Regardless of what anyone tells you, Sony didn’t shock the world when it unveiled its PS4 gaming console. It was something we were all expecting, a console that we knew was coming at some point in the future. The PlayStation TV, however, was a surprise.
You would never know how important of a device the PlayStation TV is by looking at it. It’s a basic box, with a Sony logo and indicator light in the front. There is no disc tray to insert a game. There are port for connecting to an HDMI enabled television, a wired network and a power socket.
With all the new living room video game consoles, and set-top boxes making their way to store shelves lately, it’s understandable that a lot of users are asking what Sony’s new PlayStation TV is and what it isn’t.
What the PlayStation TV Isn’t
With a name like PlayStation TV you’d be hard-pressed to find anyone in gaming who doesn’t think that the PlayStation TV is a video game console. They’d be both wrong and right.
The PlayStation TV isn’t a video game console in the way we’ve always known them. It’s not cutting edge, users can’t expect better graphics when compared to other PlayStation consoles. There aren’t any games made for it specifically. In short, if you’re looking to purchase a PlayStation TV when it arrives on store shelves on October 17th so that you can play the latest in high-definition video games, don’t. You won’t be able to, at least, with just the PlayStation TV itself.
What the PlayStation TV Is
Gaming System in a Box
So what exactly is the PlayStation TV? First, it’s part gaming console. Second, its part entertainment console.
Internally, the PlayStation TV is a PlayStation Vita handheld without the screen or extra buttons. It’ll come in two versions, both of which will be compatible with some famous games from past generation PlayStation consoles. Games made for the PlayStation Vita, and PlayStation Portable will be available for purchase on the PlayStation TV itself. Users will be able to play those games with a last-generation DualShock 3 controller that they already own, purchase in a bundle or purchase separately.
Sony is leading the way as the gaming market slowly begins to embrace gaming as a service instead of a one-time purchase. With that in mind, the PlayStation TV is a monument to that. It’ll come with PlayStation Now functionality too. That means users will be able to rent full copies of games without getting off the couch. We’re not simply talking about basic games, but about more robust titles that were made for the PS3 originally. In addition to PlayStation Now, the PlayStation TV will be compatible with Remote Play. Remote Play allows users to connect to their console and play games off it instead of locally. What this means is that users will be able to play PS4 games on their PlayStation TV – provided that they have a decent network connection and own a PS4.
In this way, the PlayStation TV is the easiest and cheapest way for Sony to bring its gaming services to the wider world. At $139.99 for a configuration that includes a controller, it’s a pretty robust gaming machine – provided you have a decent internet connection and aren’t too keen on the latest and greatest games if you don’t already have a PS4.
Sony is a gaming powerhouse that has introduced it’s fair share of new technologies and games to the wider world. What most people forget is that there is more to Sony than just gaming, and it’s that side of Sony that I think the PlayStation TV is from. For so long, the entertainment services side of Sony’s business have been tied to how well the PS4 and PS3 gaming consoles perform.
The PlayStation TV is Sony betting on two horses at the same time. This new console is tailor-made for entertainment experiences in a way the PS4 or PS3 never could be. It’s cheaper and only includes the essentials so that it’s easier to use. Sony’s Unlimited Music and Unlimited Video offerings will have apps on the PlayStation TV, giving Sony a decent outlet for two of its biggest businesses. (Sony is a very large music distributor, and movie studio too.) Apps for Hulu Plus and services like it will also be available.
Sony also has a very, very big television business too. The company produces shows for dozens of networks and has relationships with almost every cable or satellite operator. Early this year Sony confirmed that it was in talks with these networks and television production companies to allow their content to be streamed on a cloud-based video service. There’s nothing pointing to the service being able in this year, but already some big names have signed up. Viacom, owner of CBS and more, has already inked a deal for the streaming service. Presumably, the PlayStation TV will act as the cable box for this cloud-based television service. At the very least, it’ll be compatible with the PlayStation TV when it launches.
That’s what the PlayStation TV is and what it isn’t. Whether you decide to purchase one when it arrives on store shelves comes down to your personal needs. If you’re a casual gamer who doesn’t need the latest high-end details than the PlayStation TV could be the answer to both your gaming and entertainment needs. If you aren’t than the PlayStation TV is just the easiest way to get your hands on Sony’s growing stable of internet based entertainment services.