It’s funny how Sony can get many things right with the hardware of the PlayStation 3 yet a simple thing like an IR port goes by the wayside. IF you’re going to promote the PlayStation 3 as a Blu-Ray player as well as a game console, you better have features that many A/V folks are used to. Selling a Bluetooth remote just doesn’t cut it. I don’t want to clutter my area with another remote when I have a perfectly good Harmony 880 sitting here controlling everything else in my living room. Thankfully, the folks at Nyko came through and provided me with the BluWave infrared remote that can help alleviate the problem of having another remote to control the PlayStation 3.
The BluWave is a simple product that comes with a remote and a USB dongle. That’s it. Looking at the remote, you’ll see it’s pretty much the PlayStation 3 controller laid out in a remote style. You’ll have all the buttons that the PlayStation 3 controller has minus the PlayStation button. Some multimedia specific buttons are there as well such as scan, play, top, previous, and next. In the center is the D-Pad which will move you around the Cross Media Bar. All the buttons have an OK feel to them providing a soft response when pressed. They are positioned nicely with groupings for various functions. Underneath there’s an indentation for one of your fingers to rest in when you hold it. The remote takes 2 AAA batteries (provided) to power it.
To interface with the PlayStation 3, there’s a USB dongle with an infrared receiver on the end. When plugged in the dongle does stick out but ends at where the PlayStation 3’s lip is. A red light on the end lets you know it’s on and it flashes when it receives a signal.
Using the remote, the function performed as advertised allowing me to watch a movie and navigate through the basic functions such as fast forwarding, skipping, and moving through the menus. As a remote, it does its job and performs admirably.
The beauty of this product though is since it uses an IR signal, you can program universal remotes to use it and keep the included remote for a backup. Using the Harmony software, I was able to download all the codes needed for the remote with ease. I had to setup the buttons individually though as the software didn’t assign any of the directional buttons or the playback functions. After a few minutes of navigating through the drop down menus of the Harmony software and updating my remote, I was in controlling heaven. No longer did I need a PlayStation 3 controller by my side to watch videos.
Now the only caveat is that you can’t turn on the PlayStation 3 with the remote. Sadly, this falls back on Sony and I don’t think they’ll update their console to support a feature that they don’t have in house. At first I found it annoying but watching Blu-Ray movies, I had to get up and go to the console anyways to put the disc in or switch it out so I just had to turn it on when I’m there anyways. I hope someday Sony enables the ability to turn on the console remotely with this device but I’m not holding out any hope that it will happen.
Even with the minor annoyance of not being able to turn on the PlayStation 3, I really recommend the Nyko BluWave infrared remote for those that use their PlayStation 3 as a media player and have a universal remote. It will consolidate another remote and will let you navigate the PlayStation 3 without having to use the controller. For a low price of around $20 you can’t go wrong.
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