The PlayStation 3 is a great machine. Sony really did their homework when designing this entertainment system — complete with its unique Cell Broadband Engine, SIXAXIS wireless controllers, Blu-ray disc support, and more. But along with the big things, the little things about a product also count. That's where Sony and all other game console manufacturers leave a bit to be desired. They only provide one controller in the box although in more cases than not, you'll have more than one person playing simultaneously. In addition, they only provide a simple composite cable for audio and video output, so even though the PS3 outputs HD (High-Definition) video and surround sound, you're stuck with SD (Standard-Definition) video and plain old stereo. Luckily, the HD-Link from Nyko is available to solve the latter problem.
What is the HD-Link?
The HD-Link is a HD Component Audio/Video Cable of which one end attaches to the PS3 AV MULTI OUT connector. The other end of the cable provides five separate connections — Y, Pb, and Pr component cables for video and left/right cable for stereo audio. The HD-Link supports 480p, 720p, 1080i and 1080p resolutions, which includes widescreen video. The construction of the cable is very high quality including shielding for interference-free signals as well as gold plated connectors to fight oxidation and corrosion. To allow for flexible placement of your PS3 and TV, the HD-Link provides 8-feet (2.4 meters) of length.
Using the HD-Link
Of course, there's not much to using the HD-Link in your home theatre setup. You simply connect one end to the PS3 AV MULTI OUT connector and then connect the Y, Pb, and Pr component cables to your TV. You'll also need to connect the audio cables to your TV because there isn't much separation provided between the video and audio component cables. If your TV doesn't have audio connections or speakers, then you'll have to go a different route. As matter of fact, I recommend not using the plain stereo connections and going with a surround system instead — your PS3 experience will be so much better. To do this, you need an optical digital cable to connect the PS3 DIGITAL OUT connector to the digital connection on your surround speaker system. I'm using the Logitech Z-5500 Surround Speaker System and the sound is spectacular. Of course, if you have speaker connections on your TV, go ahead and connect the audio cable components from the HD-Link because there may be times when you just want to have something on in the background (like a movie for the kids) and you don't need full surround sound. You could also get audio extension cables to connect the stereo cables to your component box or tuner. There are many ways you can configure your system.
The only other nitpick I have with the HD-Link is the color — it's white. I would have preferred black because black cables are easier to hide. Of course, this depends on the location of your TV and color of your surroundings. But if your TV is hanging on a dark-colored wall, the cable run will stick out like a sore thumb. Of course, you can get cable concealers that run up the wall or (better yet) you could run the cable through wall — but be sure to do it properly. Again, there are many ways you can do this and luckily the 8-foot length of the HD-Link will come in handy.
I was only nitpicking when I mentioned the color of the cable and the stereo audio connectors — these are minor problems that are easily solved. When you have a home theatre system, concealing cables is always an obstacle and as far as audio is concerned, if you don't have surround, get it. Surround sound opens up a whole new world when watching movies or playing video games.
The HD-Link itself is an excellent product that performs beautifully. There is a very big difference between SD and HD video. I tested various video games, DVDs and even Blu-ray discs. The picture was fantastic when using the HD-Link. I especially loved watching the Pirates of the Carribean Curse of the Black Pearl and Dead Man's Chest on Blu-ray disc. Those movies are a sight to behold in HD. So if you want to experience HD video from your PS3 and your TV has Y, Pb, and Pr component connections, the HD-Link from Nyko is your ticket to a whole new world of movies and video games.