Vita TV Review: Is it worth the $100 Price tag?

The Vita TV also known as the PlayStation TV in the west. Is it worth it? A lot depends on what your expecting to get from it, and if you already have a Vita. Let’s break it down.

Design:

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It’s a small little black box, about the same size and weight as a deck of playing cards. Has only the basics and that’s it. HDMI output, Ethernet input, Vita Memory Card slot, Vita game card Slot and a USB port to charge controllers.

I have it placed on my TV stand and I barely notice it, and I think that’s great. Over the weekend I wanted to show my friend Deception IV: Blood Ties and I could easily pop it into my pocket and take it over to his house to connect to his 55” TV.

Presentation:

So let’s first look at the numbers then talk about what that really means to the player. The box projects at 1080i, and 2.0 stereo sound. Personally I think the sound is the biggest loss, but completely understandable, these are Vita or older games being played on this, none of them were made for the home theater surround sound experience.

Many people these days are obsessed that the magic number of 1080p… I wont go into my feeling on this, but say most game including the amazing looking Last of US on PS3 was at 720p. Most games on Xbox 360 and PS3 were and never went above 720p and it was fine. The Vita is a much less powerful device and it does what it needs to fine.

What the Vita TV (PlayStation TV) does is takes the image that’s on the Vita, and puts it on your TV. That’s it. Nothing Fancy, so if you were ok with the quality of the image of the game on you Vita, then you’ll be fine with it on the big screen. The quality that is in the Vita, and the TV version look comparable. I have noticed that older games look more upscaled, games like Persona 4: Golden, while new games like Killzone Mercenaries looks awesome.

Games and Touch Functionality:

So it can play 700 games right now, this includes about 80% of Vita games, all PSP & PlayStation One games that are on the PSN store, and some PS Mobile games like Chaos Rings.

The Vita games that aren’t touch oriented exclusively like Persona 4, Killzone, Walking Dead, and so on work fine on the Vita TV, while games like Tearaway, that are all about the Vita specific controls can’t be played.

Considering most games that come out on the Vita have alternative controls for the touch functions anyways, that means there are a ton of games to choose from, especially if you’re an JRPG fan.

As for Touch Funtionality… so you can use the Dual Shock 3 control, by clicking the L3 or R3 buttons, and it will put these Mickey Mouse looking hands on the screen to poke things. But all the quickness of the touch screen is gone. You can us the Dual Shock 4 Controller, but the touch pad is only a slight improvement from the DS3 option but comes up with the same results.

Honestly this is where the product shows it’s rough edges. And must be thought of as what do you want this to play, is it non touchy Vita games, old PSP games or older, cause if so this wont be an issue at all. But a Game like SENRAN KAGURA SHINOVI VERSUS where most of the game has nothing to do with touch screen stuff for it’s a brawler, lacks when it comes to touch and will block you from getting a trophy in the changing room cause of it.

Controllers:

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You can use both the Dual Shock 3 and Dual Shock 4. I attached both and been switching back and forth as batteries die, and haven’t really decided which is better, cause the touch aspect for both as terrible, it really comes down to which do you like better and if your going to be doing things like remote play with it.

I should note that all motion controls for both controllers is lost, and I’m not totally sure why, cuase the Vita itself had motion capabilities.

Remote Play:

As for Remote Play, I have mine connected by Wi-Fi, but I have my Vita TV and PS4 connected to the same TV so I’m not going to use this other then for Testing. The quality is definitely upscaled, but again looks just like it did on the Vita, kind of bad. I will blame my connection, but I do as with the Vita experience slight input delays and screen tearing.   And still can’t Remote play things like the Blu-Ray Player, or Netflix.

Video/Streaming Services and Apps:

So first off at Launch it only has Crunchyroll to speak of or the videos you bought off the PSN. So if you’re wanting this to be the PlayStation streaming device for your living room… keep looking. I bet it will get Hulu, Netflix, and hopefully HBO Go at some point, but not yet. And again it is in 1080i, which most those services are stream in full HD, so if you have another option I’d recommend using that for your streaming needs instead.

But the cool thing is it still is a Vita, and if you find a Video on the net you want to watch, instead of being like the PS4 and just telling you it can’t play them, it will simply download them.

Oh, and it can play your music, which still lacks on the PS4.

UI:

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It’s exactly the same as the Vita, so it’s comfortable to use, but being done so by a controller takes a few minutes to get used to but nothing special. But, you can still change each background to whatever image you want, use folders, and themes.

So is it Worth It:

A lot depends on what your buying it for. I bought it cause I rarely play my Vita at home when I have my sexy flat screen to use instead. Also when going hardcore into a game on the Vita, pretty much means my battery will die just when I’m about to get somewhere good, and the Vita TV doesn’t have this problem. And finally a lot of the games I play are JRPGs, the monster hunter style games, and visual novel puzzle games like Dangan Ronpa, which all work wonderfully on the Vita TV.

I also think it will be great to bring along on business trips or vacation. It’s light, easy to travel, and can get hooked up to any HDMI TV easily. And most importantly doesn’t run out of batteries.

If I was looking for a second PS4, or a Video streaming device then I wouldn’t have gotten it at launch, and would have waited till the streaming Apps have updated.

Finally, owning a Vita and a Vita TV makes sense, if I only owned this I’d be missing out on some of the aspects of the Vita that really make it a stand out device. And games like Walking Dead would remain to be a frustration experience instead of what it is on the Vita an amazing blend of touch controls and actual controls.

I really wish it didn’t use the damn Vita memory cards, instead had some real internal memory, and that the Dual Shock 4 touch pad worked better with it.  But other then that it works as expected, and suits my needs great.

Score Title 4 1:2 Star

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2 thoughts on “Vita TV Review: Is it worth the $100 Price tag?

    • Yeah it really comes down to why your buying it. If it’s for games, then it could be worth it. But if I didn’t have a vita I’d feel left out. Walking dead works great on the vita and is compatible but I can’t figure out why I’d care to play it on my tv and loose the touch stuff.

      I been playing persona 4 and a Japanese game ‘time travelers’ on it and it’s been great to have them on the big screen. Dangan ronpa on the other hand felt strange to me.

      But most games that aren’t supported aren’t great games in the first place, uncharted was a touch screen disaster. But it is sad games like tearaway don’t work on it, at the same time I wouldn’t want it on my tv in its current form. Ps4 version interest me.

      Also I’m a big supporter of buying things new, but wouldn’t be surprised if there’s a good Black Friday on it. Amazon reviews are a good mix and there’s bound to be a big discount coming along.

      Like

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