1. A video game console that also plays Blu-ray discs and DVDs
2. A Blu-ray/DVD player that also plays video games
3. Both of the above
A.: 3. Both of the above (Yes, it was a trick question!)
This CNet review says the PlayStation 3 is about the best Blu-ray player around. The new Panasonic DMP-BD35 gives it a close run for its money and, at its roughly $250 street price, may nominally be the better value, if you have little interest in games. The PS3 with 80 GB of storage usually costs $150 more, at $399.99 MSRP.
But wait! Sony is offering this deal on a new PlayStation VISA credit card. Sign up for the card between now and the end of 2008 and you can use it to buy an 80 GB PS3 for $399, after which you will receive a $150 credit on the card! The net cost of the PS3/80: "as low as $249.99."
Update: OK, I pulled the trigger and applied for the PlayStation VISA card today. Got instant approval ... but I missed a trick at that point and failed to note my new card's account number and the CVV2 number. Had I done that, I could have immediately gone to this page at the Sony Rewards website and bought my PS3 without waiting to actually receive the VISA card in the mail. The VISA account number and magic CVV2 code that lets you use the card online were apparently given on the confirmation page that came up after I submitted my application and it was approved, according to this blog entry about the PS3 offer.
However, I didn't catch on to that fact. I closed the browser tab instead. Now I can't retrieve the vital information, no matter how creative I get with my browser's history window.
That means I'll just have to wait until I get the card in the mail.
If you want to do it the right way and not my way, you can click here to see a version of the offer that lets you (a) apply for the card first, then (b) redeem the offer immediately, as soon as approval has been granted. Just remember to note your VISA account and CVV2 numbers.
BTW, if you don't redeem the offer right away, and/or for some reason you don't want to buy your PS3 from the Sony Rewards site, you supposedly can use your new card to buy it at any authorized PlayStation dealer, and the $150 credit will just show up on your PlayStation VISA billing statement. OK, fine, but I'm not exactly sure how, if you buy it at (say) Amazon.com, the credit card people know you bought specifically a PS3 and should get the $150 credit. I plan to use the Sony Rewards site and sidestep any doubt in the matter, so I may never know.
Update #2: I just discovered that the PS3 doesn't come with a true remote to control Blu-ray play! You can use the game controller, but it's awkward.
This is from the CNet review:
Our only real complaint with the PS3's movie playback is the remote control issue. Accessing Blu-ray and DVD menus with the PS3 controller is functional, yet a bit awkward. Unfortunately, you won't be able to program a standard universal remote to control your PS3 as it lacks an infrared port. Thus, it needs to receive commands via Bluetooth. Not coincidentally, Sony offers a Bluetooth compatible remote for $25. Other options have surfaced to combat this issue, such as the Nyko Blu-Wave Infrared Remote and the USBIRX3 from Schmartz.com.
I've just ordered the Sony remote from Amazon for $20. (BTW, the Bluetooth approach of the PS3 beats the usual Blu-ray player's infrared-type remote in that Bluetooth does not need to a clear line of sight to the PS3.)
Update #3: I received the Sony PlayStation VISA card in the mail today, activated it, and ordered my PlayStation 3 80GB at the Sony Rewards website. This involved becoming a member of the website, which allows you to buy Sony stuff for reward points. Each reward point is worth a cent, so my $399.99 PS3 cost 39,999 points, minus the 50 points I got for joining, which came to 39,949 points. The shipping on the PS3 cost 3401 points, or $34.01, so the total for the transaction was 43,350 points. I had to buy the points, and so $433.50 was charged to my PlayStation VISA. I expect to get a $150 credit on the VISA account for the PS3 promotional discount. My final bill should be $283.50.
Update #4: Above I mentioned that I had failed to exercise the "redeem now" option on the Sony PlayStation card offer ... because the offer I was looking at was similar to this one, and did not include a "redeem now" option. I now find that purchasing the PlayStation 3 on my new card at the Sony Rewards website is not enough, all by itself, to trigger the $150 credit/rebate automatically. Today I have called 1-877-865-SONY (7669), the Sony Rewards contact number, and am now waiting for a callback "within two business days" from someone who can help me.
It boggles the mind, trying to explain why my use of my brand new Sony PlayStation card to purchase a PlayStation 3 at the Sony Rewards website did not automatically result in a $150 credit or rebate on the purchase, but that's what happened!
Apparently, the "Complete instructions [for the $150 card credit] will be sent upon your approval for the PlayStation Card via email" fine print on some of these offers is not true. I have received the card itself, but no email instructions as to how to obtain the $150 credit.
Update #5: I have finally received the instructions for how to get the $150 rebate. See Getting My PlayStation 3 $150 Rebate for details.