By Dana Amato, Downers Grove, Illinois
I already made the initial investment for the system about a year ago. I'm not super savvy about video-game consoles, but I want to maximize its usefulness.
When the PS3 initially came out, I admit I had my reservations. Offering a Blu-ray media player with its console at a time when the HD format war was in full swing was a pretty gutsy move on Sony's part -- one that paid off as HD DVD fell by the wayside. The Xbox 360, while going with the now-defunct HD DVD format for its media player, is superior (in my opinion) in its online gaming options.
Still, you didn't ask me what my preferences were, and I'm going to do my best to answer the question that you did ask. So I recruited the help of techstylist, a regular viewer of mine, who absolutely loves his PS3. I asked him for a top five, but he threw a bonus recommendation in there for a total of six. Since I'm not a math teacher, I won't dock him any points for extra effort!
1. A DualShock 3 controller or two. If you purchased your system in 2007, you've probably got the Sixaxis control that shipped with it. While its motion sensing capability was pretty state of the art when it came out, Sony contended that the rumble (vibration) feature from previous console controls would interfere with it, so it was done away with -- until the DualShock 3 was developed. Now, the Sixaxis control is being replaced with DualShock 3 in all its rumbling, motion-sensing glory. In the interest of enhancing your game-play experience, it makes more of a difference than you might think.
2. The PS3 wireless keypad. You've heard of the clip-on tie? This is sort of like that, but even geekier (and that's saying a lot). This is a tiny keyboard that clips right onto your controller for ease of Internet browsing and general typing. It's even got an optical sensor that works like a laptop's touch pad.
3. A PS3 Blu-ray Disc remote control. By its name, you can pretty much tell what this is used for. The difference between this and standard remote controls? It uses Bluetooth technology instead of infrared, so you don't actually have to point the thing right at your PS3.
4. A PS3 Bluetooth headset. Like its mobile phone counterpart, this handy little device allows you to speak, hands-free, to others over your PS3. Talking trash to others when you're playing online games just isn't the same if you have to type it out (see item #2, above).
5. The PlayStation 3 Eye. This is a combination video camera and microphone that offers support for simultaneously chatting with up to six people. Sony also foresees future uses for the PS3 Eye not yet implemented.
6. An optical digital cable is a nice bonus if the PS3 owner has his or her system connected to a home theater and wants to take full advantage of its HD surround sound capabilities.
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