DVD Players

Sony Playstation PS3 FW 2.1



Last year, I put the Sony Playstation 3 through our DVD Player Benchmark™ testing and it didn’t fare very well. In fact, it turned out to be one of the worst players I had tested to date. Later in the year the PS3 got a firmware update (v1.8) that supposedly revamped the DVD performance of the gaming console. I was bombarded with emails from our readership asking me to retest the console claiming they were seeing a huge difference in DVD playback after loading the new firmware.

At the time the new firmware came out, I did not have access to a PS3 anymore. Later on I was able to acquire one and run it through the tests. The only problem is, it didn’t seem to do any better.

The Results

Our cadence tests consist of very high detail test patterns. Some may call this a disadvantage for some players, but we’ve always used the same patterns for our tests, and we’ve seen a wide range of results regardless of price point. Nearly every player I test has no issues at all with some of the more basic tests, such as de-interlacing content with perfect 2-3 flags. Since even most inexpensive DVD players are flag based, this test is passed nearly 99% of the time.

The Sony PS3 continues to have extremely poor results in our SD DVD tests. The fact of the matter is, it just cannot lock onto a high resolution test pattern for any of our cadence tests. This is worse performance than we see with even sub-$50 players at your local big box store. One could argue that the player will probably do just fine with real world content since it probably doesn’t have as high detail as our test patterns, but I think that argument would mainly come from those trying to justify their purchase. If I can get nearly every DVD player out there to pass these tests, why won’t this one?


  • Codecs: SD DVD, Blu-ray
  • MPEG Decoder: Unknown
  • De-interlacer: Unknown
  • Ports: HDMI, LAN, Digital Toslink, AV Multiout
  • Dimensions: 15" H x 10" W x 12" D
  • Weight: 15 Pounds
  • MSRP: $399.99 USA
  • Sony

The PS3 still remains one of the best Blu-ray players on the market today, mainly because of its reliability, future proof design, and ease of use. But even on the HD side, this is flawed in terms of video processing. The PS3 is not capable of doing any correct I/P conversion of 1080i material and merely passes along the 1080p content of the pre-recorded disc (albeit very well).

With standard DVD playback, the PS3 offers upconversion to 1080p or various other resolutions via HDMI including 720p. Its core video performance is commendable though. This player outputs correct video levels, including below black and head room.




































There is no pixel cropping or chroma errors, and the player is easy to navigate and quick to load. It’s when you start evaluating video processing that the PS3 crumbles.

The PS3 reminds me a bit of a flag-based video player. It passes all of the video based tests because the player literally stays locked in video mode. The PS3 has a video mode available in its setup menu, but the performance didn’t change regardless of what mode I was in. It fails all of our cadence tests, which again consists of high detail wedge patterns encoded with different cadences and breaks.



































In the table, 3=Pass, 2=Borderline, 1=Fail, 0=Not Tested


Like most game consoles, the PS3 is not what I would call a preferred video playback solution for standard DVDs. However, it is far and away one of the best Blu-ray players on the market today and an outstanding value for those looking to add HD support to their home theater system. But I would still recommend a higher quality stand alone DVD player for the more demanding home theater enthusiast.