Sony proves you can't half-ass a set-top box with the PS Vita TV

A little while ago, Sony announced it's own low priced set-top box, the PS Vita TV, launching initially in Japan. It's priced similarly to our own Apple TV yet offering something Apple's box does not – directly – in the form of gaming. But, as the first reviews appear, it seems Sony's half-assed approach of ripping the PS Vita and sticking it on your TV doesn't make the box of our dreams. Sam Byford of The Verge writes:

If Sony had taken more time to tailor the Vita to the TV screen more effectively, this could have been a seriously disruptive product. The price is right, the hardware is competent, and the PlayStation brand and legacy should be a major advantage over competitors that have to build up gaming ecosystems from scratch. But as it stands, the Vita TV is a neat extra for existing PlayStation fans that's unlikely to convert many more.

It sounds like a missed opportunity, for sure. As a PS Vita owner myself, the idea of a cheap box that could play some of the frankly excellent games on the TV as well as accessing music and video content, does sound appealing. I like the PS Vita, but it's interface is absolutely designed for the touchscreen. Not the TV.

And this is where the Apple TV perhaps has the edge. While by no means perfect, the interface is about as TV friendly as we could hope for at this time. Distinctly Apple, yet far enough removed from iOS that it doesn't become awkward. Gaming isn't there yet though, and AirPlay is a good intermediary, but it's not the same. It requires you own a separate device.

So, another cheap set-top box comes our way, and be it because of laziness, or just plain rushing the product to market Sony has missed a huge opportunity. While the Xbox One and PlayStation 4 are now moving ever further into the realms of one-stop shops for gaming and entertainment needs, they're not for everyone. They're – at present at least – expensive, quite large, and perhaps still more for gamers. Cheaper, more casual options like the Apple TV or the PS Vita TV are more appealing to many, but our wait for the set-top box of our dreams continues it seems.

So, are we going to have to wait for Apple to do it right with the Apple TV? What would you look for in your dream set-top box? Closer to the PS4 and Xbox One or perhaps a PS Vita TV done right? I encourage to read the full review at the link below, and let me know your thoughts in the comments!

Source: The Verge

Richard Devine

Senior Editor at iMore, part time racing driver, full time British guy

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There are 9 comments. Add yours.

iSRS says:

If Apple goes the PS Vita route and does it right? I think that is what I want. iPhone games already support the resolution, add the ability to access (be it all stored on the device or downloaded on the fly) and using MFi controllers with an iOS 7 device and I think we have a winner.

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iSRS says:

Realized I started a sentence and didn't finish. Should be add the ability to access GAMES/APPS (be it all stored on the device or downloaded on the fly

Becjr says:

My dream Apple TV to be able to enrich my day-to-day life with on demand access to my calendar and reminders as well as weather forecasts and local traffic reports. It needs to be something I want to have on all the time and not just a now and then high-tech idiot box.
- Full screen Airplay with greater support for gaming apps - especially for FPSs & racing! (It sucks having a widescreen TV and seeing all the wasted space when streaming from an iOS device.) Heck, I want to play games from my iPhone/iPad that when Airplayed to my TV my iOS device becomes a controller and the game fills the TV screen.
- More animations in the "menus" and selection options with animated wallpaper(s)!
Oh, and Apple absolutely has to make getting into movies and shows faster. There is at least one too many "play" buttons to click.

BromoGT says:

Check out Metal Storm Online. I haven't played it in awhile but last time I air played it to my TV it did exactly what you are looking for. My iPhone screened turned into a cockpit, just said gauges, then I played the game completely on the screen. I agree with you. We need more games that take usage of the same idea. I would think that would be something that the game developers need to incorporate.

zdn1042 says:

Read the article from the link. And, 720p resolution, clunky interface, and compatibility issues with some Vita games, I mean really, Sony? I know that it's important not to let competitors be the first one to release a more gaming-based top box but releasing a half-baked product is even worse. So much potential wasted. See this is the difference between the present Apple and other companies. They always make sure that their product will work exactly the way they designed it to be before they bring it to the market.

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Gazoobee says:

No offence, but this article doesn't actually tell us why the PS Vita TV is "bad" in the first place, so it not only doesn't achieve the goal of the article's title, it makes little sense to ask us at the end "what we think" about it.

What we think about what? This is just a pointer to a review on another site. A review you didn't even summarise or talk about (more than merely mentioning it).

Galley says:

I love the concept of the Vita TV, but in its current state it suffers from poor execution.

BeyondtheTech says:

My brother seems proud of his PS Vita and was considering this. Good to see it's really not ready for prime-time.

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asuperstarr says:

The Apple TV is improving slowly. They may not want to give too much and save it for the rumored TV.

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