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Sony has released PlayStation TV to stores throughout North America. PlayStation TV is a microconsole capable of playing hundreds of games from various PlayStation game systems.

PlayStation TV allows you to play PS Vita, PSP, and PSone games on your television. Games that use the Vita's microphone, gyroscope or camera won't work but that still leaves you with a lot of options. You can use the DualShock 3 or DualShock 4 controller to play them.

"Of course PS TV plays entertainment content, including popular movies and TV shows that can be downloaded from PlayStation Store," said Sony's Don Mesa on PlayStation.Blog. "PS TV will also launch with video streaming apps Crackle, Crunchyroll and Qello, and stay tuned for additional entertainment content we’ll be adding soon to the PS TV lineup."

PlayStation TV also supports Remote Play for PS4. This means that a television with a PS TV attached will be able to play games on a PS4 in another room. It's a handy feature in case your main gaming TV is being used by someone else.

PS3 titles are accessible on PS TV as well thanks to PlayStation Now. PS Now allows customers to rent over 150 PS3 games and then stream them to various devices. The service has been in open beta on PS3 and PS4 for awhile now. Today the beta will be available on PS TV and Vita as well. If you rent a PS Now title on one device, you'll be able to continue playing it on another platform. The quality of this service depends on your Internet connection, though. Sony recommends a broadband connection of at least 5Mbps for optimal performance.

PlayStation TV can be purchased by itself for $99. The holiday bundle with a DualShock 3 controller, 8GB memory card and voucher for The Lego Movie video game will be available for a limited time at $139.99.

Some view the PS TV as a sort of retreat from the handheld market. The device arguably makes the Vita, priced at $199, less desirable. The Vita's only real advantages over the PS TV are the support of certain titles that use its unique hardware features and its portability.

Still, judged on its own merits, the PS TV seems like a useful device. There are gamers out there who are interested in the Vita's library but weren't willing to spend $200 for the handheld. Others want a game system for a second television in their home but don't want to splurge on a PS3 or PS4. Another group wants a device to stream television shows and movies. The PS TV allows Sony to make inroads with all these groups. Maybe the device hurts Sony's standing in the portable market but it allows them to compete with microconsoles from companies like Amazon and Apple.
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