Project: Build an entertainment centre for your man cave
Why you'd attempt it: To have a place to get away from it all
Difficulty factor: Simple
Links: au.playstation.com/ps3, xbox.com/en-AU
The man-cave is the new tool shed or billiard room, that Fortress of Solitude where the modern man retreats for a little R&R. Unfortunately a portable telly, bar fridge and painting of dogs playing poker don’t cut it in the digital age.
In terms of budget, your man-cave usually can’t take priority over the general purpose lounge room. As such you probably can’t recreate your home entertainment system. Instead it makes more sense to invest in a jack-of-all-trades device such as a games console. Until recently Sony’s PlayStation 3 has been the obvious choice. Microsoft’s Xbox 360 is also an attractive option since the addition of Catch Up TV and a movie rental service. You’ll find either console for a few hundred dollars at the Boxing Day sales.
So which console is the best choice?
Apart from playing games, both consoles are CD/DVD players and let you play video files from USB storage or over your home network via DLNA.
At first glance the PlayStation 3 seems more attractive for a few reasons. Firstly, it’s a 3D-compatible Blu-ray player, which offers future-proofing if your budget eventually allows you to upgrade to a high-def television. Secondly, you can add the Play TV adaptor to turn it into a high-def PVR. Thirdly, it features a web browser.
You might lean towards the Xbox 360 if you’re after the basic Foxtel On Demand package (something you get can also get via Bigpond’s T-Box PVR). The Xbox 360’s media extender feature can also be used to control a media centre PC in the lounge room. If you own a Windows Phone 7 smartphone, you might also want to consider its integration with the Xbox Live service.
Do you use a console for movies? Share your tips below.