Sony PlayStation TV
Stream PS4 games
Limited support for older games
The PlayStation TV is a palm- sized box that acts as an extender box for Sony’s PlayStation 4 games console. Inside the PlayStation TV lives the guts of a PlayStation Vita handheld console, squished into a tiny set-top box that connects to any television via HDMI. It doesn’t feature television tuners and it’s not designed to replace the Play TV tuner box available for the PlayStation 3.
When someone else wants to use the main television in the lounge room you can pause your game on the PS4, move to the PlayStation TV in another room and pick up playing where you left off. Of course, that’s assuming both devices are connected to your home network via Ethernet or Wi-Fi. You’ll need to take your DualShock controller with you, unless you have a spare DualShock 3 or 4 controller, which you can dedicate to the PlayStation TV. Sony doesn’t include one in the box, even though the PlayStation TV is useless without one.
You don’t need to be in the middle of a game to activate Remote Play; you can use the PlayStation TV to remotely commandeer the PS4 at any time. You’re taking full control of the PS4, so people in the lounge room can’t keep using it for something else (but they can watch what you’re doing).
Remote Play alone may justify the PlayStation TV’s spot in your home, but this little box has a few extra tricks up its sleeve. It features a memory card slot on the back that lets you play PlayStation Vita games, except for those games that rely heavily on the Vita’s rear touchpad.
You can also tap into the online PlayStation Store to play Vita, PlayStation Portable and PSone games – something the PS4 still can’t do – but the results are very hit and miss. There’s only support for around 100 titles, and some aren’t available in this region, so it really is potluck. If you have a large collection of classic games purchased via the PS3, don’t expect many of them to work with the PlayStation TV.
Eventually the PlayStation TV may also play PS3 games streamed from the new PlayStation Now cloud gaming service (formerly Gaikai), although there’s no word as to if or when PlayStation Now will be available in Australia. In the US you can subscribe to PlayStation Now or rent individual games, although early pricing isn’t great and you’re generally better off buying games that you’re keen on.
For its final trick, the PlayStation TV can also play movies and music from a USB drive or stream them from a home DLNA media server running on your computer or Network-attached Storage drive. This is something else you can’t do with the PS4 or Apple TV without a little hackery. The PlayStation TV also lets you buy or rent movies and TV shows, but you’re limited to standard-definition for now.
If you own a PlayStation 4 and are heavily invested in the PlayStation ecosystem, then Sony’s PlayStation TV may be a good fit for your home, especially if it stops fights over the lounge room. Unfortunately, the PlayStation TV becomes less attractive if you’re more interested in playing older games. If you want to make the most of your collection of games purchased from the PlayStation Store, then your money may be better off put towards an old PlayStation 3 for the spare room rather than the PlayStation TV.