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COMMENT | Not for the players, streamers, or newcomers - who the hell is PlayStation TV actually for?

Matt Gardner
PlayStation TV, PS Vita TV, PS4, Remote Play, Sony Computer Entertainment

COMMENT | Not for the players, streamers, or newcomers - who the hell is PlayStation TV actually for?

One thing that was missing from our Christmas games console buyer's guides was an in-depth look at PlayStation TV, the little microconsole from Sony that'll allow to play Vita titles on the big screen and dish out some PS4 remote play goodness as well. I'll be the first to admit that generally, when it comes to microconsoles, I've never been the most evangelical supporter of playing mobile games on a big screen. I can, however, see the appeal of multimedia plug-in boxes for consumers without smart TVs, or if you have multiple sets and just want a little media box for secondary televisions.

I was rather eager to investigate PS TV, however, what with already owning a PS4 and having a large Vita library. I have large hands, and I must admit to not finding the Vita's tiny thumbsticks to be all that comfortable. It's a problem that I've mitigated somewhat with third-party attachments that give the Vita gamepad-like handles, but even so, it's not an ideal solution. With that in mind, and considering that I no longer have my PS3 plugged in any more, I quite liked the thought of PS TV as a remote play unit for my PS4, and a little home console equivalent for playing classic PlayStation titles and broader Vita titles more suited to longer periods of play.

The trouble is, given early impressions, I can't work out who PlayStation TV is actually for.

COMMENT | Not for the players, streamers, or newcomers - who the hell is PlayStation TV actually for?

It certainly doesn't seem to be for people like me, eager to use the little box, which is barely larger than a deck of cards, for PS4 Remote Play purposes. After much swearing and getting tangled up in cables, it's become readily apparent that the only way to eliminate the all-too visible lag is to have a house set up with full LAN coverage. This is just fundamentally impractical at best, and downright impossible at worst. Having the PS4 plugged in helped a bit, but even so, the latency was still immersion-breaking. I really hadn't expected that to be an issue -- standard remote play on my Vita, for example, works like a dream.

PlayStation TV isn't for people wanting a a multimedia streaming microconsole either... because it doesn't have Netflix. Or iPlayer. Or NowTV. In fact, it doesn't support any of these things, not even via Remote Play. You can rent things from the Sony Entertainment Network, of course, but just because Sony haven't worked out how to rival the likes of Sky and Amazon when it comes to convenient, subscription-based, TV/movie services shouldn't mean that I can't access the apps I already pay for.

It's not for people hoping for a PlayStation hub either. Although you have access to the Vita's large library, and the enormous potential of Sony's game marketplace, providing swathes of classic PSOne and PS2 titles, PS TV still refuses to use anything other than Sony's proprietary memory cards. Oh, and it only ships with 1 GB of storage onboard. You get three free games with PS TV -- OlliOlli, Velocity 2X, and Worms: Revolution (all of which have, I think, been part of the PS+ Instant Game Collection) -- but you can't even fit them all onto the system straight out of the box. Which brings me onto...

COMMENT | Not for the players, streamers, or newcomers - who the hell is PlayStation TV actually for?

It's a dreadful microconsole for newcomers, too. So we've established that the PS TV, in spite of its marketing (not that there's been much of it), is ill-suited to PlayStation fans, but that all means that it seems doubly dreadful for newcomers too. The storage issue will be a horrible awakening for anyone who didn't have a Vita in the first place, but even more galling than that is the fact that it doesn't come bundled with a controller. PS TV supports both DualShock 4 and the previous model, but the DS3 does have a little bit of lag as far as we can tell, and neither come as a pack-in. Either way, you're looking at an extra £20-30 for a microconsole that you can't watch BoJack Horseman on, nor use to store the free games that you get out of the box.

Adding on some additional storage and a controller, you're looking at over £100 to get up and running on PS TV, which is absurd. You can get a second-hand PS3 for less than that.

Now, it's worth pointing out that I've only had PS TV for a short while. I want to live with it for a few days, see how it fits into my entertainment setup before dispensing a full review, but even at this early stage, PS TV presents very few answers to a whole host of questions, perhaps most pertinently who the hell is going to buy this?

