The PlayStation Plus Video Pass service was launched in Poland in April this year and is a kind of experiment of the European branch of Sony. It is free as long as we use the PS + subscription. Just download the additional app from PlayStation Store. I used it on a PlayStation 5 console and I have to admit that the speed was very satisfactory … for a time. As Nick Maguire, vice president of Sony Interactive Europe, recalls, the service is currently only available in Poland due to the number of players and loyal fans of the brand. Moreover, as a nation, we have very encouraging VOD viewership results. Clearly, Poles love this form of spending time, and Netflix, HBO GO or Canal + are very eagerly and regularly fired with us.
PlayStation Plus Video Pass – what does it look like now?
The service is structured in a similar way, in terms of the user interface, to the most popular VOD applications on the market. At the top you will find a large advertisement, on the left side a small menu divided into “home page”, “movies” and “series”. There are also settings in which there is an interesting tab called “frequently asked questions”. We can read there that the PS Video Pass offer is updated quarterly. Importantly, we cannot use the service on mobile devices and it is not possible to download materials to the console’s hard drive. Everything is available only as part of streaming. Should the application stop working properly for some reason, in the options you will even find a “restart” function that simply turns Video Pass off and on again.
As far as technical parameters are concerned, the played materials are available at the maximum resolution of 1080p. Unfortunately, this 4K and support for HDR as well as Dolby Vision and Dolby Atmos technologies are missing, which at the start of PlayStation Video Plus pushes away users who are used to Netflix or the Rakuten library. After selecting any movie or series, the description, genre and length appear before turning it on. When we click “play”, we immediately go to the selected material. We can choose whether we want audio in Polish or English (there are two formats to choose from – stereo and 5.1) and which subtitles to run. In this respect, too, we only see two languages that we could certainly expect.
The player itself is not complicated at all, but it lacks some functionality. When watching a movie or series, we can rewind it using the upper bumpers on the controller, but only by a certain speed – x2, x4, x8 and so on, up to x64. Unfortunately, at the moment of scrolling, we do not have any preview of the selected frame, and worse, we do not see a smoothly accelerating play bar. Therefore, it is impossible to successfully hit the point that we care about and we have to maneuver a bit “at random”. It’s not particularly comfortable. Fortunately, the service is intended only to make up for some backlogs in movies or series. The library is quite interesting, although very modest. At this point, you will watch, among others: Spider-Man: Far From Home, Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, Resident Evil: Afterlife, Spider-Man: Universum, Ghostbusters, Jumanji: Jungle Adventure, Spider-Man: Homecoming, Fantasy Island or Guys in Blacks, both the last International and the good three. Only 26 films in total, a detailed list of which is difficult to find on the Internet.
The series includes productions signed with the Marvel logo, such as Iron Man, X-Men or Blade. There is no shortage of Outsiders, Startup, Masters of Sex, Into the Dark, Mr. Mercedes, SWAT, The Shield or The Oath. In total, 21 series are available to viewers, of which only some have two or three seasons available. Here again I have to stick to the construction of the Content Browser, because the seasons are not tied to one title, so if we want to watch episodes from a new series, we have to switch to a completely new tab. Like a trifle, but not very intuitive. There are also some problems with the functioning of the service itself – some movies or series cache for eternity, and sometimes PlayStation Video Pass just refuses to obey and … will not turn on. There can be absolutely no such situations.
PlayStation Video Pass – is it even worth the bother?
You know, opinions will be divided here. On the one hand, it is a service available as part of the PlayStation Plus subscription, for which you do not pay anything extra. This is a big advantage, because I wouldn’t pay a penny for so many mistakes and mishaps. On the other hand, the available library of movies or series is very poor, and the interface itself is very underdeveloped, but fortunately as trivial to use as possible. What’s worse, you will not see support for Dolby Vision or Dolby Atmos here, and you can watch the materials at a maximum resolution of 1080p. If I wanted to catch up with Spider-Man or Once upon a time in Hollywood, and these films would not be on Netlix or HBO GO, which I pay for, then maybe I would be tempted to use the PlayStation Video Pass. But in its present form, it is still quite uninviting.
The worst thing is that quite often there are problems with the normal operation of this service, because it may not turn on at some point. Fortunately, when everything is going correctly, we can even go back to watching a movie or TV series exactly where we left off and without any major obstacles. However, I do not have a particularly positive feeling, and Sony has a very long way to go if they wanted to bring this application to commonly encountered quality standards. From myself – I do not recommend. Unless it’s the only way to make up for the dozen or so selected films that the vast majority of everyone has already watched.