The Sony Playstation 3 is not only one of the top gaming systems available, it is also widely used as a high-definition Blu-ray Disc player in home theater systems. Unfortunately, one problem with the PS3 is that the unit may not be controlled with the same universal remote you use for the rest of your AV components. The Sony Playstation 3 does not have an InfraRed (IR) receiver which means it cannot understand the commands sent from most universal remote controls. Instead, Sony chose the new Bluetooth protocol exclusively for wireless control. That raises the question… How do you control movie playback on your Sony Playstation 3? This complete guide has all the answers:

Playstation 3 Remote Solution Round-up

Jim Bask

Playstation 3 Remote Solution Round-up

Author: Jim Bask, Remote Shoppe.com

CoverThe Sony Playstation 3 is not only one of the top gaming systems available, it is also widely used as a high-definition Blu-ray Disc player in home theater systems. Unfortunately, one problem with the PS3 is that the unit may not be controlled with the same universal remote you use for the rest of your AV components. The Sony Playstation 3 does not have an InfraRed (IR) receiver which means it cannot understand the commands sent from most universal remote controls. Instead, Sony chose the new Bluetooth protocol exclusively for wireless control. That raises the question… How do you control movie playback on your Sony Playstation 3? This complete guide has all the answers:

USING THE SONY SIXAXIS PS3 GAME CONTROLLER FOR MOVIE PLAYBACK
You may use the Sony Sixaxis gamepad to control movie playback but Sony doesn’t make it easy. The Sixaxis does not have any labels specific to movie play back and there is no quick reference key map in either the owner’s manual or the Getting Started guide which means you’re on your own.

SONY BLU-RAY DISC REMOTE CONTROL
Sony has many optional accessories for the Playstation 3 and the Blu-ray Disc Remote Control is their solution for convenient movie playback. This is a Bluetooth device that communicates wirelessly with your PS3 just like the SIXAXIS controller. There are 51 buttons and very little set-up is required. The only problem is that the Sony remote will not integrate with even the most advanced universal remote control system. You’ll have to go back to the old days of juggling your remotes with the Sony remote every time you watch a movie.

IR to USB CONTROL SOLUTIONS
Fortunately, other manufacturers recognized that a lot of Harmony, URC, RTI and Pronto remote owners would want to use their universal remote to control the Sony Playstation 3 along with their other AV Components so several vendors quickly introduced affordable USB devices. These IR to USB dongles allow you to send IR commands from your universal remote to a device plugged into the USB port on the PS3. These are the most popular solutions most movie watchers have turned to because of their prices.

  • INTEC REMOTE CONTROL
    The Intec Remote is currently the most affordable IR-USB solution. The USB dongle will protrude from the PS3 by an inch and half and it comes with a remote with 14 buttons. These buttons can be taught to any learning remote but overall capability is obviously limited.
  • ezGEAR ezREMOTE PLAYSTATION 3
    The ezRemote USB dongle is significantly larger and will stick out 2 ¼” from your game system. The remote itself has backlit buttons if you plan on actually using that remote as opposed to a universal controller. The ezRemote also has 14 hard buttons which can be taught to any learning remote.
  • NYKO BLUWAVE INFRARED REMOTE FOR PS3
    The Nyko Bluwave was one of the first IR-USB remotes available for the Playstation 3. The USB dongle measures just shorter than two inches long and has chrome accents if you like that sort of thing. The included Nyko handheld remote is also wrapped in chrome and features more buttons than the previous two models (although some share the same IR commands). The Nyko Bluwave has the same 14 buttons plus an additional 11 buttons including the colored X, O, square and triangle plus L and R1-3, just like the SIXAXIS controller. These buttons are helpful if you’re trying to navigate out of game play or in other Playstation menus. The Nyko buttons may be taught to any learning remote and the codes have also been included in many IR databases including the popular Logitech Harmony online library.
  • SCHMARTZ PS3IRX1
    The Schmartz IR-USB adapter costs almost as much as the three previous remotes combined and it’s the only one that does NOT include a handheld controller. While that may not sound like a good deal the truth is that you actually DO get what you pay for and the PS3IRX1 is a tremendous value. The PS3IRX1 is the only IR-USB solution that was designed for professional installations requiring the Sony Playstation 3 and excels in 3 important categories… Design, Set-up, and Support.

    Design - The PS3IRX1 is a slim USB dongle contoured to the shape of the Playstation that protrudes less than a quarter of an inch – that’s up to an eighth of the other devices!

    Set-up - The Schmartz PS3IRX1 gives you access to all 31 commands available through the PS3’s USB connection. These commands can be added to most universal remotes quickly and easily by setting up a Sony DVD Player or Playstation 2 IR control device. If you’re using a Logitech Harmony Remote the set-up is even easier than that since the Schmartz PS3IRX1 is already included in the Harmony online library. HEX codes are also available from Remote Shoppe or the Schmartz Support Forums for custom installers programming Philips Pronto, UEI, Nevo, URC and RTI control systems.

