While many will be buying the new PlayStation 4 this holiday season for video games it shouldn't be overlooked that both the PS4 and upcoming Xbox One offer much more. The Xbox One is still a few days away but until then I have had my hands on a brand new PS4 and I'd like to share the entertainment options, besides video games, someone can find on their new system.
After years both of the previous consoles slowly changed and adapted to the users using them. Expensive video game machines were no longer going to cut it without a few other features to entice customers to keep buying new consoles and using their current ones. Soon each consoles online menus became packed with apps allowing a whole host of streaming content including movies, music, sports, and more. Now that we've moved onto a new generation video games are again not the full focus and each machine hopes to keep users stuck in their seats instead of juggling inputs and remotes to get their entertainment needs.
I purchased my PS4 on a whim, just past midnight Friday morning, after being somewhat shocked that Amazon had any for sale. I've only had the consoles since Saturday morning and since then have had some time with both the games side (I grabbed Battlefield 4 and Need For Speed: Rivals) I began digging into the entertainment apps.
Since announcing the system Sony has focused almost exclusively on the games coming out for their new console. After Microsoft spent just a bit too much time talking about TV Sony wisely struck at the opportunity and until the console's release I hadn't heard much about their other offerings. What is available currently at launch are the basics anyone may expect out of a modern video game console but isn't something that will blow you away.
Among the main apps are Netflix, Amazon Prime, Hulu Plus, and Redbox. Like the other consoles these all still require their usual monthly memberships but run much quickly and more smoothly. I had been using the Xbox 360 as my Netflix hub, shortly moved over to PS3's, before finalizing on the Ruku for speed. My priority has always been to quickly browse through Netflix's suggestions and recently added and on the older systems this would sometimes take time to load. Now beefed up PS4 can turn on an app within seconds wasting less time between me and what I want to watch.
Another feature is the ability to keep two apps at once. This includes a video game (though you can't have two video games running at once) which allows you to pause and switch right out of your game and navigate the menu into whichever entertainment option you want.
Other apps include Crackle, Crunchyroll, NBA Game Time, NHL GameCenter, and a few others for a total of 13. Some missing apps like Youtube will be coming later according to Sony. Also included is Sony's subscription music streaming service and a web browser.
While the PS4 doesn't doesn't set new standards in how I'll consume my entertainment is does give me the best option so far. The ability to just press one button and be taken to the main system menu in order to watch a movie, and then easily switch right back to pick up where I left off, gives me more control over what I'm watching and when.
Later this week I'll be getting an Xbox One as well so look for a write up of what the Xbox will be offering at launch including their much talked about TV offerings.