Hands-on with PlayStation TV
PlayStation TV is a micro console that allows you to play various PS Vita, PSP and PSOne games on your TV. As great as that sounds, is it truly worth it?
PlayStation TV is much like a home console version of the PS Vita in a lot of ways. It uses the exact same UI, and you can insert both PS Vita cartridges and memory cards to the device too.
If you love PS Vita games, you will like the fact that PlayStation TV allows you to play those games on a big screen TV. Not to mention it allows you to play PS Vita games using a DUALSHOCK 4 or PS3 controller instead.
The touchscreen controls have either been altered for some games, or you can press the L3 and R3 buttons to access the front and rear touch screen controls respectively. It's playable, but sometimes a proper touchscreen works better than just swiping using the analogue sticks.
In terms of how games look, the maximum resolutions are 720p and 1080i. Some PS Vita games look great on the big screen such as the bright graphics seen in Final Fantasy X and Final Fantasy X-2. Other games however look a bit more stretched out and are better suited for a small screen only.
Some of the graphical flaws can be seen more when you play some PS Vita games on a bigger screen when using the PlayStation TV. PS Vita games are usually maxed out at 720p so things look less smooth when they are translated onto a bigger TV screen.
Playing PS Vita games using a normal controller is quite good and comfortable. The PS Vita console itself has small buttons and analogue sticks so using a normal-sized controller will be more satisfying for some users.
Speaking of controllers, PlayStation TV makes Remote Play better too. Remote Play using the PS Vita is good, but some of the controls feel clunky due to the console's lack of buttons. Getting the chance to use an actual DUALSHOCK 4 controller to play PS4 games via Remote Play obviously makes the experience smoother and more enjoyable.
Aside from playing PS4 games via Remote play and PS Vita games, the PlayStation TV can also play numerous PSP and PSOne games. PSP and PSOne games are only accessible if you download them via the PlayStation Store though. Much like with PS Vita games, you will see a lot of jagged edges when playing these games on a bigger TV screen. However, the games are still playable and fun
To play downloadable games, it's best that you buy a PS Vita memory card for use with the PlayStation TV. The device only has a measly 1GB of memory built-in, which isn't very large. Some PS Vita games also require you to download a big update first too for them to be compatible with PlayStation TV. Investing on an 8GB or 16GB memory card might be the best option for PlayStation TV buyers.
PlayStation TV is a great device, however there are several limitations that might irk some people. First of all, not a lot of PS Vita, PSOne and PSP games are compatible with the device. Only a a handful of games are playable on the PlayStation TV.
Out of the games I already own, PS Vita titles such as Final Fantasy X/X-2 HD, Minecraft and Killzone: Mercenary only worked with the PlayStation TV. Even first-party launch titles like Uncharted: Golden Abyss and Everybody's Golf are incompatible with the PlayStation TV.
PSOne and PSP games are also limited too. PSOne titles like the Final Fantasy games work, but the Crash Bandicoot games I own on PSN don't work. The same goes for several PSP games I've downloaded over the years too. It's not just games that don't work on PS Vita, but several apps aren't PlayStation TV friendly too. Facebook and Twitter work on the device, but Skype and YouTube aren't compatible.
The inconsistent compatibility of the PlayStation TV will frustrate many people. It pays to look at a list of compatible games and apps before you buy the device.
As for Remote Play, the PlayStation TV's WiFi connectivity is very weak compared to that of the PS Vita. It's recommended that you use a wired connection for Remote Play as the PlayStation TV doesn't perform very well on wireless connections.
I tried using the device via a wireless connection to see how it performs, but the results weren't great. The PlayStation TV couldn't get a good enough signal for Remote Play. I had to move my modem closer to both the PS4 and PlayStation TV devices to get Remote Play working. You literally need all devices around in the same room to make Remote Play work well on a wireless connection.
When Remote Play gets going, it's actually quite fun playing PS4 games on a different TV. However, the picture quality isn't as good simply because you are streaming content. Far Cry 4 looks great when I play it on my PS4 normally, but it doesn't look as pretty when playing it via Remote Play.
Still, Remote Play on PlayStation TV functions well if you are able to get it working. Again, a wired internet connection is highly recommended as PlayStation TV is weak when you are using a wireless connection for Remote Play.
Should you buy a PlayStation TV device? For $NZD159.99, it's a great companion device as it plays a number of PS Vita, PSOne and PSP games. Not to mention the Remote Play feature is helpful for PS4 owners. It's cheaper to buy than a PS Vita console which costs around $NZD299.99 these days.
However if you already own a PS Vita, their is no point on buying a PlayStation TV device. The lack of compatibility to play all games and apps is severely disappointing. Also, the Remote Play feature works far better on wireless connections on a PS Vita than it does on PlayStation TV. If you are willing to get PlayStation TV, it's best you buy yourself a long ethernet cable.