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New PS Vita vs. Vita TV

A tale of three Vitas

Sony has revealed two new models of its PlayStation Vita handheld: a slimmer handheld with an LCD screen, and a set-top box that lets you experience Vita content on your TV. If you haven't picked up a Vita yet, this may be the time to start looking. But make sure you get the right one for your needs.

First, a word of warning: At present, neither the slim Vita nor the Vita TV has been confirmed for release in the West, but Sony has seldom withheld its consoles from North American and European shores in the past. Even if the devices do not arrive right away, they will (probably) come at some point.

New PS Vita

The redesigned Vita handheld does not have a special name, but it's not difficult to tell it apart from the current Vita model. The new system is 15 percent lighter and 20 percent thinner than its predecessor and contains 1 GB of internal memory (the current Vita has none).

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These features come at a price, however: Instead of the current Vita's razor-sharp, 5-inch OLED screen, the new Vita will have a 5-inch, standard LCD screen. In addition, the system will only be available in a Wi-Fi model, as opposed to the current Vita, which comes in both Wi-Fi and 3G flavors.

While the current Vita is always black, outside of special bundles, the new Vita will offer pink, yellow, gray, white and blue models, too. In Japan, the system will cost the equivalent of $190, so expect the device to retail for somewhere between $150 and $200 if and when it comes stateside.

Vita TV

The Vita redesign is conservative as far as system updates go, but the Vita TV represents a different beast entirely. The Vita TV is not a handheld system at all, but rather a lightweight console that requires a TV.

The Vita TV is only about 2.5 inches in width and 4 inches tall, and will retail in Japan for the equivalent of $100. Rather than competing with handhelds like the 3DS or full-fledged consoles like the Xbox One, the Vita TV seems to be taking square aim at lightweight consoles like the Ouya and, to a lesser extent, streaming video boxes like the Roku.

The Vita TV allows users to play Vita games, along with downloadable PSP and PSOne titles, just like the Vita handheld does. Users will control the device with an included PS3 DualShock wireless controller.

However, not every Vita title will be compatible with Vita TV, at least at the outset. While popular titles like "Dragon's Crown" and "Persona 4" are present and accounted for, other hits like "Uncharted: Golden Abyss" and "Assassin's Creed: Liberation" are strangely absent.

The main draw of the device appears to be its streaming capabilities, which will include mainstays Netflix and Hulu, as well as Sony's Music Unlimited and Video Unlimited services. While the device cannot deliver a full 1080p output, it can function at any resolution up to and including 1080i.