Earlier this week at the pre-Tokyo Game Show press conference, Sony made several announcements, including a new PS Vita, but one announcement took everyone by surprise. A new product: The PS Vita TV.
The PS Vita TV is a tiny 6cm x 10cm set top box with a lot of potential. Coming out on November 14thin Japan for around $100, this little set top box could be a serious threat to the likes of Apple and Roku.
Like all normal set top boxes, the PS Vita TV will have access to streaming media services like Hulu and Netflix. Where the PS Vita TV beats the competition is in the fact that this little set top box also plays games utilizing a PlayStation DualShock 3 controller.
The Vita TV has a card slot for PS Vita games and accepts Vita memory cards. In addition, the Vita TV will be able to access the PlayStation network’s entire library of classic PSone and PSP games. Finally, the PS Vita TV can play Playstation 4 games via remote play. So if the main house TV is monopolized, the Vita TV can stream the game to another household TV.
The one downside to the device seems to be that its HDMI output maxes out at 720p, which would be mediocre at best for the streaming of next-gen games.
I’ve always been interested in the Apple TV but it never quite won me over; I always thought it was missing something. I wondered why the device couldn’t play any of the thousands of games available on the app store. At every new release of the device I thought this would be the time when they enabled apps to run on the device. Well Apple still hasn’t taken that step but it looks like Sony has. For the same price as an Apple TV, you can have access to many of the same media services AND play an occasional PS Vita game or one of over a thousand classic PSone or PSP games.
Unfortunately, the PS Vita is only being released in Japan at the moment. We’ll have to wait to see if Sony brings the device to the US and what other functionality may come to the device as it evolves.