If you’re a part of the crowd that’s watching movies on Blu-ray disc, it’s likely that you’re doing so thanks to Sony’s Playstation 3. And for good reasons – it’s a fantastic Blu-ray player that’s much more affordable than current stand alone players. Oh year, it also plays high-def video games.

Until now, I’ve been using the PlayStation 3 controller to navigate Blu-ray discs. The PS3 is a great Blu-ray player, there’s no question about it. But navigating movie menus using the PS3 game controller can be less-than-satisfying. My Logitech universal remote control cannot be used with the PS3 because the console does not have an IR sensor, instead it uses Bluetooth technology to communicate with its accessories. So the Sony Blu-ray remote is the only remote that can currently be used with the PS3.

The PS3 Blu-ray remote ($39 CDN) is designed like a typical DVD player remote and allows much simpler disc navigation than the PS3 controller. Bluetooth technology does however offer an advantage over IR remotes – it doesn’t have to be pointed at the PS3 at all when being used.

After a struggle with the nearly-impossible-to-open plastic packaging, I loaded the supplied AA batteries and followed a simple, one-time procedure to “pair” the remote with my PS3. The PS3 picked it up instantly and I was able to use the remote right away.

The remote’s buttons are laid out logically and are perfectly responsive. There was no lag time at all between button presses and action on the screen. The multi-way navigation pad worked very well when selecting items from both the PS3 menus and movie menus. The remote is fairly large, however fit pretty comfortably in my hand. The often used buttons – play, stop, and pause – are larger than other buttons, which makes them easy to find by touch.

Perhaps the only shortcoming of the PS3 remote is that it’s not backlit, so it’s difficult to use in a dark room. Something else that surprised me about the remote, is the lack of a dedicated power button. But I quickly discovered that the PS button in the middle of the remote can be used to power the PS3 on and off. It can be pressed once to power on the system. To power off the PS3, you have to press and hold the PS button for a couple of seconds and then select “Turn off the system”. This is somewhat inconvenient.

However, all in all, the remote finally allowed me to use the PS3 much like a stand-alone Blu-ray player. No more silliness of guessing which PS3 controller button does what when using it to play movies. In my opinion, this is an absolute “must have” accessory for anyone that regularly uses their PS3 to play Blu-ray discs!


$39 MSRP (Canadian)

Click here to discuss this article on the CANADA HiFi Forum