5 Ways Sony Can Fix the Playstation TV
The Playstation TV was launched in North America on October 14, 2014 to very little fanfare. Its a sleek piece of equipment that has more potential than 90% of all other stream boxes out there right now, but due to very poor launch planning and support the PS TV is little more than a paperweight. Having spent some time with the device here are my reasons it’s DOA and some ways to fix it. Netflix
Right now, Netflix is not available for the PSTV. Despite both the hardware and software being based on that of the Vita (a device that DOES offer Netflix), the PSTV doesn’t play nice with the largest video streaming platform available. To add insult to injury, since the PSTV store is basically just the PS Vita store, the Netflix app can be downloaded and installed, it just can’t be used. When you ask Netflix about the omission they claim its Sony’s fault and Sony is quick to blame Netflix.
This is a stream box cardinal sin. All other boxes offer this service: Roku, Boxee, Apple TV, 3DS, Chromecast, Amazon Fire TV, PS3, PS4, 360, XBONE among many others including smart TVs that have it integrated. It doesn’t matter how many PS1 games you can download and play on it, for this device to ever dream of being competitive in this market it HAS to stream Netflix…period.
Vita Play Control
There’s a Vita card slot on the PSTV. Any game can be inserted into the system but only a fraction can actually be played. This is due to the many unique control options of the Vita. Any games with touch screen, camera, or motion controlled features are not compatible with the PSTV. This could easily be remedied by having the Vita be a controller option with the PSTV. As is, the PSTV can be controlled with a Dual Shock 3 or 4.
The PSP had a video out option that allowed play on full size TVs, a feature I used extensively. The Vita currently doesn’t have this function and making the Vita a control option on the PSTV would bridge this gap. I don’t know what kind of hardware huddles a feature like this would carry, but the games would only have to be streamed from the Vita. This is something the TV already does with the PS4. Like a Vita Remote Play.
PS3 Remote Play
Speaking of Remote Play…right now, the PSTV can stream gameplay from a PS4 in the same house. The bitrate’s not great and the range on the connection could be better, but its available. Through Playstation Now, Sony will be allowing game streaming from the cloud, like Onlive.
They have said that PS3 games would be available to stream through the Now service, but adding a dedicated app to the PSTV that would allow in-home system to system streaming like the PS4 would add a ton of value to the box. However, I see how this isn’t likely to happen as it would steal value from the PS Now service.
Memory Card Prices
Sony has always had proprietary memory cards for their devices and it’s always been shady and overpriced. Also, I am well aware that mentioning this here will not change over a decade’s worth of pricing problems. But, come on though! An 8GB Memory Stick for a Vita/TV retails for $20. An 8GB Sandisk Class 10 MicroSD card is only $6.35. That price difference can be seen at all storage capacities. This has always been a problem and will most likely always be a problem.
The TV has 1GB built into the device, but seeing as Sony owns the Memory Stick form factor, and they need to push both Vitas and PSTVs out the door they should probably do a better job controlling the competitiveness of their prices. Especially in non-essential devices that aren’t a premiere product. As a parent, if my child brought me a toy and asked if he/she could have it and I find out at the counter that the only way to really get the most out of the toy is to spend an additional $50, I would immediately put it back on the shelf.
Playstation Now Marketing
Assuming it works, PS Now is a fantastic idea. It’s Netflix streaming for games, and rather than needing a PC or a MAC, all you need is your console. For $20 a month you can stream any game on the service as much as you want. Or you can buy in 3 month chunks for $45 ($15 a month). That’s a great deal and with over 200 games in the PS3 library available, alot can be already be done with the service.
Right now its only officially been released for PS4 and still in Beta on all other platforms, but its not being marketed AT ALL. The Playstation TV should be marketed as a $130 purchase that comes with 6 months of PS Now. That will move units and, assuming it works, will build a user-base in the PS Now Eco-system. Chop chop Sony marketing team, you’ve got work to do.
If something isn’t done quickly, the PSTV will become a relic doomed to collect dust on the clearance rack. Its the right price for the potential it has, but the execution has been horrid. If Sony is ok with these plugable holes then don’t expect a single update on the device. We will be able to chalk it up as another half-hearted under-supported storage drawer dwelling hunk of plastic.