PS4 tips and tricks: Here's what your new console can do
So the UK launch of the PlayStation 4 is just about here. Brits are going to get their hands on a console we've been reading about since its official launch in February - a bit longer than that too, if we're being honest. The next generation is well and truly under way.
Pocket-lint has been using a review PS4 for a couple of weeks now, and we've discovered a few things you might want to check out as soon as you set up your own machine. Some of them you might have heard of before, some might even seem obvious, but we hope all of them are useful in one way or another.
So here are a few tips and tricks to get you started. If we find any more we'll add to the list. Or if you have some yourself (after all, US gamers have had their PS4s for a couple of weeks too) please let us know in the comments below.
READ: PlayStation 4 review
Charging DualShock 4 controllers
Although the DualShock 4 controller now has a micro USB socket rather than the mini USB port on the last generation, and can therefore be charged using a mobile phone charger or the like, you can also set your PS4 to charge it even when in standby mode.
In the power savings settings there's an option to set functions available in standby mode. One of those functions is "supply power from USB ports", Make sure that is ticked and you'll be able to charge a controller even when the PS4 is asleep.
Automatically update and download games
In the same settings menu as above, you can also set the machine to connect to the internet in standby mode. This allows it to pull down any updates or install games while in standby mode.
Power down automatically
The power savings settings can also be set to power down either the PS4 or DualShock 4 controller or both after a set period of inactivity.
Connect to Bluetooth keyboard
We don't know about you, but we're not too enamoured with the on-screen PS4 keyboard (or any console keyboard come to that), so when browsing or performing an action that requires text input we like to use a physical one. To connect a Bluetooth keyboard to the PS4, go to "devices" in the settings and then to "Bluetooth settings". This will list all Bluetooth enabled devices that the PS4 can find. Don't forget to switch on the Bluetooth option on the keyboard first and it should be a doddle to pair.
You can also alter some of the keyboard functionality options, such as language of choice, in the external keyboards menu in devices.
Don't want vibration in your controller?
It would seem odd as we believe that the feedback vibration in controllers is an almost essential part of the games-playing experience, but should you want to turn it off, you can. Just head to "controllers" in the devices settings menu and you will be able to disable vibration. You don't seem to be able to disable it on a DualShock by DualShock basis though, so you can't have one vibrate and the other not, it seems.
This menu also contains a volume slider for the controllers' mini speakers.
Enable Remote Play
If you own a PS Vita you will have to enable the Remote Play function on the PS4 before it will be able to connect. This is in the PS Vita connection settings. You can also choose the option to connect to the Vita automatically whenever you open the PS4 Link app on the handheld, otherwise you'll always have to approve every connection on the PlayStation 4 first.
When you first boot up your new console it will go through the rigmarole of deciding the best settings for your TV and sound system itself. Resolution and TV size will be therefore automatic. However, you can also choose to tell the PS4 both of those settings; usually 1080p and, in our case, 55-inches. Apparently, the latter helps "optimise the 3D view" but without any 3D functionality at present, we're not sure what that will amount to.
If you have a compatible AV amplifier or receiver, you can set the audio to output either through HDMI or optical digital audio. You can also select the format, eithe Linear PCM or bitstream Dolby Digital or DTS. The latter two will only work through a receiver that can decode them. The LPCM option is best if you are unsure. All of the formats are uncompressed audio across the capable channels.
We have found we get a slightly better surround experience with bitstream Dolby Digital but you might have a different experience depending on your audio kit and room size.
As with all consoles and entertainment technology these days there are plenty of options for parents to restrict access to inappropriate content for children. Applications, Blu-rays, DVDs, internet browsing and even logging into the PS4 can all have their own password-protected restriction settings.
If you own a new PlayStation Camera, you can choose for the PS4 to instantly log you into your profile through facial recognition. You will need to enable the mode in the settings first though.
Facebook and Twitter postings
When you first set up your PS4, you get the option to link your PSN profile to Facebook and/or Twitter. As part of this, you are able to choose whether you want to publish certain actions to your social network feeds, with Facebook being the most expansive in options, offering the ability to post game event stories or when you earn trophies. You might not think much of leaving this on, but you could soon find your Facebook wall filling with all manner of minute gaming achievements, which are hardly riveting for your friends to read. Alternatively, you might not want your mum to know that you've spent the day shooting Helghast in the face instead of studying for an exam.
Now you can either choose to prevent PS4 events posting to either service completely, or you can choose to limit those who can see the postings. You can choose for events to be seen by the public, just your friends (and family), yourself only, or to a specific Facebook group to view your achievements. Member of a Killzone group? Then that seems like the obvious choice. Why not set up your own group for postings? That way you invite who you want to see them through Facebook.
If you think you've chosen the wrong options initially, you can always change them in the PSN settings under "link with other services". Follow the set-up process for each social network again.
It's definitely worth linking your PSN account to Facebook though as you can use your profile picture there as your PSN avatar.
One of the major features of the new PS4 is that it is always recording gameplay as video, perpetually caching the last 15 minutes in case you fancy sharing. Tap the share button and you'll be able to edit the previous 15 minutes to the bit you most want and post it to your Facebook page or even broadcast your gameplay live to Twitch or Ustream, so that others can spectate.
You can also upload screenshots too, to your Facebook or Twitter account. Every time you hit the share button, it saves a screengrab of whatever you are doing at the time. You don't have to be in a game either.
If you want to view your own captures on your PS4, you can do so by accessing your profile page from the top menu bar on the homescreen and selecting the folder icon underneath your profile picture. This will give you a list of the games you have stored content from. Select one of those and the videos and screengrabs will be available to view.
We'll be adding more tips and tricks in time, including the video sharing options available to you...