Sony Enters World of Streaming Video with Playstation TV

Sony Streaming Playstation TVE3 2014 saw Sony’s latest attempt to keep consumers firmly invested in its products, with the North American release of the company’s new set-top box, PlayStation TV. The box, which will work in conjunction with PlayStation 4, has already been launched in Japan as PS Vita TV. In addition to streaming video, PlayStation TV will allow users to play PS4 games on multiple televisions in a house, regardless of which set the console is connected to. The PlayStation TV will cost $99 for customers in the U.S. and Canada. For $40 more, customers will be allowed to add a PlayStation DualShock 3 controller, an HDMI cable, an 8GB memory card and a voucher for “The Lego Movie” game.

A Streaming Video Contender

While customers in Japan have been able to stream video content using PS Vita TV since the device’s release in that country last year, the release of the PS TV for the North American market will bring Sony fully in competition with the big names in video streaming, including Google, Apple and Amazon. The PS TV will allow users to stream video from Hulu and other services, just as they can via Chromecast, Apple TV, Amazon Fire TV and other set-top boxes for video streaming. Sony has also announced its intention to create original content for the PS 4, so it can be assumed that this original content will also be available for streaming via the PS TV.

Despite the new set-top box’s video streaming capabilities, Sony is prioritizing a focus on the device’s gaming capabilities. The PS TV is expected to play most of the games already available for the PS Vita. At launch, the new device is expected to offer users access to more than 1,000 games.

Set-Top Boxes Gaining Ground

If one thing is clear, it’s that set-top boxes are a big business, and the release of the PS TV for the North American market signals Sony’s desire to get a slice of the streaming content pie. Apple’s set-top streaming device, Apple TV, raked in more than $1 billion in revenue for the company in 2013 — since 2007, the company has sold more than 28 million devices, for a total cumulative return of about $3.5 billion. The recent sharp uptick in profits from the sale and use of Apple TV devices will cause the company to take the device more seriously — it is, after all, the most popular product in Apple’s current Set-Top Boxlineup. Apple is reputedly working on a new version of the Apple TV that will include a dedicated app store and gaming support.

Amazon also joined the set-top streaming business earlier this year with Fire TV, the first such device to include dedicated support for video games, although the games are somewhat lacking in quality.

Sony has announced its intention to take the world of streaming video with the North American release of its set-top box, PlayStation TV. Although it will appeal mostly to gamers at launch, the device will also allow users to stream video from services like Hulu. With time, the PS TV could challenge industry dominators like Apple and Amazon.