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How Do I Set Up a PlayStation 3?

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Gone are the days where you could plug in a console, throw in a disc and start playing games in under a minute. You don't need to be a tech expert to set up a PlayStation 3, but you will need to connect cables properly and proceed through the basic system options before you can play your first game.

AV Cables Connections

First, connect your audio and video cables. The PS3 comes with a composite cable, but if you have an HDTV, you will get a better picture with HDMI or component cables. Plug a cable into the console's HDMI port or the AV Multi Out port, and connect the other end to the matching ports on your TV.

To send sound through a home theater system, connect the audio cables to the Audio In ports in the theater system instead of the TV. For HDMI, you need a second cable to go from the PS3 to the home theater system.

When using component cables, don't confuse the red video cable with the red audio cable. Most component cables group both audio cables together to avoid confusion.

Alternate Setups

The PlayStation 3 can connect to a home theater system's speakers through optical cables. When connecting to the theater system using optical audio, you need to run the video cable from the PS3 to the TV.

An alternate setup for using HDMI: run one cable from the PS3 to the theater system, which will be connected with another HDMI cable to the TV.

Similarly, you can run your PS3 through set-top boxes that have an HDMI In or possibly a Video In or Audio In port or both -- not all do. Set your TV input to match the one used for the set-top box, but change the Input setting via the box itself.

Final Connections

You can run an Ethernet cable from the Ethernet port on the PS3 to your router. The system includes a Wi-Fi adapter, so if you have a Wi-Fi router, you can skip this step unless you prefer the guaranteed stability of a wired connection.

Plug your controller into a USB port on the front of the system for the first couple hours of use, until the battery charges.

At last! Plug in the power cable and press the Power button.

System Setup

Use a USB cable to connect the PS3 to your controller and then Press the PS button to turn on your controller and pair the controller to the console.This button is later also used to boot the console. On the PS3, the X button selects menu items and the O button backs up. Pick your language and time zone, set the clock and create a username for your first PS3 account. A console can have multiple accounts, so everyone in your household can make have separate friend lists and trophy collections.

Internet Connection Setup

To set up the Internet connection, first turn off all modems or routers for two full minutes and then turn back on. On the PS3 Home menu, scroll left to the Settings and open Network Settings. Set Internet Connection to Enabled and then open Internet Connection Settings. Choose Easy and pick either Wired or Wireless. For wireless, choose Scan to find your Wi-Fi router. Enter its Security Setting and Network Key (password). Once online, your console may find and install an update. You can skip updating if you are anxious to play, but you need the latest system version to play online or use the PlayStation Network.

PSN Account Setup

Online features require a free PlayStation Network account. Scroll right on the Home menu to the PlayStation Network column and pick Sign Up for PlayStation Network. Choose Create a New Account, unless you already have an account from another system. Fill in your information -- country, language, birth date and email address -- and create a password and security question. Choose a unique user ID, which might not match the account name picked earlier if it's already in use. Enter your real name and address, and select an avatar. Now you can play games online and shop in the PlayStation Store.

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