Best deal on a Blu-ray player? How about Sony's Playstation 3?

Over the holidays, someone told me the best way to lay your hands on a cheap Blu-ray player is to purchase a Sony Playstation 3 (since they can playback Blu-ray Disc...given how Sony is a major proponent of Blu-ray Disc instead of the competing HD-DVD).

Over the holidays, someone told me the best way to lay your hands on a cheap Blu-ray player is to purchase a Sony Playstation 3 (since they can playback Blu-ray Disc...given how Sony is a major proponent of Blu-ray Disc instead of the competing HD-DVD). 

Looking at the product listings for Blu-ray players here on ZDNet and in other searches (eg: Google), that appears to be sage advice, particularly if you're into gaming. Depending on where you shop, Playstation 3s (the 20GB version) run somewhere in the neighborhood of $670 to $700 (Amazon has it listed from one source for $668). Dedicated Blu-ray players can be had for less. For example, Amazon has Samsung's BD-P1000 Blu-Ray Disc Player for $569 (but that's with a $330 savings off the list price). You may find players for less elsewhere. The point being that the Playstation 3 doesn't necessarily mean you'll pay less money for a Blu-ray player by buying a Playstation 3 (although most Blu-ray players do cost more than the Playstation). But if you're a gamer or want the option of having a gaming console around, then a Playstation (if you can find one) may be the route to go.  

Take the above $700 Playstation vs. $570 BD-P1000 as an example. Apply $570 of your $700 Playstation purchase to Blu-ray usage, and the implication is that you get everything else that the Playstation 3 is capable of for an extra $130. Mileage in terms of how much you pay for the Playstation 3 icing on the cake will vary of course (depending on how much you can find a Blu-ray player for). But, if you think you could use a Playstation 3 around the house (or even in the office so that your employees have something to help them decompress), then this route is worth investigating.

Bear in mind that to support the 1080p (HD) output of Blu-ray or the competing but incompatible HD-DVD format, you'll need a display that's capable of handling that resolution. Next week, I'll be heading out to CES where, amongst other technologies, I'll be looking to cover the battle not just between Blu-ray and HD-DVD, but also between the competing display technologies such as LCD, plasma, and projection. For an interesting thread on the three approaches to viewing HD content, check out this discussion over on Slashdot.

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