Lucky enough to nab a shiny new PS3 for the holidays? Flipping out over what you can do to make the most out of it? Put down that paper bag you’re hyperventilating into and check out this PSN Fans guide to your new console!
Get Connected to the PlayStation Network
Once you’ve done the console’s initial set up of configuring your display settings, date, time and profile, you’ll want to organize your connection settings, update your firmware and finally sign up to the PlayStation Network. Your PSN ID is your passport to everything related to the PlayStation’s online world and community. When creating an online account there are two types you can make: a Master Account or a Sub Account. Master accounts are standard and have no restrictions in terms of usage and content. Sub accounts on the other hand do have certain restrictions, such as not having a digital wallet to add funds. Think of it as parental control if you have children.
Once your account’s been created it’s time to collect your friends’ PSN usernames and start adding them!
Familiarize Yourself with the Store
The PlayStation Store is an online outlet for a huge range of digital media, and it’s all easily accessible from your console. Navigating to the Network icon of the XMB (cross media bar, the main menu of the system) and selecting Store will take you to the aforementioned outlet. From here you can buy games only available through the Store, extra content for some games, movies, music, themes, subscriptions to online services such as Netflix and more depending on your region. You can make purchases via your credit/debit card, or purchase a redeemable PSN money card from a store that sells electronics.
Take note, however, that purchases made are automatically attached to the account that initiated the transaction, not specifically the console itself. Don’t fret if you accidentally delete a game/other piece of entertainment; since you’ve already spent the money you can just search for it on the Store and re-download it without any hassles.
Use Your PS3 as an Entertainment Hub
Did you know that your new console can also double as the central media device of your entertainment set up? Here are a couple of ways you can get to the rest of your collection on-board your PS3:
Save media to your console’s hard drive
If you want to keep things stored locally, you can save photos, music and even movies to your PS3′s hard drive. The PS3 natively has an excellent array of readable file formats, however it can be flaky if some media files have been encoded in particular ways. Also if you’ve received up to 320 gigabytes of storage already in your console and find it still isn’t quite big enough, you can upgrade your internal hard drive by replacing it with a larger 2.5-inch SATA drive. For more on this, search Google for some tutorials.
Use an external hard drive
Already using an external HDD to back up all your media? That’s cool, because so long as it at least has a FAT32 partition then your media can be read as if it were right there in the system. (Note: The same rules apply with media formats as the previous paragraph.) Also, two things to keep in mind: 1) The best way to list videos from your external HDD is to highlight the drive under Video, press triangle and select Display All; and 2) A drive formatted in FAT32 won’t allow single files larger than 4GBs. Again, there are tutorials to split and re-encode these files though which are just a quick search away.
Stream your media
If the previously mentioned methods sound like too much of a bother, there are (FREE!) programs that turn your computer into a broadcasting device to stream your media from, and your PS3 can connect to them. Programs like TVersity and PS3 Media Server allow this, and are quite easy to set up. What’s better is that they work pretty well over a wireless network too, so you could have a computer at one end of the house and your PS3 in the other. Just like the earlier points though, some media files may not work if they’ve been encoded incorrectly. To connect to your media server if your console doesn’t do it automatically, just hit the Search for Media Servers icon under Video on your XMB. Voila!
Play Them Games!
Seriously! Pop in those discs and get to it! With your PSN ID you can even play some of them online with others using the Network’s free online gaming service. If you’re cautious about what games to look into on the Store in particular, head over to our reviews section and see what we think - in particular you should check out Skydrift, Renegade Ops and NBA Jam: On Fire Edition.