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PS4 FAQ: Some things you need to know before you buy

Sam Loveridge by

PS4 FAQ: Things you need to know about Sony's next gen console

Everything you need to know about the PS4

It feels like it's been a long two years since the PS4 launch, and over that time the console has changed quite a bit. In fact, it's quite a different beast to what it was back in 2013.

If you're looking to invest in a brand new PS4 and haven't made the leap yet, you might have some burning questions about Sony's new-gen console.

That's where we come in. We're here to answer all the questions to might have about the PS4 in our extensive PS4 FAQ.

Related: Best PS4 Deals

Does the PS4 controller work with PS3?

The DualShock 4 is a Bluetooth controller, you can use it as a secondary (or tertiary or quaternary) controller for your PS3.

It’s a bit fiddly, but here’s how to do it:

  1. Plug in your DualShock 4 into your PS3 using a USB cable
  2. Go to Settings > Accessory Settings > Manage Bluetooth Devices
  3. Then choose Scan for Bluetooth Device
  4. Unplug the DualShock 4, and hold down the Share and PlayStation buttons simultaneously until the PlayStation button flashes
  5. When your PS3 discovers your PS4 controller, plug it back into the PS3 and select the Wireless Controller option.
  6. You’re now ready to use your DualShock 4 with your PS3
The PS4 exclusive controller features will be disabled, but it’s a great way to get an extra controller for those retro PS3 gaming sessions.

Can I use my PS3 controller on PS4?

Although it works the other way around, the PS4 doesn’t support the PS3’s DualShock 3 controller.

Related: PS4 vs PS3

PS4 vs PS3 controllers

How do I use Share Play on the PS4?

PS4 Share Play allows you to share the games you’ve got on your PS4 with those who haven’t quite got around to buying them yet.

Press the Share button to bring up the sharing options available on your PS4.

There’s the usual screenshot and gameplay video upload options, but there’s also the Start Share Play option. Hitting that button will make you start a Party with your chosen friend (you can only use Share Play with one other person at present).

Immediately Share Play lets your friend watch what you are doing in-game, giving them a glimpse of what you’re playing.

You can then choose whether to “Give Controller to” your friend. This allows you to give them complete control of your chosen game with the “allow visitor to play as you” option, or invite them in for some remote yet local co-op with the “play game together” option.

Each Share Play session is limited to 60 minutes and your guest will only be able to achieve a maximum 720p HD feed from your PS4. You can restart Share Play sessions infinitely though.

Related: PS4 Share Play: How Sony is changing multiplayer gaming in a big way

PS4 Share Play

Does the PS4 play DVDs?

The PS4 is capable of playing DVDs and Blu-rays. All you need to do is put the disc in, and the media player will automatically be brought forward.

You can then control the playback using the on-screen UI. It’s all very simple and efficient.;

Does the PS4 play CDs?

Sadly the PS4 doesn’t play CDs, but to be honest it hans’t been a feature oft requested by fans – especially seeing as we live in such a digital age.

CD playing functionality was teased way back in 2013, but Sony has been mute on the topic since then. Sony would be required to write the software and pay the relevant licenses in order to play CDs.

You can however use your computer to rip the music to MP3 and then put them on a USB drive to play via your PS4.

4K UHD

Does the PS4 support 4K?

The PS4 does support 4K output, but only for photos and videos. Currently, there’s no PS4 games compatible with the 4K resolution.

The majority of PS4 games run at 1080p full HD with a framerate of 60fps. There’s no word on when or if the PS4 will get 4K resolution support for games.

Can the PS4 play 3D movies?

A PS4 update released in July 2014 added 3D Blu-Ray support (among other new features) to Sony’s latest console.

PlayStation Music

Can I listen to Spotify on my PS4?

If you’ve moved on from CDs, there’s good news. The PS4 now has a wonderful app known as PlayStation Music, but in reality it’s a dedicated Spotify app for PS4 and PS3, but there are some awesome new-gen features.

Only on PS4 can you play music and games simultaneously, with a special access bar within the multitasking menu. It’s a seamless integration, with a Spotify feature within the Quick Menu that allows you to adjust the music volume, skip tracks using L1 and R1, and pause it for those critical cutscenes.

You’ll need a Spotify Premium account, but oh boy is it worth it.PS4 USB Music Player

Can the PS4 support MP3 playback?

Yes, but there are some restrictions. The PS4 Update 2.0 introduced a new USB music player. If you want to listen to some tunes behind your next FIFA 15 match or a session of Assassin’s Creed Unity, you now can thanks to the USB music player.

