Apple TV vs. PlayStation TV: Which is worth your $99?

Sony unveiled the PlayStation TV on Monday at E3, which is essentially a rebranded version of the PSVita TV that is currently available in Japan. The set-top box will be available this fall for $99.99, which essentially matches the $99 price of the Apple TV. They are similar in some ways, and different in others. So which one should you buy? We’re breaking it down for you to help you decide.

Hardware

Before we begin talking about hardware, it’s worth noting that the Apple TV hasn’t received a major hardware refresh in over 2 years, and the PlayStation TV is a relatively new product, launching in Japan just last fall. With that being said, both are small enough to fit in the hand, however the PlayStation TV is slightly smaller and is almost 3 times lighter than the .6 pound Apple TV, coming in at .24 pound. Since the hardware will be sitting on your TV stand most of the time, this shouldn’t be something to be too concerned about, as both are relatively small.

When considering technical specifications, the PlayStation TV has the edge over the Apple TV in many areas and will be rocking a quad-core ARM Cortex -A9 core, versus the Apple TV’s single-core A5 chip. While the Apple TV is limited to streaming only, the PlayStation TV will support streaming and will ship equipped with 1 GB of internal storage, with the ability to add additional storage via the PlayStation Vita card slot to store music, videos, and games. One area the PlayStation TV falls short is in video and audio output, with a lack of 1080p and surround sound audio, which is a major setback for a device designed primarily for gaming. On the other hand, the Apple TV is able to output both.

Media Consumption

The Apple TV has much more Media Content available than what’s currently announced for the PlayStation TV.

The Apple TV has much broader capabilities when it comes to media consumption, with access to the iTunes Store, Netflix, Hulu Plus, HBO Go, YouTube, and a wide variety of other content providers. It also has the ability to receive AirPlay streams, allowing you to view photos and videos, as well as stream music, from many iOS and Mac OS X apps. Currently, Sony has only made it clear that the PlayStation TV will have access to its less-populated (vs. Apple’s iTunes Store) PlayStation Store and Music Unlimited services. According to its website, there will be “other entertainment apps,” though none have been announced as of writing this post. It’s unlikely that the PlayStation TV will initially launch with as many options as the Apple TV, though it is likely to receive more options (such as Netfilix) in the months preceding or following its release. If media consumption will be your primary use out of these devices, you definitely can’t go wrong with the Apple TV at this point.

Gaming

The DUALSHOCK 3 (left) and DUALSHOCK 4 (right) controllers make for a more refined gaming experience on the PlayStation TV.

Both the PlayStation TV and Apple TV support gaming of some kind. Obviously, the PlayStation TV is designed for gaming more than the Apple TV. For starters, the PlayStation TV will be compatible with the DUALSHOCK 3 and DUALSHOCK 4 controllers and have access to a wide variety of PlayStation Vita, PlayStation 1, PlayStation 2, and PlayStation 3 games through the PlayStation Now streaming service (which goes into beta on July 31st). It can also act as an accessory to your PS4 (although having a PS4 is not required to use other PlayStation TV features), allowing you to pick up where you left off in another room via the PlayStation TV. On the other hand, the Apple TV makes use of iOS devices as controllers via AirPlay, allowing you to play games available in the app store on the big screen. The PlayStation TV is most likely the obvious winner in the gaming department, but if you’re not a heavy gamer, iOS games may be enough for you.

Conclusion

The PlayStation TV is an interesting piece of hardware. It can essentially be used as a cheaper version of the PS3, or as an extension to the PS4. But is it worth it when compared to the Apple TV? Well, that comes down to personal preference. If you happen to already own a PS3, you essentially already have all the functionality of the PlayStation TV, and I can’t see a reason to pick one up (unless you wanted a second, cheaper console in another room). If you’re a hardcore gamer and have a PS4, a PlayStation TV might be a nice accessory to have if you’d like to pick up where you left off in another room. If media consumption is your primary concern and you’re okay with playing casual games (or if you’re not interesting in gaming at all), the Apple TV is probably the right choice for you. If you still can’t decide which is right for you, you may be better off holding out and waiting for a refresh of the Apple TV, which has been heavily rumored for release over the past few months.

You can pick up the Apple TV for $99 on Apple’s website here.
You can pre-order the PlayStation TV for $99.99 on Amazon here.
You can pre-order the PlayStation TV DUALSHOCK 3 bundle (which includes a DUALSHOCK 3 controller, 8 GB memory card, and digital download of The Lego Movie) for $139.99 on Amazon here.

Which device would you rather pick up? Let us know which one and why in the comments down below!

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