Sony's Playstation TV is available now in the UK for £85.
- Plays (some) Vita games, and downloadable titles
- Classic PS One games available
- Remote Play from PS4
- Streaming entertainment, ostensibly
- 1GB Memory
The good news: you can now buy a Playstation TV in the UK for just £85.
The bad news: you should not do that.
Here's the good stuff: PlayStation TV comes with three games (OlliOlli, Velocity Ultra and Worms Revolution) which are all decent. It plays most Vita games, including downloadable titles, and has a good range of retro PS One games to buy and play too. You can also use it - just about - to play your PS4 in another room.
It's also quite small and is reasonably cheap.
Right now, the PS TV really has nothing much else going for it.
The software design is terrible, lifted straight from the already backwards-looking PS Vita. Key elements of the interface, like scrolling through license agreements, are rendered slow and annoying by the lack of effort put into editing this layout, and everything looks low-res and blocky.
Worse, once you reconciled yourself to navigating the interface, it won't take long to work out there isn't much to actually do on it yet.
Take streaming media. This is a pretty big part of any box you're going to hook up to your TV, but there is no Netflix, Amazon video or iPlayer app. You can buy movies from the Playstation Store, too, but we don't suggest doing that since you can't watch them anywhere else.
PS Now - Sony's upcoming streaming games service - is also yet to launch in the UK. So that's another downer.
Yes, you can use Remote Play to access and play a PS4 in another room - but there's some lag involved, in our test, and the fact is you won't be doing this much if you have the option of walking a few feet to where the PS4 actually is.
You can also play most PS Vita games (from cards or downloads) though lots of these look terrible when upscaled from their original resolution. Some - like Killzone Mercenary - play in native 1080i, but they're still not tremendous-looking titles. (Or actually, in the main, very good games.) Other titles like Gravity Rush - bootable from a card - are dependent on touchscreen controls that just don't work right in this setting. That's not to say there is nothing worth playing - Fez, Proteus and Sound Shapes are all excellent - but it's slim pickings.
The other issue is price. The box itself isn't expensive, but since you need a memory card to download anything more than the smallest games, and a PS3 or PS4 controller, it adds up. Compared to Apple TV, Roku or Amazon's Fire TV, there's just not enough content for that to make sense.
The overall impression is of something that doesn't match up to its promise. With a software redesign, PS Now and a better app selection, it could be worth considering later down the line. But right now it's an imperfect window into a sparse ecosystem of second-rate games and retro titles, and that's just not enough to recommend it.
Here's a tip, if you're going to buy one, just don't. Then mentally take the £85 off a PS4 (or even a PS3) and get that instead.
And if you want a cheap retro-themed console with good games for kids? Buy a SNES.