It's time to welcome the newest IP set-top on the block. Sony joined the growing club Tuesday, officially launching the PlayStation TV in North America.
While Sony Corp. (NYSE: SNE)'s new paperback-sized device is primarily a gaming machine, it also serves as a media streamer with initial support for apps, including Sony's Crackle video-on-demand (VoD) service, anime app Crunchyroll and the music concert and documentary service, Quello. The PS TV system sells for $99.99 on its own, or bundled (for a limited time) with a DualShock 3 gamepad, an 8GB memory card and the Lego Movie Videogame for $139.99. It will debut in Europe on November 14.
The PlayStation TV is built like the portable PS Vita gaming system, but without a screen, and with some additional ports. On the back of the device are power, Ethernet, HDMI and USB ports alongside the PS Vita memory-card and game slots.
But the PS TV is just as notable for what it doesn't support as for what it does. While users can download the existing Vita apps for Netflix, Hulu Plus and YouTube, none of them work today with PS TV. Sony specifically says to "stay tuned for additional entertainment content we'll be adding soon to the PS TV lineup." However, Gizmodo reports that Netflix Inc. (Nasdaq: NFLX) at least has no plans to support Sony's new streamer. Hulu LLC is apparently working with Sony to enable the Hulu Plus app, but there are no details on timing.
PS TV also doesn't support DLNA, which means it's not meant to be used as part of a whole-home media network. And the wireless specs only include support for 802.11n WiFi and Bluetooth 2.1 connectivity. Not surprisingly, the system is also not built to handle 4K video output.
What Sony may bring to the PS TV in the future is its much touted over-the-top video service. The company said in January that when the pay-TV service launches, it will be available on Sony's own connected devices. However, it's not clear how appealing the new service will be. Recent reports suggest Sony is having trouble keeping the price point down because of content licensing costs and may end up charging as much as $80 a month for the service. (See Playing Catchup With CES and Sony, Dish Hit OTT TV Pricing Wall.)
— Mari Silbey, special to Light Reading