Behold: The PS Vita TV

Why I’m Excited for the PS Vita TV

In recent announcements, Sony has made it clear that the company still stands behind its PlayStation Vita – even after the recent price cut. While a set of colorful redesigns and compact models are interesting, the company’s most stunning revelation was the set-top-like PS Vita TV.

Sadly, the Vita TV is only for Japan at the moment. The device has two distinct capabilities that are appealing. First, by using any PS3 controller, it can play PS Vita games as well as downloadable PSP games and PSOne Classics.

At the same time, the tiny (65.0 × 105.0 × 13.6 mm) and stylish unit is positioned as a Roku-like set-top box that runs Vita media apps and accepts PS3 Bluetooth remote controls. In addition to Ethernet, it will support 802.11n wireless.

At its $100 price point, it’s a strong competitor for a Roku or Apple TV.

Personally, I’ve considered such a device since taking my second PS3 out of my bedroom and over to my girlfriend’s house. Without that, I wouldn’t have a Blu-ray player there. She has a Boxee for her bedroom TV that can play back media from USB and access Netflix and YouTube, but not Amazon. (The Boxee functions, but without elegance.)

While I have a dozen computers and game consoles in my living room home theater, my bedroom, on the other hand, only has a few SD TV channels and a ten-year-old Philips DVD player that I use to play PAL DVDs. (I’m watching the Danish ‘Klovn’ box set at the moment.) I ordered a top-of-the-line Roku 2 some months ago, but returned it due to the near simultaneous announcement of the Roku 3.

I’m so excited for the PS Vita TV that I’d buy one today if it were available. Unfortunately, no one yet knows when or if it will come to the West. Also, the device maxes out at 1080i, and worse for me, only outputs audio in stereo. Although I own several PS3 controllers, I don’t own any of the expensive PS Vita memory cards. (Sony just announced a $100 64GB card for Japan.)

That said, after a year and a half of subscribing to PlayStation Plus but not owning a Vita, I have 40 Vita-compatible titles that can be downloaded at any time.

Here’s my list with PSP compatible titles noted:

  • ‘Alien Breed’
  • ‘BlazBlue Continuum Shift EXTEND’
  • ‘Blood Omen: Legacy of Kain’ (PSP)
  • ‘Castlevania Chronicles’ (PSP)
  • ‘Castlevania Symphony of the Night’ (PSP)
  • ‘Chronovolt’
  • ‘DarkStalkers Chronicle: The Chaos Tower’ (PSP)
  • ‘Disgaea 3: Absence of Detention’
  • ‘Dokuro’
  • ‘Echocrome’ (PSP)
  • ‘FF Tactics: War of the Lions’ (PSP)
  • ‘FF VI’ (PSP)
  • ‘FF VII’ (PSP)
  • ‘Foosball 2012′
  • ‘Germinator’
  • ‘God Eater Burst’ (PSP)
  • ‘Gravity Rush’
  • ‘Guacamelee!’
  • ‘Half-Minute Hero’ (PSP)
  • ‘Hot Shots Golf 2′ (PSP)
  • ‘International Track & Field’ (PSP)
  • ‘Knytt Underground’
  • ‘LittleBigPlanet’ (PSP)
  • ‘Machinarium’
  • ‘Mega Man Maverick Hunter X’ (PSP)
  • ‘Metal Slug XX’ (PSP)
  • ‘Monsters (probably) Stole My Princess’ (PSP)
  • ‘Ninja Gaiden Sigma Plus’
  • ‘Pinball Arcade’
  • ‘Plants VS Zombies’
  • ‘Retro City Rampage’
  • ‘Silent Hill’ (PSP)
  • ‘Sound Shapes’
  • ‘Star Wars Pinball’
  • ‘Street Fighter Alpha’ (PSP)
  • ‘Tekken 6′ (PSP)
  • ‘Um Jammer Lammy’ (PSP)
  • ‘Uncharted: Golden Abyss’
  • ‘WipeOut 2048′
  • ‘Zombie Tycoon II’ (PSP)

So yeah, for $100, getting a tiny streaming/download media playback device that’s instant-on/standby compatible (even for games), that also can play all of these games I already own but can’t (currently) play, is a like a wish come true. The PS Vita TV even supports two controllers for any PSOne titles that offer two-player play, such as ‘Twisted Metal 2′. That kind of functionality makes me wish that I’d had the PS Vita TV on a few recent trips.

All that, and I almost forgot one feature. The PS Vita TV will support Remote Play for the PS4 (only in stereo, it would seem). Oddly enough, this makes it even more perfect for a second TV.

Come on, Sony. Let’s get a Western version ASAP, even if I’m the only customer.

4 comments

  1. T.J. Kats

    I don’t think you would be the only one. I just recently got my vita and love it so far. I haven’t had plus as long as you but I have 12 games all free so far. I am very much hoping they bring this to the US and I could put a PS4 in my theater and use this on my living room tv and have PS4 gaming capability in both rooms.

    • It looks like both the basic $100 bundle and the $150 version that comes with a controller and memory card sold out instantly on Amazon’s Japan website. It is really staggering to see Sony making such strides with its PlayStation ecosystem.

      I hate the idea of paying for multiple set-top boxes such as cable boxes or TiVos, but this little thing seems awesome.

      • Just get the new Roku and use plex on your HTPC. With that and a copy of AnyDVD HD from slysoft and a free (for now) program called ripbotx64 or BDRebuilder (Which is the easier of the two) you can turn any BluRay and or DVD into a digital copy (when the BD’s don’t come with one) and watch them through the plex app for Roku.

        When you do have bluRays that have UV copies you can add them to VUDU which is also available on Roku. Eventually as we transition to steaming everything, you will be able to maintain a healthy library for your personal use in case your internet goes out. But thats pretty infrequent on the larger ISP’s.

  2. This is such a buy it hurts. No more moving the console to another room and access to my PSP and Vita Playstation Plus games. So much awesome. Hopefully Sony announces the NA and EU release date at their TGS Keynote.

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