Does Anyone Care About the PlayStation TV? Maybe at $37.95.

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A Tough Start…

The PlayStation TV, also known as the Vita TV, has lived a rather inconspicuous life. It shares a similar lack for attention like it’s older brother, the Vita, because of scanty support from Sony and other variables. This little tv box can be used for streaming PS4 gaming to a tv in a room far from your system; however, poor WiFi signals or thick walls can dampen the gaming experience. You can take this little box, shove it in your pocket, and play games in a hotel without bulking around your PS3 or PS4. This wonderful little thing has a slot to play many physical Vita games. It also has access to the PSN store, although it’s a bit bare-bones compared to the PS4/PS3/Vita versions but you can still play a certain percentage of downloadable games. When this first released at $100 dollars, I didn’t think there was a purpose in buying a small box which could only support some games. I don’t know what Sony was thinking but the consumer voted with their wallet on this one. Now that the price has dropped more than 50%, I can see a lot of renewed interest in this little box and so that brings me to my own recent purchase of the PlayStation TV which happened within seconds of my discovering the price drop.

Like always, Sony could have done a lot more to push this product. It’s a darn shame that Sony makes many great products but they either half-ass it or they simply don’t let people know what the product can do. Since consumers tend to buy things they understand; the Vita along with this nifty box sit almost ignored by a lot of people, including Sony, if you’re outside of Japan. I will include myself in that demographic since I couldn’t justify the original price point.

New Library of Games

Hold your horses before you misinterpret the header. By new library of games, I am referring to people who never purchased the Vita or a PS3. Now for just $37.95 you can get access to an assortment of games that you previously needed to spend at least $200 just to get a system. The casual gamer can get in on some great games without having to pay an arm and a leg for a bunch of systems they may not use too often. Sure, you can’t play every game because of compatibility issues but you can play a whole lot more games than if you didn’t have a system at all. This also benefits picky gamers like me, who nurture strange habits that hold back gaming fun potential.

I’m the type of gamer who ignores my portable games when I’m not on the go. I have some games for my PSP that I keep saying “I’ll beat them…” , however the last time I played games on my PSP was during a flight to San Diego. I even have the PSP that can connect to the tv, but the wires are annoying and it’s a cumbersome process. Having a little box that can sync with a standard PS controller is great. It doesn’t feel clunky at all.

This means I can play Vita games that I haven’t paid much attention too on  right at home on my tv instead of trying to get myself into playing a game on a tiny screen. I now have no excuse to wait until that next great trip to SDCC. Don’t get me wrong – I love hand-held gaming… but only if I’m not home. It’s just how I have always been. Now I can play Persona 4 Golden or Sword Art Online in rotation with my other games. 

What’s in the Box

You get all the basics (except for a controller, which Sony assumes you have). From the official item description:

  • Hundreds of PlayStation games to choose from: Including many PlayStation Vita games such as Killzone: Mercenary, God of War Collection, and Borderlands 2, classic games from PS One and PSP systems, and more.
  • Remote Play: Stream most of your PS4 games from your PS4 system to your PlayStation TV over local Wi-Fi (robust Wi-Fi or wired connection recommended).
  • Easy to Set up and Play: Plug in and play on any HDMI compatible TV in your home
  • PlayStationNow READY: Available later this year, PlayStation Now will give access to an expanding library of PS3 games to stream directly to PlayStation TV.
  • If you don’t have a controller, don’t panic! Sony sells a bundle that comes complete with a DualShock 3 controller. And if the description isn’t very clear (it isn’t) both the bundle and the stand-alone system comes with an HDMI cable.

Worth It

Again, at this price, this is well worth the investment. You just can’t go wrong as a casual gamer, a new gamer, or a vet with a whole mountain of games. This provides affordable and easy accessibility for new gamers joining the PlayStation community and it provides a new reason for established gamers to enjoy their hand-held games.

And if you like video games and don’t own a vita, now is also the chance to get access to the Vita library without spending $200 on a new system. While I think this can be a bit of cannibalism on Sony’s sales for the Vita, at least people will start buying the games. Perhaps this will lead to more support for the Vita if we can just get more gamers on board, purchasing software. I think the Vita is a great device and this small box no larger than a cellphone compliments it wonderfully.

Perhaps Sony should just permanently bundle the PlayStation TV with the Vita to help boost Vita sales while moving this product into the hands of new consumers and call it a day.

3 Responses

  1. Avatar
    Keith D. Mitchell

    I wasn’t a fan of the PSTV when it released in the states, despite being initially excited about it. The fact that it only outputs in 720p, no 5.1 sound and the limited playback of several major PS Vita titles really hurts the system. That said, there are still games that are playable via the PSTV, including an upcoming game that while i”m under NDA and can’t talk about it, will definitely give some add usage to the PSTV when it releases this month.

    As a remote playback device for the PS4 however, it’s definitely worth it, especially if you have your PS4 on a different floor since the PSTV uses Ethernet vs wifi, removing a lot of lag which is helpful for those late night “honey goto bed” situations.

    It’s not perfect and I don’t see it recovering at all but it’s not as bad as it was received.

    • Clinton Bowman
      Clinton Bowman

      Yeah, but the fact that it hinders streaming is a bad thing. Forced HDCP was the bane of a lot of people with the PS3 and the initial launch of the PS4, and the fact that they DIDN’T fix this with the PSTV is kind of the nail in the coffin for this peripheral.

      • Avatar
        Keith D. Mitchell

        There wasn’t anything to fix, sure it’s an afterthought, but it was done due to the ability to stream media to it / thru it. No HDCP means tons of free content and of course they would be bad for Sony. No different than the what happened to the PS3, hence why you can’t stream via HDMI and that the chip on the PS3 has HDCP hardcoded into it.

        At least you can use an HDMI splitter to do it.I actually tried to do this using an A/V receiver, since it’s technically an HDMI splitter with no luck. I do have an HDMI splitter buried in my tech drawer, so I’ll try that next… assuming I can find it.