Put your tracks on a USB drive and plug it directly into one of the USB ports on your PS4. When you do, your PS4 will be prompted to bring up the USB music player. You can then access a simple, but effective, mini music player.

It can be accessed by pressing the PlayStation button at any time, with a mini player for volume controls, play, pause, and track skip buttons right there even mid-game.

You can’t transfer any of your music content found on your USB to your PS4 at present, but fingers crossed that along with other media support might come with a later PS4 update.

Related: Upcoming PS4 Games 2016

PS4 HDD

Can I upgrade the hard drive in my PS4?

The PS4 comes with a built-in 500GB hard drive. If you’re keen to invest in tonnes of games from your new PS4, you’ll find yourself filling up that hard drive pretty quickly.

However, although Sony hasn’t yet added external hard drive support for the PS4, you can upgrade the internal hard drive in your PS4 pretty easily.

You’ll need a 2.5-inch Serial ATA HDD though, as they are the only one compatible with the PS4.

You’ll need to back up your data, replace the hard drive, re-install the system software and then restore your data to complete the hard drive installation.

Related: PS4 HDD Upgrade – How to upgrade your PS4 storage

Can the PS4 stand vertically?

Yes, Sony states that the PS4 can be stored horizontally or vertically. In fact, the company even sells an official PS4 Vertical Stand, which you can pick up for between £15 - £20.

However, we wouldn’t recommend storing it vertically unless you pay the little extra for the stand, as it will be far easier to knock over or dislodge in this position.

If you can, we’d recommend keeping the PS4 horizontally, as it keeps all the moving parts the right way up.

Should the PS4 be left on standby?

Both the PS4 and Xbox One have been designed to be always-on consoles. If you leave the PS4 on Standby Mode – or Rest Mode as it is now known – there are actually a lot of benefits.

Your console will charge any connected controllers, download any waiting system or software updates and even download entire games.

While in Rest Mode you can actually send games to be downloaded to your PS4 from the PlayStation Store website remotely. It’s a nifty trick that’ll make sure you’re ready to game the moment you get back to your trusty console.

Related: PS4 vs Xbox One

PlayStation Camera

What can the PS4 Camera do?

If you’re considering buying the PS4 Camera, you might be intrigued about what features and functionality it can offer you.

Of course, some games require the PlayStation Camera in order to work correctly, such as The PlayRoom, or even motion control titles like Just Dance 2015.

But beyond gaming, you can also use voice commands to help control the UI of your PS4 with the PlayStation Camera. All you have to do is say “PlayStation” followed by whatever you want to do or access.

You can also use the PlayStation Camera to add a little personality to your PS4 game broadcasts via Twitch or Ustream. You can add audio commentary or a little mini video screen of yourself to your gameplay using the PlayStation Camera.

Related: PS4 vs PS3

DualShock 4

How can I make my Dualshock 4 battery last longer?

The PS4 DualShock 4 is a great controller, but it has one flaw and that’s rubbish battery life.

There are a number of ways to make your DualShock 4 last a little bit longer. The main one is to make sure that you’ve dimmed the brightness of your controller in the Settings menu.

You can do this by going to Settings > Devices > Controllers > Brightness and set it to the lowest setting. You can’t turn it off entirely, but you can dim it to conserve precious battery.

Related: PS4 Controller Battery Life: How to make your DualShock 4 last longer

PS4 mono chat headset

Does the PS4 come with a headset?

The PS4 comes with a mono chat headset in the box. It’s not great, but it will get you up and running for online multiplayer chat as soon as you boot up the PS4.

We’d definitely recommend replacing it if you plan to do a lot of chatting with your mates on PSN.

Related: Best Gaming Headset 2015

Plex

Has the PS4 got DLNA support?

The PS4 can play standard Blu-ray discs and DVDs, but currently does not support MP3 playback or streaming via DLNA.

DLNA stands for Digital Living Network Alliance and enables you to share digital media between devices. Mostly it lets you stream media content like music and movies from your PC to other devices, which includes the Xbox One, Xbox 360 and even PS3.

We're still waiting for the DLNA support update for the PS4, but there is a way you can replace the rattling of gunfire with a more soothing soundtrack. Using Sony’s audio streaming service Music Unlimited you can manually turn off game audio and replace it with something from Sony's extensive music catalogue, though you will have to pay for the privilege.

