This week we're providing a series of Vulture Hacks: expert advice, gear guides, and recommendations to help you maximize your entertainment experience.
In the late 2000s, there was an awful series of ads that Sony put out for PlayStation 3 under the banner “It Only Does Everything.” The TV spots typically argued, Hey, your girlfriend or wife would let you buy a PS3 if you simply show her that it can do stuff like play movies or music, too. Plus, there were some girly titles available on the platform, in case she actually wanted to play video games herself.
The ads were dumb on a bunch of levels, but as much as it pains me to say it: They had a point. The PS3 was the first game console that truly worked as a multimedia center. Now, with the PS3 essentially at the end of its lifespan, you can now pick them up for a song, whether off Amazon or used on eBay (if you pay more than $125, you’re paying too much). Even if you don't have a shred of interest in playing video games, you should still considering grabbing one.
What you'd get, beyond the gaming features, is a Blu-ray and DVD player with 1080p resolution, plus a set-top box that can stream Netflix, Amazon Instant Video, YouTube, Hulu, HBOGo, NFL Gameday, and about two dozen other lesser-known streaming apps. (If you like anime, you’re in luck.) You can also play media you have on your computer by plugging in a USB stick (something the newer PlayStation 4 doesn’t allow) or stream media directly from your computer using a service like Plex. Using the PS3 controller to navigate can be annoying for non-gamers, but you can pick up a traditional TV-style remote for the PS3 for about $18.
Sure, you can buy a decent Blu-ray DVD player for less, and some of them will come with limited streaming services. But finding a multimedia device as full-featured as the PS3 for what it would cost you is nearly impossible. And it is worth noting that more than 1,000 titles were released for the PS3, and many of them look as good today as games being released on newer consoles. So if you ever get the itch to actually pick up a controller, you always have the option.