Sony PlayStation has brought out a number of devices that have changed the way we play and experience video games. Back in 1994, PlayStation introduced us to the PlayStation 1 console. As the console grew in popularity across Africa as well as the globe and the company then decided, as technology evolved, that it would release the PlayStation 2 in March 2000. The PlayStation 2 went on to become the best-selling video game console in history, selling over 155 million units. In 2006 Sony PlayStation unveiled the PlayStation 3, which also grew in popularity over the years. With no signs of leaving the world of gaming behind, Sony PlayStation then unveiled the PlayStation 4. The PlayStation 4 was unveiled in 2013 and has currently sold over and above 18.5 million consoles.
Fast forward 2014/2015 (depending on the territory you live in) and Sony has now released the PlayStation TV. The PlayStation TV is essentially a micro-console, which allows you to play Vita games, PSP and PS One classics on your television. To add to this, the PlayStation TV also features a Remote Play Hub for your PlayStation 4. This essentially removes the need for a secondary PlayStation 4 console, which was a good move from Sony’s side.
How does it work exactly? Well, imagine getting home after a long day at work and all you want to do is play the latest AAA title to hit the shelves. However, as soon as you walk in the door, you notice that the TV has been occupied by your significant other – or the kids. In most cases you would physically move the console to another part of the house in order to avoid disruptions, but with the PlayStation TV there is no need to move your primary PlayStation 4. Once set-up on the same Wi-Fi network, the PlayStation TV can be connected to any TV in the house (as long as it has an HDMI port and is within the signal range of your Wi-Fi device). This will essentially allow you to stream what is happening on your PlayStation 4 console to your PlayStation TV micro-console.
While this is a great move by Sony PlayStation, there were however a few issues that we picked up on. The PlayStation TV does a great job of streaming PlayStation 4 games; however, you will need a fairly outstanding Wi-Fi connection for it to run seamlessly – especially if both devices are quite a distance from each other. If too far apart, the PlayStation TV will either drop the connection to the PlayStation 4, or you will experience a significant amount of lag. Thankfully, the PlayStation TV does support a wired connection, which tends to do a much better job than its wireless counter-part.
Running the device on a wired connection eliminates most of the lag, but a slow down in speed does occur from time to time. While wired is probably the best way to go, when streaming content over your network, you may have to resort to installing a few network cables throughout your home. Granted, this is not an ideal approach; however, it does beat paying an extra R6299 for a secondary PlayStation 4.
Once connected, you will notice that the PlayStation TV’s interface is extraordinarily similar to the interface featured on the PlayStation Vita. While this interface works quite well on the Vita, without the touchscreen option, it becomes slightly harder to navigate through while using a DualShock 3 or DualShock 4 controller. Having a streamlined interface would make the PlayStation TV experience far better and should be something to consider by Sony. To add to this, some content and games featured on the Vita are not entirely compatible with the PlayStation TV. On the plus side, the content and games that are compatible look fantastic in on the big screen, especially when running at 1080i.
While the PlayStation TV will most definitely be a hit for PlayStation 4 owners, the device is not entirely groundbreaking when used as a standalone device. Yes it plays Vita games, PSP and PS One classics and allows for PlayStation 4 streaming, but the amount of content available for it is not entirely sufficient at the moment. To add to this, while streaming you are pretty much limited to only streaming games. This is due to the fact that PlayStation TV will not allow you to stream Blu-Ray movies as well as stream content from a lot of the traditional apps such as YouTube that we use on a daily basis. Granted, there may be content restrictions as well as a mass amount over data streaming over your network, but its something that Sony should maybe consider implementing as it will make the PlayStation TV a force to be reckoned with.
One thing we cannot fault the PlayStation TV on is its design. Sony quite honestly knows how to build a console. Granted the PlayStation One was not the most attractive console, but everything from the PlayStation 2 era up until the PlayStation TV has always had a sleek, robust and sexy design. When looking at the PlayStation TV, you can see that Sony had elegance in mind. It’s most definitely a beautiful device and measures in at 66 x 104 x 127mm. When looking at the rear of the PlayStation TV you will find an HDMI port, USB Port, MicroSD slot and an Ethernet connection port. When looking to the right of the PlayStation TV, you will find a slot where you can place you PS Vita cards into as well.
Overall when it comes to build quality, due to its extraordinary small form factor, the PlayStation TV looks great when set up on a wall unit as well as placed next to a TV. While the PlayStation TV may not be the best option for standalone console, it does however extend upon the overall experience when it comes to Sony’s PlayStation 4 console.
As a standalone device, the PlayStation TV is not something that is ground-breaking; however, when coupled with the PlayStation 4 it becomes a revolutionary device that completely eliminates the need to purchase a secondary PlayStation 4. To add to this it does have an attractive price as well, which is set at R1499 (depending on the retailer).
While the PlayStation TV has its ups and downs, it is a great step forward when it comes to the world of gaming. Just bare in mind that a fairly strong router is needed if you plan to use the device wirelessly. For a better overall experience, we suggest connecting the device up to a wired connection.
When it comes to design, Sony PlayStation has hit the nail on the head time and time again with the design of not only its console’s, but the PlayStation TV as well. It is sleek, sexy and looks great on any TV cabinet.
When it comes to the user-interface (UI), yes the PlayStation TV is a bit difficult to navigate, but you tend to get used to the UI after using the device a couple times. To add to this, once Sony makes more apps available for the system as well as compatible games, it will definitely have an extraordinary piece of tech in its arsenal.
In case you missed it, check out the PlayStation Plus February 2015 line-up here.
Review & Photography by: Darryl Linington