After more than a year of being available around the world and Sony teasing its arrival, the PlayStation TV release date has arrived. As of today, American buyers can pick up the PlayStation TV to play their favorite games, watch video and more.
Sony began selling the PlayStation TV at retailers like GameStop and Amazon early this morning. Announced last year as the Vita TV, the device is a miniature console that makes the many of the entertainment features of Sony’s other consoles available at a much cheaper price of $99.
The PlayStation TV itself is a pretty small box. There’s no screen. Just a small light on the front that lets buyers know that it’s on. There is no disc drive on the PlayStation TV. Instead, games and entertainment are loaded through the built-in wireless internet connection inside the console and a full-size Ethernet port in the back. There are ports for USB, HDMI out and a slot for storage.
PlayStation TV is all about giving users new entertainment options without the premium price tag. In the future Sony is reading a digital streaming television service that could come to the PlayStation TV. In the meantime many of the Vita handheld apps are available on the PlayStation TV. Sony’s Unlimited Video and Unlimited Music services are there. These apps are also available on other PlayStation devices like smartphones and tablets.
The PlayStation TV is really a PlayStation Vita without a display and built-in controls. To that end, Sony allows PlayStation TV users to download Vita games and play them on the PlayStation TV. Additional games for the PlayStation TV include PlayStation One classics. The PlayStation TV also features Remote Play technology so that users can play PS4 games away from their PS4. Think of the feature as less of a way to replace a console and more of a way to play PS4 games around the house. Some PSP games are also compatible with the device.
Earlier this year Sony revealed PlayStation Now. PlayStation Now is a video game rental service. Users simply play a flat rate fee for a few hours. The game of their choice is streamed from Sony’s servers directly to the console in question. The PlayStation TV includes PlayStation Now functionality.
All told, today’s PlayStation TV release is historic. In releasing the device in America, Sony has made it incredibly cheap to break into the PlayStation ecosystem. Even if that live television service never arrives, the PlayStation TV could prove irresistible to holiday shoppers looking for an easy way to game for their family to play games this holiday season. At $99 PlayStation TV buyers get the console and power cable itself.
Those that are looking for a more complete entertainment experience can expect to pay $139.99 for a fully featured PlayStation TV bundle. Users who purchase this higher end bundle get a DualSuock 3 controller, an 8GB memory card to extend the consoles 1GB of storage, a USB cord and a copy of Lego Movie Videogame. Playing a game on the PlayStation TV requires either a DualShock 3 or DualShock 4 controller. Users don’t necessarily have to buy a new one though.
Whether the PlayStation TV is perfect for your entertainment needs comes down to whether your particular gaming habits. The PlayStation TV sounds great for users who need an entertainment device for streaming video from Sony’s services. For gamers, there’s more nuance involved. PlayStation Now is only reliable if users have a decent internet connection. With the amount of high-profile PlayStation Vita games on the wane, it’s unclear what must-have games users can expect in the future.
Of course, users can still purchase the PlayStation 4 if they want a true next-generation gaming experience. The PS4 includes all the features of the PlayStation TV – sans Vita game compatibility – but costs $399.