    Support – We proudly support every remote we sell at RemoteShoppe.com but the Schmartz PS3IRX1 is the only IR-USB solution that is also supported by the engineer, a dedicated Support forum and an extensive community on the AVSForums.


IR TO BLUETOOTH CONVERTERS
If you’re keeping score you may have noticed that none of the IR-USB solutions give you access to the same 51 commands as the Sony Bluetooth Remote. Unfortunately there are just some commands that may not be controlled via USB and therefore require a Bluetooth device. One such function is POWER ON. That’s right, since there is no power going to the USB ports while the Playstation is in standby mode the IR-USB dongles cannot turn on the component. Many users have accepted this limitation of the USB devices because the PS3 does turn on automatically when you put in a new disk but, for many others, anything short of a perfect control solution is just unacceptable. Some enterprising inventors solved this problem as well by making small, stand-alone devices that receive the IR signal from your control system and then send a Bluetooth command to the Playstation 3. This approach gives you ALL of the same functionality as the Sony Bluetooth Remote from the convenience of your existing universal control system.

  • Ps3toothfairy ELITE and BARE ELITE
    The ps3tootfairy is a small IR to Bluetooth converter that actually uses the Bluetooth module from Sony’s own BLU-RAY DISC REMOTE CONTROL. This is an excellent and inexpensive option for users who have already invested in the Sony remote only to learn later that it is not compatible with their universal remote. The ps3tootfairy BARE ELITE kit includes everything you need (including step by step instructions) to remove the Bluetooth module from your Sony remote and attach it to the BARE ELITE with no soldering required. For those less adventurous the same package is available pre-built as the ps3toothfairy ELITE and now both these converters are available with an international power supply making it the perfect solution across the globe.
  • Schmartz PS3IR-PRO
    The same folks behind the Schmartz PS3IRX1 USB dongle have also developed a stand-alone IR-Bluetooth control solution designed specifically for the Playstation 3. The PS3IR-PRO was released shortly after the USB solution and even registered with the US Patent Office for its design. It is a small black box with a built-in IR receiver that takes the commands from your universal remote and sends them to your PS3 as Bluetooth. Like most professional control systems, the PS3IR-PRO offers many options and flexibility for easy integration in even the most advanced configurations. The first step in using the PS3IR-Pro is to program your universal control system with the compatible Sony PS2 or Sony DVD IR codes or just use the available HEX codes for all 51 commands. Once the programming is done you will need to register the device with your Sony Playstation 3 as described in the manual and you’ll be ready to put the device into use. This is where the flexibility begins! Since the PS3IR-PRO is a standalone device and does not need to be connected to your Playstation you may hide it anyplace you like, within the same 15 – 20’ range as the regular SIXAXIS wireless controllers. This is perfect for advanced control systems because it means you can usually place the device next to your RF base station or control processors and your commands will still reach the PS3. Just plug the PS3IR-PRO into an outlet with a universal mini-USB charging cable and connect your IR signal and you’re all set! You may connect an IR emitter to the front of the unit or hardwire an IR blaster to the screw terminals on the rear. Another major advantage of the PS3IR-PRO is that the firmware is field upgradeable which means you won’t have to worry about Sony making your control system obsolete with one of their frequent PS3 updates. Upgradeability also means that additional custom features may even be added to the device in the future.
  • IR2BT Devices IR2BTci
    The original IR2BT was an inexpensive IR-Bluetooth converter that was limited in supply but the new IR2BTci is readily available (in stock) and offers more features for custom installers. The IR2BTci functions like other stand alone IR-Bluetooth solutions by taking IR signals sent to its built-in IR receiver, a 3.5mm IR input jack, or hardwired inputs to Bluetooth to control the Playstation 3. However, the IR2BTci also has a few more tricks up its sleeve. In addition to the Bluetooth commands the IR2BTci may store up to 4 macros with up to 8 commands each and provide IR-RS232 output to control other components. The IR2BTci also has an additional mini-USB Power Sensing Port that allows you to connect a USB cable to your PS3 to determine whether the game system is on or off and create the appropriate discrete power commands. There is even a Windows compatible driver and configuration application plus an IR transmitter to teach custom IR commands to your universal control system.
  • Audio Authority BlueBeam
    Another new entry to the IR to Bluetooth converters comes from Audio Authority - a company that has been making home audio & video accessories for custom installers for almost a decade. Like all Bluetooth to IR products, the new Audio Authority BlueBeam takes the IR commands from your universal remote and converts it to a Bluetooth signal for complete operation of the Sony Playstation 3. Unlike the other options available, the BlueBeam is currently the only device available that may be powered by two AA batteries - now that makes it a truly wireless solution. The BlueBeam's other features include Power Sensing via a USB connection to the PS3, custom macro capability and advanced customization using PC software, low battery and Activity indicators and more.
  • Logitech E-R0001
    Finally, plans have been discovered from an FCC approval that Logitech will be introducing their own Playstation adapter. Unfortunately we do not yet know the full details of this device. No pricing or availability have been announced but Logitech has confirmed that it will in fact be a Bluetooth solution with complete Power On/Off control.


Jim Bask, Remote Shoppe.com



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