The PlayStation TV is kind of a cross between Amazon’s Fire TV and a Ouya. It’s a very small set-top box designed to play games and stream content. It can also be used as a way to view content (movies or photos) from a PS Vita on a big screen. Like other set-top boxes, the PlayStation TV will debut at $99. Sony will also sell a $139 bundle that includes a DualShock 3 controller, an 8GB memory card and a copy of The Lego Movie game.
the real focus of the PlayStation TV is games. In addition to playing most PS Vita games, the PlayStation TV can play PSP games, PSOne games and will work with the upcoming PlayStation Now service to play PlayStation 3 games.
If you have a PlayStation 4, the PlayStation TV can also be used to remotely play PS4 games and content in another room. Both DualShock 3 and DualShock 4 controllers work with the PlayStation TV and up to two controllers can be connected at once.
Sony brought the PS Vita TV to Asia last year as a test to see if a low-cost console device would appeal to consumers. The company has continuously updated the Japanese variant over the last six months and will be brining the updated device to the U.S. and Europe.
The device itself shares nearly identical specs as the PS Vita, which means a quad-core processor, 1GB of internal memory and supported output of 720p/1080i. It also supports Bluetooth 2.1, 802.11n Wi-Fi and Ethernet. Although most streaming boxes support 1080p video output, the PlayStation TV matches up in nearly every other spec.
And although Sony hasn’t played up the streaming options on the PlayStation TV, the device in Japan supports a number of popular streaming services. It also allows access to Sony’s own content store of movies, music and TV shows.
The PS Vita already supports Netflix, Hulu Plus, YouTube, Crackle and Redbox Instant. We would be shocked if support for those services didn’t make their way to the PlayStation TV.
This has potential
The PlayStation TV has the potential to be a truly solid living room companion
The PlayStation TV has the potential to be a truly solid living room companion, especially if you’re interested in games.
Although other set-top boxes — notably Amazon’s Fire TV — have game libraries — they aren’t as focused or as vast as what is available for the PSP, PS Vita and PSNow. As a result, the PlayStation TV has an opportunity to sell itself as an inexpensive game console that plays “real” games (as opposed to games designed for mobile devices and touch screens with ad hoc controller support) that can also play content.
For PlayStation 4 buyers — or prospective buyers — the ability for the $99 PlayStation TV to act as a remote console in another room is also unique. No more forcing your husband to switch rooms so you can play video games. Who knows? It might even improve PS Vita sales. (We’re kidding. You’ll still never buy a PS Vita.)
In fact, if I were Ouya — or any of the other micro-console makers — I would start reassessing my strategy. Who in their right mind would buy an Ouya when a PlayStation TV is the same price, supports better controllers and has a much better gaming ecosystem?
This is what Nintendo could have done with the Wii Mini, if it hadn’t made the idiotic (and perplexing) decision to omit online connectivity to its low-cost console.
The bigger question is if the gaming incentives can give Sony a way to take a sizable chunk of the living room. At $99, we think it could.