Wednesday, February 06, 2008

I Hate Sony: The Great PlayStation Debacle

I mentioned the other day that we got new toys. New TV, new Tivo, new PS3 for DVD's and Blu-Ray.

Every single one of these devices has had a learning curve, and I wouldn't claim to be an expert on any of them, but only the PlayStation has caused sleeplessness. Twice.

The first time I ordered a PS3, I had found a deal whereby if I signed up for a Sony Rewards card, I'd get $100 off any order over $299. Great! I signed up and ordered a 40GB PlayStation 3, a memory card adapter for my PS2 card, and a component video cable. I was delighted, and eagerly awaited my new toys.

Then a co-worker told me that the 40GB model wouldn't play any PS2 games. WTF? Even Apple isn't that bad with backward compatibility. So I got an RMA and sent it back. I was out of pocket for $15.42 at the UPS store.

I took my RMA and ordered the 80GB model. It at least claimed partial backward compatibility. I'd have to wait and see if it would play GranTurismo 4, but even if it didn't, I'd be ready for the release of GranTurismo 5, baby!

Well, yesterday it came, and I was excited. I opened the box and found the most attractive game console I've ever seen. I got it all hooked up, attached the clumsy controller, and went through basic setup. I got 1080p going over the component output, audio running through the optical TOSLink output, and started watching "Invincible".

Yay! Everything works! Ready to go and configure the remote control to support my new happy toy, I opened the stereo cabinet door. Wow. It was so hot in there I could have baked bread. If I'd left that door closed much longer we would have had component failure or worse.

Ok, so it runs hot. I (suppose I) can deal with that...

I took the Harmony 880 universal remote upstairs, plugged it in, and went to "Add Device". I typed in PlayStation 3 and saw a new message: Important Information. Following the link, I arrived at a screen that joyfully told me that the PS3 is a bluetooth-only device, and that my $250 remote control could not support it.

Glancing over the entire line-up of Harmony remotes, I didn't see even one that supported bluetooth.

So here again I find myself in the middle of an irritating Sony format-war. 30 years of infrared remote technology installed in probably 90% of American homes, and Sony just decides to jump the shark and go bluetooth. Only. Couldn't be bothered to put in an infrared port for backward compatibility, could you, Sony?

There's a very good chance that the PS3 will get boxed back up this afternoon and taken to the UPS store. The determining factor will ultimately be: can it even play GT4? If not, it's 100% gone.

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