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Consoles For Christmas 2008 - The Movie Buff

Finally, the tide turns in Sony's favour. If you're looking to do more than play games and you want to watch TV and movies, the PS3 is your best choice. Both consoles now support HDMI and 1080p outputs, and both will upscale your existing DVDs, but the PlayStation 3 adds Blu-ray playback and support for the Dolby TrueHD audio and Deep Colour features of HDMI 1.3 to the mix. Of course, you could argue that Blu-ray is a dead duck and that Microsoft has an HD movie download service already up and running in Europe (Sony has still to announce when we will get the PSN Movie Store over here). However, slow connection speeds and broadband download caps still make movie downloads a painful business for many of us. Blu-ray will be the most convenient approach to HD movie viewing for the near future at least.

What's more, the PlayStation 3 still makes a better living room, home entertainment system. Recent revisions have made the Xbox 360 quieter, but the PS3 is the less obtrusive console and its glossy all-black finish fits in better with a decent A/V system. Add the PlayTV peripheral and an external HDD and it can double as Freeview PVR, and its photo and music handling features are excellent. It might not be as well integrated with Windows media as the Microsoft console, but the PS3 interacts perfectly well with Windows Media Player and UPnP media servers, and it's also believed to be the next console to get BBC iPlayer support.

If you're an AV enthusiast or a movie buff, then, the extra cash for the PlayStation 3 is worth it. You're still getting an incredible games system, but you're also getting a fantastic HD media player for only £100 more than you'd spend on a stand-alone unit. Even if you don't consider yourself much of a gamer, that's money well spent.

Our choice: Sony PlayStation 3 80GB

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