Thursday, October 30, 2014

Playstation TV


- $100 at amazon.
- It's tiny.
- Stuck my old 4GB vita memory card in there and tried out Thomas was Alone (local native vita game). Worked fine.
- Paired up with my dualshock 4 without issue. This means no more compromises as far as controls go when streaming from the ps4.
- 720p/1080i max resolution so it seems a bit comically low res for a streaming box. Everything is gigantic on 720p in the menus. In game it's not so bad.
- Streaming Shadow of Mordor over gigabit ethernet on both ends. It's about as smooth as you can hope for but for a game like this I think it's very sensitive to input lag. I'm not sure why but the input lag feels worse than the vita. Maybe it's the added extra ms lag that happens when going through a receiver and to an HDTV. I'll try it on a different TV later tonight when I move it to it's permanent home. At least it looks and sounds good though.
- Tried velocity 2X for a bit over streaming and it felt quite a bit better though the input lag is still noticeable but not nearly as bad.
- There are barely any apps right now, not even netflix. I think there are like five and I only recognized crunchy roll.

UPDATE 1: 
- I power cycled all my network equipment and switches just in case.
- FYI, I did update the firmware to latest (first thing I did after initial setup).
- There are some framerate issues. I'm not sure if it's just the bigger screen so it's more noticeable or because the client is rendering out to 720p vs whatever the vita screen resolution is but it's quite noticeable. Think chromecast when casting a tab (but not quite that bad but you get the idea). I have resolution set on auto so I need to double check to see if it's using 720p. I'll try forcing 1080i and even 480p later tonight to see if that makes a difference.
- The input lag feels closer to say 80-100ms. < 40ms = local for me and > 130ms = modern hdtv's NOT on game mode. So it's definitely noticeable but depending on the game it has a different impact. I played some Tomb Raider definitive edition and it was pretty playable except you have a bit less time to react to QTEs. TD on cod ghosts was a bit of a mess. The reduced framerate makes aiming a bit jerky combined with the increased input lag makes this a pretty horrible experience.
- I think it supports up to 2 controllers. 
- It has 1 GB of internal storage but as soon as I popped in the 4 GB vita memory card it basically disables the internal memory. So you can only use one or the other but not both.

Yeah, not sure who this device is targeted for. If the streaming performance was better I would probably pick up a few more to sprinkle around the house. If you want to play vita games then you really should just get a vita which has full app support. Right now I can't really recommend this little box for anything really. Having full dualshock 4 support is rather awesome though. I have my fingers crossed that maybe forcing 480p output will improve things overall. I'll trade resolution any day if I can smooth out the framerate and responsiveness.

What is odd thinking back to when I tried sniper elite 2 on playstation now during closed beta using the ps4 as the client THAT experience felt better than streaming locally to the ps tv. It almost feels like the ps tv doesn't have enough juice to be a proper client at the given output resolution. I'll also test the ps tv on wifi just for completeness though I don't see how wifi is going to beat out gigabit ethernet.

interesting read:
http://www.eurogamer.net/articles/digitalfoundry-2014-hands-on-with-playstation-tv-remote-play
Here's the interesting aspect though - re-running the latency test to measure the amount of time between the same frame being rendered on PS4 and PlayStation TV still produces a lacklustre six-frame deficit: 100ms. The difference is that the lurches in response are significantly reduced. Moving from a wireless to a wired connection simply gives us the fastest speed possible from the hardware and consistency in the transmission and reception of data.
HAH! My off the cuff latency spidey senses are working well. They measured 100ms.

UPDATE 2:
- Forced it to 480p. No real noticeable difference in feel except things are uglier.
- Tried out last of us hd and it was ok. These 3rd person action games are definitely more forgiving of the lag. I went back and tried some more tomb raider at 480p. Verdict is just leave it at automatic (720p).
- Tried out Killzone mercenaries. It plays well but with the graphics blown up it looks like a low res ps3 game that was up res'd to 720p with a lot of aliasing issues. it's not pretty but very playable.

Yeah, I'm tempted to box this thing up and return it. I might keep it in hopes that after a few firmware updates the streaming gets better but I'm not hopeful. 

Very disappointed. Maybe this is for people who are less sensitive to input lag and slightly jumpy framerates but apparently I'm not one of those people.

I'll do one last test when I move it downstairs. I know the onkyo receiver I have it hooked up to while testing does the upresing to 1080p. I'll be curious to see how it is on my yamaha receiver which will pass through the 720p to the tv.

UPDATE 3:
NOT Recommended.  Tested it downstairs in it's final location.  No difference.

UPDATE 4/24/2015:
- After the latest firmware update there is a new option on the client settings (ps tv or vita) to set high framerate.  This really smooths things out and removes all the micro stutters.  It's a lot better but that input lag is still present.  It's a step in the right direction though.

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