Xbox One vs PS4: media
- Both Xbox One S and Xbox One X feature Ultra HD Blu-ray players
- PS4 Pro has to rely on streaming for 4K content
- Standard PS4 and Xbox One both limited to 1080p playback
In the past with Sony’s PS2 and PS3 consoles, they built a huge audience just by virtue of those consoles doubling as DVD and Blu-ray players that were priced competitively with standalone devices at launch.
That's what makes it so shocking that Microsoft has beaten them to the punch this time around, with the Xbox One S and Xbox One X being the first consoles to feature Ultra-HD Blu-ray compatibility .
Ultra HD Blu-rays are the latest and greatest disc format, and offer the best audio and video quality if you're looking to watch movies at home. The amount of discs available is slightly thin on the ground as it currently stands, but the situation is sure to improve in the future as the number of 4K releases ramps up.
Of course, streaming is now the dominant way of consuming media at home, and the Xbox One S, the Xbox One X and the PS4 Pro are all able to handle 4K streams from the likes of Netflix and Amazon Prime. The limitations of streaming mean that the image quality won't quite be as good as physical media, but it's a much cheaper way to access 4K content.
We'll delve into more detail about the availability of apps for each console below.
Xbox One vs PS4: apps
- Very little to differentiate the two consoles in terms of apps.
The Xbox 360 and PS3 proved to be more than just gaming machines, and Xbox One and PS4 are no different. Of course, most third-party apps are shared across both platforms.
One key difference between the consoles as they currently stand is access to 4K streaming services. While you'll have to opt for the more expensive PS4 Pro if you want 4K streaming services on a Sony console, both the Xbox One S and X are capable of 4K streaming.
In terms of the apps themselves, all next-gen gamers have access to Netflix, Amazon Instant Video, Spotify, Hulu Plus, Crackle, Vudu and Redbox Instant as well as baseball subscription service MLB.TV.
Xbox One corners the app-filled market with ESPN, Fox Now, FX Now, NFL, TED, The CW, Twitch, Univision Deportes, Verizon FiOS TV and YouTube. It also has Microsoft's own OneDrive, Skype and Xbox Music and Xbox Video services.
That contrasts with PS4. Sony's console features Crunchyroll, Epix, NBA Gametime, NHL GameCenter Live, YuppTV, the WWE Network, VidZone, and Sony’s own foray into being a cable provider with PlayStation Vue.
Initially, Xbox One had first access to HBO Go before PS4, but now both consoles have the premium channel as an app – at least, if your cable provider in the US isn't Comcast. And, even if it is, both systems now support HBO Now, which lets you view HBO programming without a cable subscription.
More niche apps are expected as time goes on, so this is hardly the final list of apps for Xbox One and PS4.
Are PS4 and Xbox One backward compatible?
- Xbox One backwards compatibility list is growing.
- PS4 offers backwards compatibility through PS Now streaming service.
The Xbox One vs PS4 comparison first got really interesting at E3 2015. After teasing Xbox 360 emulation, Microsoft announced Xbox One backward compatibility for Xbox 360 games. This was expanded to original Xbox games at E3 2017.
"We won't charge you to play the games you already own," jabbed Microsoft at Sony during its E3 press conference. Over 400 disc and downloadable Xbox 360 and Xbox titles will work on Xbox One, and the features of the newer console – like streaming and taking screenshots – crosses over to older games.
Microsoft launched Xbox One backward compatibility in November 2015, and a recent update saw its functionality expanded to include multi-disc games. Since then, the manufacturer has continued to bring more and more games to the console.
Sony's PlayStation Now service, meanwhile, is a streaming service that costs money to rent games. That's a bummer if you already paid for The Last of Us, God of War: Ascension, Dead Space 3 and Metal Gear Solid: Ground Zeroes on the PS3.
It also relies on streaming, meaning that the quality of your gameplay experience will vary based on the bandwidth of your internet connection.
Sony has expanded its video game streaming service to PS Vita, PC and PlayStation TV, and has even stretched to include Sony and Samsung made TVs. The service now includes PS1, PS2 and PS4 games in addition to the previously PS3-only lineup.
None of these options are foolproof yet. That means you'll need to keep your Xbox 360 and PS3 in order to play more niche games that haven't been made backwards compatible on Xbox One or haven't been added to PlayStation Now.
You can't sell the old systems, and that means people won't be able to readily buy them – they're more likely to purchase them directly from Microsoft and Sony.
Xbox One vs PS4: other differences
- Both consoles charge for online multiplayer.
- Other media player features offered by Xbox One.
The look of the console, the feel of the controller and the appeal of the games list are the main differences from which consumers will decide between the PS4 and the Xbox One. However, there are other factors at play one should consider before buying into a new system. At the top of that list is a significant question: where do most of your friends play?
While limited cross-platform multiplayer options do now appear to be on the horizon, you don't want to be split up from your friends when playing the top titles on either platform.
Both Microsoft and Sony are charging for multiplayer this console generation, whereas PS3 gamers got to log into matches scott-free.
Sony sadly moved closer to Microsoft in this way, while Microsoft moved closer to Sony by tearing down the Xbox Live app paywall. You no longer have to subscribe to stream Netflix and other apps.
The PS4 vs Xbox One comparison has evolved in the last four years, mostly because Microsoft's plans have shifted: from Xbox One price drops to more lenient paywall policies to graphics specs upgrades.
These two next-generation consoles are now on a more even playing field, which means Sony and Microsoft are going to start throwing games like Horizon: Zero Dawn and Sea of Thieves at you, and that's a win for all gamers.
PS4 vs Xbox One: make your choice
Now that we've taken you through the positives and negatives of each console you've probably got a good idea of which is the one for you.
Fortunately, we're not going to leave you hanging there – further down you'll find the best deals available for each console to help you take your decision to its final destination.
Decided that the PS4 and Sony's attractive exclusives are perfect for you? Below you'll find the best PlayStation 4 deals you can get at the moment.
Is it the Xbox One that's won you over? We understand, that 4K Blu-ray player is hard to resist. There are some fantastic deals on the latest model of Microsoft's consoles and below you'll find the latest and greatest: