For those with a few bucks to spare, you may want to spare yourself from buying the PlayStation TV. With the PS TV having been around for over a year since its introduction in Japan as PS Vita TV, it continues to struggle and has only itself to blame.
Available as a base unit for $100 and a bundle for $130, the price point for the system was not necessarily very attractive. The 2014 holiday season saw the price drop, at least temporarily, to $80 and $100, respectively.
The base unit is a bare bones configuration consisting of only the PS TV and HDMI cable. The bundle is more robust, offering the PS TV system, HDMI cable, 8GB memory card, The LEGO Movie Videogame, USB cable, and DUALSHOCK 3 controller. The increment in price makes the bundle a far superior value.
Take away the screen of the PS Vita and you have the PS TV. However, taking away the Vita’s touchscreen also hampers the unit irrevocably. Based upon the same technology as the Vita, the PS TV takes the user experience of a handheld system to your television. Unfortunately, the user interface and many applications were not tweaked to work without a touchscreen.
Many of your Vita games and applications will not work with the PS TV. Titles have to have the ability to work without the touchscreen functionality built into them, as the system itself offers no compensation for it. Even games that do offer this functionality suffer from the fact that actions meant to be done with a simple touch of the screen seem more difficult to accomplish with a controller.
For those looking to use the PS TV as a streaming device, you will find your options limited at best. Without services like Netflix functioning on Sony’s device, it offers little value in this capacity. Crackle and PS Store movies are available, but little else.
The inclusion of a DUALSHOCK 3 rather than a DUALSHOCK 4 controller comes as a curious choice by Sony. A thought would be that the DUALSHOCK 4’s touchpad could have been used to transpose some the the Vita’s touch control, but that would also require some additional programming. Perhaps keeping down the price of the system was part of this decision.
The PS TV carries one of the strangest and most in-explainable lackings of functionality. Believe it or not, but the device cannot be powered on or off outside of the unit’s power button. Even though you can pair a controller to the unit and use it wirelessly, you can’t turn it on with the controller’s PS button–even if you connect it via USB.
There are a handful of considerations that may make the PS TV viable. PS4 remote play is available for those that would wish to use it. The beta version of the PS Now game streaming service is also available, indicating that the full implementation of the service will also be usable on the device. The most intriguing and unknown possibility of the PS TV would be for Sony’s planned television streaming option, as this unit offers the lowest cost option in to the PlayStation line of services.
In the end, the PS TV system is left to limp along behind its Vita brethren. Having potential, but not being able to capitalize on it, has been the bane of this product line. Future development on this platform will determine if it becomes a worthwhile purchase, but for the time being it should remain on the store shelf.
My hopes were that this unit would allow me to capture some video of Vita games but I am finding that most of the games I try simply do not work on the system. Too bad, this could have made the Vita more relevant and reach more users.
Paul Novak is a self described Polish ninja toiling away as an IT professional but more into gaming and writing. Physically existing in the west side of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania yet existentially flowing with the ether of the Internet. Found here at What’s Your Tag? and on the Twitter @dudewantshisrug. Game on with Team XBRO!