Today, seemingly out of nowhere and completely unexpected, Sony announced a brand new piece of hardware joining the PlayStation family, the PSVita TV. The card deck sized console will be released this October for about a hundred bucks in Japan and will play PSVita cards, as well as PSP and PSone digital downloads on your TV using a DualShock 3 controller. Additionally, you'll be able to stream movies and TV shows via services like Hulu, making the PSVita TV extremely Apple TV like for around the same price. It will of course also have a browser and chat services for connecting with your friends and play games, something which Apple's device does not.
Making this an even better proposition, PlayStation 4 games will also be able to run on the PSVita TV via remote play over a network in your home. So if your PS4 is downstairs and you have a TV upstairs, you'll can just bring your controller instead of the whole PS4 and play in another room. A regular Vita will also be able to link to the Vita TV for co-op or versus play in multiplayer games.
Effectively, Sony is releasing a new budget console with a library of around 1300 titles available at launch. It's competitively priced and doubles as a set top box. For a hundred bucks, Sony is going to sell a ton of these bad boys. The ability to play some of the great Vita titles like Persona 4 Golden on a full sized TV is also an appealing prospect.
The PSVita TV will ship with 802.11b/g/n WiFi and Bluetooth connectivity. It has a memory card slot and features 1GB of built in storage, just like the new Vita model announced today. It will support 720p, 1080i and 480p outputs via HDMI.
While the lack of 1080p output is a little disappointing, I'm definitely going to buy one. I suspect Sony is counting on a lot of people buying one too. This device will be great for both people who just want a device for watching media on their TV as well as parents who want a low price console for their kids with a great established library. Nothing like this has really been done before in the industry, and it's a brilliant and future thinking move on Sony's part. I wouldn't be surprised if streaming PS2 and PS3 games via Gaikai is added to the service next year, making it an even better investment as well as a perfect test bed for Sony as a game streaming box.
The PSVita TV is the console that I didn't even know I wanted, and Sony deserves some props for good idea. I usually play my PSVita at home, as I'm not much of a portable gamer. I get sick if I game on transit and I just don't have a whole lot of time to play games when I'm out of the house, so being able to play those games more comfortably and take advantages of the other services the device offers seems like a no brainer to me. What do you guys think? Will you buy a PSVita TV if/when it's released in other markets?