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Reception

PC World called the device an amazing invention, praising the opportunity to play Vita and PSP games on the big screen. IGN said the console “may be one of Sony’s most exciting new products and could provide a critical edge for the PS4.”

Various commentators have compared the device to set-top boxes—including media streaming devices (such as Apple TV and Chromecast) and other microconsoles, such as the Ouya.Time said the console could compete well against set-top box competitors with a quality library of games. At launch however, the game library was limited to a subset of PS Vita games, which negatively impacted early reviews.

The PlayStation TV, along with the PlayStation 4, won the 2014 Good Design Award from the Japan Institute of Design Promotion.

The PlayStation TV sold 42,172 units during its debut week of release in Japan. The PlayStation TV was heavily marketed alongside God Eater 2 which was released on the same day as the device, and placed at the top of the Japanese software sales charts for that week.

Compatibility and whitelist hack

Journalists criticized the platform’s lack of compatibility with the Vita’s overall software library. Sam Byford of The Verge commented: “Vita TV’s most egregious failure was that it failed at being a Vita. Many games’ reliance on dubious Vita features like the rear touchpad came back to haunt Sony, as vast swathes of the system’s library was rendered incompatible with a regular gaming controller. And even some games that should by rights have worked just didn’t, for whatever reason. Richard Leadbetter of Eurogamer’s Digital Foundry argued that games such as WipEout 2048 didn’t need to be blacklisted, as it only used the touchscreen for the menus and could be accessed using the DualShock 4’s touch pointer emulation: “Life as a PlayStation TV owner can be pretty frustrating – especially when a vast array of mobile Vita titles that should work just fine on the under-utilised micro-console fail to load at all, blocked by their lack of inclusion on Sony’s whitelist of approved titles.”

In 2015 and 2016, hackers found ways to overwrite the PS TV’s Whitelist to allow any Vita game to load. But while all games will load, compatibility issues persist in certain Vita games reliant on touch and motion controls. But for the most part, the Whitelist hack was well received by journalists. Kyle Orland of Ars Technica reported: “some enterprising hackers have apparently gone a long way toward fixing this problem by increasing the PlayStation TV’s software compatibility with a simple hack.” Marliella Moon of Engadget even joked about the incompatibility of a stock PS TV in her review of the Whitelist hack: “If you have a PlayStation TV collecting dust in a cabinet somewhere, this might make it useful again.”

Features

Ports on the PlayStation Vita TV

Instead of featuring a display screen, the console connects to a television via HDMI. Users can play using a DualShock 3 controller (with functionality for DualShock 4 controllers added with the 3.10 firmware update released on March 25, 2014), although due to the difference in features between the controller and the handheld, certain games are not compatible with PS Vita TV, such as those that are dependent on the system’s microphone, camera, or gyroscopic features. The device is said to be compatible with over 100 PS Vita games, as well as various digital PlayStation Portable, PlayStation, and PC Engine titles, along with a selection of PlayStation 3 titles streamed from the PlayStation Now service. The device is technically referred to by Sony as the VTE-1000 series, to distinguish it from the handheld PCH-1000/2000 series PS Vita models.

According to Muneki Shimada, Sony Director of the Second Division of Software Development, the original PCH-1000 series PlayStation Vita already includes an upscaler that supports up to 1080i resolution, however it was decided that the idea for video output for the original Vita was to be scrapped in favor for releasing the PlayStation Vita TV as a separate device for television connectivity. The in-built scaler has been removed from the PCH-2000 series PlayStation Vita model.

The console measures 6.5 cm by 10.5 cm, about the size of a pack of playing cards.

It is powered with (and ships with) the same model/type of power adapter that was used for the original PlayStation Portable.

History

Release

The system was released in Japan on November 14, 2013. The device on its own sold for 9,954 yen tax inclusive (about US$100), whilst a bundle version with an 8 GB memory card and DualShock 3 controller retailed for 14,994 yen (about US$150).

Andrew House, CEO of Sony Computer Entertainment, explains that Sony hopes to use the PS Vita TV to penetrate the Chinese gaming market, where video game consoles have previously been prohibited. The PS Vita TV was released in five other Southeast Asian countries and the special region of Hong Kong on January 16, 2014. At E3 2014, the system was announced for North America and Europe, under the name PlayStation TV, for release in Q3 2014. Final release dates for the western release were announced at Gamescom 2014.

System software update 3.15 was released on April 30, 2014, which enabled PS4 remote play functionality for the PS Vita TV. As of October 2014 the system can be used with PlayStation Network accounts originating from outside the original launch territories of Japan and Asia following the release of system software firmware version 3.30 update, which also renames the PS Vita TV system to PS TV within the system menus.

Open beta trials for PlayStation Now functionality on the PS TV began on October 14, 2014 in North America, the same day that PS TV was released there.
By the end of March, in Europe, Sony has dropped the price of PlayStation TV by 40% with the new price of €59.99. That same week the sales had increased by 1272%.

On February 29, 2016, Engadget reported that Sony has stopped shipping the PlayStation TV in Japan. Sony confirmed shipments were discontinued in Americas and Europe at the end of 2015, however will continue in Asia contrary to reports.

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