Hands-on: PlayStation TV review
During Sony's E3 2014 press conference, the company announced the latest addition to its hardware line-up, the PlayStation TV.
Already available in Japan, where it has been a huge success, the small set-top box is essentially a PS Vita without the screen. And now it's coming to Europe and the US.
While it is a small games console in essence, the device could be seen as an Apple TV or Amazon Kindle Fire TV rival. There will be access to regionalised movie and music content to be streamed through the box and it is strongly believed that media apps available on Vita - such as Netflix and YouTube, for example - will also be available to access through PlayStation TV too.
On the games side, the device will be able to play PS Vita games that do not require additional elements of the existing handheld. That means you won't be able to use features that would require a camera, touchscreen or rear touch panel. However, it is fully compatible with the PlayStation DualShock 3 controller, so if you have one of them knocking about because you own or owned a PS3, you won't need to buy another.
As well as play PS Vita and other compatible content from the online PS Store, including PSOne and PSP classic games, the PlayStation TV box has the same ability as the handheld in remote playing PS4 games. That means you can play PS4 games in a different room without needing to move your next-gen machine or buy another. And the great news is that, unlike the original Japanese released version, the new device is compatible with the PS4's DualShock 4 controller. In fact, you are advised to use one when playing PS4 games - naturally.
For US customers, the inclusion of PlayStation Now opens up further possibilities for the PlayStation TV. They will be able to play PS3 games streamed through the cloud on the tiny set-top box. That service isn't coming to Europe or the UK until 2015 however, so is less of a selling point at this time for people in those regions, but the promise is there so that will help shift boxes.
As a piece of hardware, the PlayStation TV is smaller than many rival boxes. It will certainly tuck away nicely. We would have liked to have seen a media remote though, rather than having to use the DualShock controller for everything.
It would have been nice if there was on board storage too, rather than just the Vita Memory Card slot. The additional cost for a memory card will have to, therefore, be taken into account.
Those are only minor negatives though as from our brief play with the device at E3, it's an interesting device with plenty of promise.
We can't wait to test one fully when it arrives in "the fall", but our initial impressions - which included playing a superbly smoothly running Infamous: Second Son running through the tiny machine, it's going to be a big hit.
We might also find out how much it will cost in the UK by then as Sony has only announced US and European prices, at $99 and €99 respectively. In our experience, that could translate to £89, but we'll see.