Sony's Playstation Now streaming service lets gamers play Playstation 3 games without owning a Playstation 3. Instead, the games run on Sony's servers and stream down to your local client.
The service (which is still in beta) isn't quite what I'd call a bona fide hit yet, but it seems to be moving in a positive direction. Back in August I complained about game pricing and while prices have improved slightly (specifically 4 hour rentals have dropped from $2.99 to $1.99) there's still a lot of work to be done there. I still think a monthly 'all you can eat' subscription makes the most sense for the service.
But where Playstation Now has seen notable improvements is in where you can access it. It was originally available on the Playstation 4, but since hitting open beta Sony has added support for the Playstation 3 (the closed beta was always available on the PS3), Playstation Vita, Playstation TV and Sony TVs.
Having Playstation Now on TVs seems like a big step. When you take the cost of hardware (well, aside from the cost of a controller) out of the equation, a price of $14.99 for a 90 day rental feels more palatable.
Now Sony is taking another big step and bringing Playstation Now to a competing company's televisions. Earlier this week Sony and Samsung announced that Playstation Now will be coming to Samsung's smart TVs in the first half of 2015. Playstation Now will appear as an app in Samsung's Smart Hub.
You'll have to purchase a Playstation 3 controller to take advantage of the service, but once you've done that you get the full Playstation 3 experience, including Trophies and multiplayer gaming, on your Samsung TV.
Of course as with any game streaming service, you'll need a solid broadband connection to get the best experience. In their FAQ Sony recommends a 'steady 5-12 Mbps' connection. I'll add that I've had much better luck with a wired connection than I have over wireless, but your results may vary.
I really like the idea of Playstation Now, though as mentioned I'd like to see them address the pricing model. It'd also be nice to see them bring games from earlier Playstation hardware to the service. Having the service available on Samsung TVs will hopefully lead to more customers and from there, to Sony enhancing the service.