of playing media that is disc-based, on your local network (DLNA), or streaming via the Internet (Netflix, Hulu Plus, YouTube, PSN Network, etc.). Add to all that, its abilities as a game console. Even if you don't think you'd do much gaming, you'd be surprised by how many fun games are available without having to pay the $60 going price of some of the new releases that are advertised!
If you're in the market for a Blu-ray player, the PlayStation 3 deserves to be considered seriously. This sale just sweetens the package! It appears that this promotion is today only (November 12, 2010) and the offer is good while supplies last, so if you're interested, don't wait around too long or it might be gone...
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