Add a comment10 comments
kid_jump  Nov. 24, 2014 at 15:47

tell me about it... ive been honestly been considering to send sony some business tips for the vita haha. they really do need Netflix, and also Twitch would be amazing! >.< its like my mobile phone can be more useful. they also need to kinda market the vita too. ive only ever seen marketing for the original soul sacrifice on the vita and thats it. i do love my vita and im loving the new tearwaway theme but yeah that and vita tv are hmm at this point :/

Pikjoe  Nov. 24, 2014 at 16:25

Since you're asking who'd want the device , well here is a customer .

I dont care at all for handheld gaming , but always "suffer" it , for the sake of titles i can't miss , that are exclusive to those platforms .

So you give me a rather cheap option to play my vita games on tv with a normal PS4 pad instead , well i'll take it

Last edited by Pikjoe, Nov. 24, 2014 at 16:36
stevenjameshyde  Nov. 24, 2014 at 16:44

I agree with Pikjoe up to a point, unfortunately the Vita's biggest exclusive games (Wipeout, Gravity Rush, Uncharted, Tearaway) aren't compatible due to the lack of touchscreen. So it's not very good for people who want to play Vita games on a TV either

If you could pair a Vita with a DS4 for remote play, rather than having to suffer the weird back-touchscreen remappings, the PSTV would be dead in the water. I won't buy anything that could be rendered obsolete by a single software update

MattGardner  Nov. 24, 2014 at 16:57

@Pikjoe: See, I'm actually kinda with you. I can't say I'm the biggest fan of handheld gaming any more -- it's a size and battery thing for me -- but many of the titles are fantastic. However, I think the operative word you use is "cheap". £80 for a base unit that requires a £20-30 controller, and a £20 (at least) memory card on top isn't what I'd necessarily call cheap.

In the US, there's a bundle that packs in a DS3 and an 8GB memory card. for an extra $20. Why the hell that hasn't launched over here is beyond me.

Last edited by MattGardner, Nov. 24, 2014 at 16:59
r3tract  Nov. 24, 2014 at 17:41

One question: what has your internet connection download speed got to do with PS4 remote play?

eddie20101  Nov. 24, 2014 at 17:52

There are a large number of great vita games that do work on Playstation TV. They will probably add more apps and Playstation Now (streaming gaming service) and Sony Vue, the streaming on demand cable service that doesn't require a cable box. For those that don't want a $399.99 gaming system it's well worth it or will be very soon.

MattGardner  Nov. 24, 2014 at 18:58

One question: what has your internet connection download speed got to do with PS4 remote play?
Absolutely nothing! Dammit, thought I'd already edited that out earlier. Done now, thanks!

@eddie: I agree it's got great potential. But it feels like a product that's charged off to a release date ahead of the services designed to support it.

That said, as stated in the OP, I want to spend some serious time with it before delivering a proper review.

Last edited by MattGardner, Nov. 24, 2014 at 19:00
eltheren  Nov. 24, 2014 at 23:44

I think the operative word you use is "cheap". £80 for a base unit that requires a £20-30 controller, and a £20 (at least) memory card on top isn't what I'd necessarily call cheap.

I dunno , seems like in the example from above , he'd already have vita titles and accessories then most likely a memory card .

And i'm not convinced bundling a pad and a card wouldnt cost more in EU . And it would be useless extra cost for people with already a ps4 and/or vita . Wich are most likely the current targets in europe .

So yeah i'd also consider being able to stream a few consoles AND play vita on tv for 99 euros is rather cheap . It's 20 euros above the cost of a game around here

Last edited by eltheren, Nov. 24, 2014 at 23:45
Sonydontdofirmwareupdates  Nov. 25, 2014 at 09:49

I can now get a 120gb SSD cheaper than a 32gb Sony memory card - with 64gb only available on import (or from a seller who has imported it) as Sony continue to deny a global official release for their propriety memory.

Its almost inconcievable that they would put this as a slot of their new PS TV considering Sony's own attitude towards it. Propriety memory in itself isnt a problem, but sony have made it a cruch for users.

Also with Apple TV, Sky (now TV) boxes etc they dont force updates on you at the exact time you wish to use the device, I am able to watch my shows when I want and if an update is available I can choose not to update until later - I dont have to update immediatly to access the online functions, PSN doesnt let you do that on the PS3/PS4, even if you want to watch netflix you have to update your playstation, I assume that will be the case with the PS TV available functionality as well.

ManuelG  Nov. 27, 2014 at 12:21

For dumb brainwashed $0N¥tards. This device is useless, it's stupid how bad this thing is and it doesn't even support 1080p when it's apparently so important for the $0N¥tards.

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