PlayStation App

Should I download the PlayStation app for PS4?

Yes, it's actually useful on the PS4. Available to download for free on iOS and Android devices, Sony updated its PlayStation app with the arrival of the PS4. With the PS4 you can use your phone or tablet as a keyboard (while on the same Wi-Fi connection), access the PS4 manual and system guide, watch friends gaming live and get Smartglass-style second screen integration. Best of all, you can remotely download games so when you get home, they are ready to play.

If you download the separate, but ridiculously useful, PS Message app you can also chat to your buddies quickly and easily.

PS4 remote play

How does PS4 Remote Play work?

If the main screen in your home is needed by other (selfish) members of your household, you might be tempted to take your gaming elsewhere. And rather than move the entire PS4, if you’ve got a PS Vita or a supported Sony Xperia device there’s another answer.

PS4 Remote Play allows you to stream your PS4 gameplay to your PS Vita or selected Sony tablets and smartphones such as the Sony Xperia Z3, Sony Xperia Z4 Tablet or even the Sony Xperia Z5.

On your Xperia device you’ll need to download the Remote Play app, but on your PS Vita (as long as it’s running the latest software) the app is right there on your homescreen.

Tap it and you’ll be guided through the set-up process, which is simple enough, and soon you’ll be ready to stream PS4 games straight to the smaller screens.

It does require a high-speed internet connection, so make sure to check the requirements first.

Related: PS4 tips and tricks

Ps4 remote play

What is PlayGo and how does it work?

Ideal for people who can’t stomach those achingly long download times, the PS4's new PlayGo feature will let you start your game before it’s been completely downloaded. For example, if you are downloading a digital version of Call of Duty: Ghosts, you will be able to choose whether you want to play the campaign or multiplayer mode. Depending on what you choose, the PS4 will proceed to download the data you need to get playing.

Do I need a PlayStation Plus account to play online multiplayer on PS4?

On the PS3, online gaming was a free-for-all, but on the PS4 you will need to pay up if you want to get spanked at Battlefield 4 or Call of Duty by an 11-year old from the other side of the world. PlayStation Plus subscriptions cost £5.49 per month, £11.99 every three months or £39.99 a year and you’ll require just one to cover all PlayStation consoles. Existing PS Plus memberships will carry over to the PlayStation 4 and to entice you to sign up, Sony will be offering a new game each month. A subscription also adds the ability to download game updates when then console is and on standby and get access to 1GB of cloud saves game data.

Related: Best PS4 Games 2015

PS4 UI

Can the PS4 play PS3 games?

Are PS3 games compatible with the PS4 you ask? Well, not in the sense that you can put a PS3 disc copy of GTA 5 into your PS4 console and start playing it.

The PS4 will use its PlayStation cloud gaming service to stream PS3 games to offer some form of backwards compatibility – albeit on a

Related: PS4 Backward Compatibility explained

PlayStation Now

Are there parental controls on the PS4?

If you are planning to share the PS4 with the entire household, Sony has now added the ability to add restrictions on content if you don’t want the little ones to be playing Call of Duty. This also covers setting content restrictions for what Blu-ray discs people can watch, what apps they can access and which websites they can land on in the web browser.

Do I need the PlayStation Camera to use voice commands?

One of the ways Sony has managed to keep the price of the console down lower than the Xbox One is by leaving the PS Eye camera out of the box. That's not to say you will have to immediately pay out around £55 for one as the DualShock 4 controller has a built-in mic and will offer some Kinect-style voice control for the PS4.

Related: Underrated and under appreciated games of 2014

PS4 pictures

Can PS4 game updates and downloads run in the background?

One of our biggest gripes with the PS3 was having to sit through numerous game updates and software downloads, sometimes for hours. The good news is that Sony has introduced the ability to do all of this boring stuff in the background leaving you to get on with something more interesting than looking at a loading bar slowly making progress.

Just put your PS4 into Rest Mode and your console will keep downloading and installing the various updates needed for your games and other content. So it'll all be ready when you next need it.

Can you share or sell PS4 games?

One of the biggest talking points of the next-gen console war has been the stance Microsoft and Sony have taken on the pre-owned games market. Sony made a very big deal at its E3 2013 press conference about not abandoning second-hand gamers, brilliantly summed by this video. The recently updated version of the Sony Entertainment network terms of service appeared to contradict this, but Sony Worldwide Studios boss Shuhei Yoshida reiterated via Twitter that you can sell and share PS4 discs just like you can with the PS3.

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