Originally released in Japan under the name Vita TV, Sony announced at E3 this week that the device to be called the Playstation TV would be released later this year to North America and European markets for $99 or 99€. The device is almost like a remote or mini-console system that is designed to be an extension of Sony’s PlayStation 4 and Vita gaming consoles. At the heart it is not all that different from many of the other streaming boxes or android based consoles but its the capabilities that really set it apart. So let’s see what exactly consumer can use this mini-console for.
Remote Play PS4
Probably the most notable of the features for the PlayStation TV is the ability to use a PlayStation 4 console remotely on another TV within the same home network. This is a huge benefit for families where the console is hooked up to a primary home theater system. Say the parents want to watch a TV or movie on the screen but the child wants to use the console. Connecting the PlayStation TV to another TV and into the home network allows the small console to essentially stream the video from the PS4 to the PlayStation TV and allow it to be used just as if the PS4 were connected to it. The function works well as long as you have a good Wi-Fi network without much congestion or conflicts as the streams do use a lot of bandwidth.
Play PS Vita Games
The PlayStation TV console essentially has the internals of the PlayStation Vita but in a non-mobile design and without the screen. This is why the system is so affordable as Sony already is getting the primary hardware and did not have to do much work in designing the mini-console. This means that it can in essence play just about any game available for the PS Vita mobile console either through the physical memory card or download purchases. The problem is that the system does not have a touchscreen so it will not be compatible with all of the games as it has to try and translate any touch screen game play.
Play Older PlayStation Games
In addition to the catalog of PS Vita games and remote play of the PlayStation 4, the system will also have access to older PlayStation games when the PlayStation Now system opens up later in the year. This will include a number of PlayStation 3 and older games that will be streamed down to the system. As this isn’t available yet, performance of the feature is a bit unknown. It is certainly going to be heavily reliant upon the broadband internet connection that it will be using.
Compatible with DualShock 3 and DualShock 4 Controllers
In order to play the games on the PlayStation TV, consumers will need to have one of the wired or wireless versions of the PlayStation DualShock 3 or 4 controllers. By default, it does not come with a controller but since most buyers probably will have a PlayStation console, this won’t be much of a problem. For the US market, Sony is also intending to release a $139 bundle version of the console that comes with a DualShock 3 controller, 8GB memory card and the Lego Movie Videogame. The PlayStation TV will support up to two controllers for multiplayer game support.
Requires Memory Cards
Internally, the PlayStation TV essentially does not have any additional space for storing the games. This isn’t a problem if the console is used primarily for streaming the PS4 games. If on the other hand you intend to download many PS Vita games or videos to the system, they will need to have some place to store them locally. The console allows for expanded memory through the use of flash memory cards. So if you are getting the console be sure to pick up at least an 8GB memory card if you intend to use it as a console outside of the PS4 streaming box.
Watch Movies or TV Shows
Of course one of the main features for just about any box of this type is the ability to watch movies over the net. While there are plenty of streaming services like Netflix, Amazon Instant Video and Hulu, Sony is really pushing for buyers of the system to get their movies and TV through the PlayStation Store. This is of course a nice touch but most users will probably end up getting the system to use one of the streaming services rather than purchasing them from Sony. This of course requires a SEN (Sony Entertainment Network) login to use.
The actual release date has not been set yet but many retailers are already taking preorders for the diminutive console device.