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Play on TV Adaptor (Nyko for PSP)

By Michael Palisano

Nykoís Play On TV adaptor allows you to view PSP games and movies on your television set. The device clips onto your PSP and RCA cables connect to your television. Once connected, you can set the screen to various levels of brightness and contrast, and hopefully make a decent viewing experience. The deviceís technology is relatively simple, but the results arenít that great. So is it worth the money and time, or is this just a cheap gimmick? Read on and find out.

One of the main criticisms players have with the advent of the UMD format was the lack of a method to play the films and movies on a larger screen. Limiting the format to strictly PSP viewing has some advantages. The consoleís screen is bright and crisp, but even with itís large (for a handheld) design, staring at it for an extended period usually brings on some pretty severe eye-strain. This is particularly noticeable with movies, which require a passive viewing and highlight the shortcomings of this system. Until now, thereís been no way of connecting the PSP to a television or using the UMD discs in anything other then a PSP. This definitely limited the formatís potential is probably a key reason why it hasnít taken off. Accessory providers Nyko have stepped into this seemingly impossible breach with a clever device that snaps onto your PSP. Labeled rather dryly, the Play on TV Adaptor is a clam-shaped device that clips onto your system.

You can hook the device in more securely by using the two screws on the back of the PSP. After doing this, you can connect two shorter cords to the PSPís power and audio-jacks. Once connected, it uses a system of mirrors and lenses to transmit the picture from the PSPís screen to your set via a set of attached RCA cables. Fortunately, it doesnít block any of the trigger, face or, control buttons, so you can play unencumbered without having to worry about the adaptor getting in your way. Unfortunately, a black bar at the bottom of the device covers the lower buttons, making it difficult to get to the select, start and other buttons on the lower cross bar. The good news is that since the device is entirely outside of the PSP, you donít have to unscrew your PSP and mess around with its internals. Itís relatively easy to attach and remove so you wonít have to worry about scratching your screen unless you are careless. The device seems to work as advertised, though its clunky nature adds some weight and heft to the PSP. This makes playing a bit awkward, especially since you have to worry about both the power cord and RCA cables getting tangled up together. The extra size of the device also lessens the PSPís balance, making it feel heavier in your hand and less agile than it is normally.

Once this is completed, you flick the on-off switch on the back of the adaptor, as well as the PSPís power and itís off to entertainment on the big screen. The video-out shows up on your screen in a letterboxed format that accurately mimics the PSPís 16:9 cinematic screen-ratio. You can, however, see an annoying brighter border surrounding the image, and some areas of the images seem like theyíre darker than others. This inconsistency makes for a distracting experience that isnít the greatest. Even watching a short-length cartoon on the device is annoying, and using it for anything that requires an extended time investment seems almost cruel. This cannot be changed, but you can adjust the brightness using the PSPís buttons to create different levels of brightness. Depending on which one you use, the screen image will either become very bright and blurry or very dark and blurry. Youíll probably need to play around with both your TV and PSP settings for awhile before you come across a good configuration that allows you to see the screens without excessive blurring or ghosts.

However, even at its best, the projected image on your television doesnít come close to matching the crispness or clarity youíd expect it to. The image degradation that occurs by using this device is severe. This is particularly true with dark games and movies, which appear muddy and blurry no matter what configuration youíre using. Brighter films and games, such as anime or arcade classics seem to work much better, though some of the sports and racing games suffered from ghosting and image degradation. The overall effect is somewhat underwhelming, particularly at the lower brightness settings, where the edges of the screen tend to fade off. This is a result of the non-direct feed video, and while itís decent for a projection it really doesnít do much to impress you. Since you canít change the size of the image, it makes for a somewhat limited device that only performs a single function. The mirror and lens technology definitely doesnít do the PSP justice, and makes the images seem blurry and low-resolution. The good news is that the sound quality is excellent, thanks to the direct connection, which allows you to hear the soundtrack in full stereo at the best. While it doesnít completely make up for the poor image quality, it helps to mitigate the poor image quality somewhat.

For such an expensive device, youíd think its overall quality would be higher, but sadly this isnít the case. Retailing for almost twice the price of a PSP game, the smoke and mirrors technology causes significant image quality degradation that makes many games unwatchable. Movies fare a bit better, though this is only due to their inherent passive nature. While the Play on TV adaptor does indeed work as advertised, it doesnít work that well. This is a disappointing hardware attachment that most players are probably better off without. While the performance was decent, we recommend just holding out until an official, or at least direct-feed device comes out.  

Grade: C-

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