Of course, what’s most important is performance. Is there any key lag? Unacceptable delays as the circuit comes out of deep sleep? Odd glitches with fast key presses? The answer, quite simply, is no. As someone who has used the official Bluetooth remote for nearly a year, I can safely say that the IR4PS3’s operational performance with an MX-850 or a Pronto as source remotes is exactly the same as if I were holding the Bluetooth remote in my hand. I attempted to trip up the IR4PS3 by sending extremely fast repetitive cursor movements, but it always worked perfectly without hesitation or error.
One possible nuisance with the PS3 for some folks is the lack of discrete power control – or the ability to guarantee, by remote, that the console is powered either on or off. The Sony Bluetooth remote will automatically power on the PS3 with any key press – and so will the IR4PS3 – but as the original remote doesn’t have a button that only turns the console off, well, the IR4PS3 doesn’t have that capability either. The PS3 instead forces users to navigate through the “PS” menu to locate the shutdown option.
Two features have been added to the IR4PS3 to address these issues. The first is variable-based discrete power commands, for remotes with access to such codes. The modification can be configured to refuse all regular commands via IR until it receives a “Power On” code, which will both power up the console and enable reception of regular commands. When the “Power Off” code is finally received, the second feature comes into effect: an automatic macro that performs the steps necessary to power off the console from the XMB or while watching a video. While this goes a long way towards creating reliable discrete operation under most situations, the PS3 makes it impossible to bulletproof as shutdown involves multiple steps using a menu whose options change, depending on whether a game is being played or not. If the macro is triggered from within a game, or if the console is turned off manually, it can’t work correctly.
As of the time of this writing, the IR4PS3 is the only solution for full infrared control over the Sony PlayStation 3. And since it’s the sole product of its kind and solves such a thorny issue, it’s rather easy to give it the highest recommendation. If you’ve been living with one too many remotes on your tabletop, are irritated by having to get up to turn the console on or off, or are just tired of having to use the Options menu with your Blu-ray movies... the IR4PS3 will cure all of that!
So how can I get one?
Although fully functional, the IR4PS3 as a commercial venture is not quite out of development. The original goal was to sell the modification at a reasonable non-niche price that anyone with a PlayStation 3 could afford, but a single person hand building circuit boards and modifying Sony PS3 remotes individually in his spare time is far from a huge manufacturing facility. After building a few modified remotes it was found that integrating the new circuit is far more time consuming than originally anticipated, making any sort of volume production impossible.
But don’t be disappointed! A second version is in rapid development that would be both faster for the designer to construct and cheaper for you to buy: it’s the “IR4PS3 2.0”, if you will. This new “black box” edition would be sold as a solderless do-it-yourself kit – simply obtain an official Sony PS3 remote, buy the IR4PS3 kit, and follow the instructions on how to merge the two together for perfect infrared control of your PS3.
In the meantime, the designer would like to gauge how much interest there is in the IR4PS3 to help determine what versions will be available and how much they should cost. So, if you’d like to purchase an IR4PS3 please contact Ben directly at [email protected] for further information on how this will be possible.
Update! You can now read a full review of the shipping version of the IR4PS3, version 3, along with a wide range of other infrared-to-Bluetooth adapters for the PS3 in our Sony PlayStation 3 Advanced Control Roundup.
- Daniel Tonks (Remote Central)