There are rough edges to be ironed out with further iterations, but the music video download service for PS3 and PSP works pretty well.
Launching late last night [Australian time] VidZone is a free download of 23MB from the PlayStation store.
It does take some time to get going, once you have agreed to (and most likely not have read due to its length) the EULA, there is a bit of a wait for the database to initialise on your first load.
In fact, waiting is a bit of an issue with VidZone, the first load is obviously the longest, but subsequent loads still take at least 75 seconds before the menu pops up. Which in its self does not sound long, but when party goers are hanging around the man with the SIXAXIS in his hand, impatiently waiting to select songs, it is an eternity.
The menu screen is not the end of the waiting; Sony has conveniently provided some pre-prepared playlists such as Eminem’s greatest hits, 90’s and so on. And in fact, as a party host you would be well encouraged to start up a playlist to sate guests whilst searching for the real clips you wish to play.
Sony has stated that there are over 10,000 music clips to choose from, and you can search by video, artist or genre (genre’s include Alternative, Bollywood, Classical, Comedy/Themes, Dance and Hip-Hop), so there is bound to be something for most people to enjoy.
The trouble is, the search function is laborious. Using a slow moving scroll wheel, the search string is built. And straight away there are problems, it would have been nice just to browse through a full list of video, artist or chosen genre. Instead, the unchangeable default is set on ‘A’, and from there you must enter your search string.
Further more, the search system is not smart. To scroll to a ‘space’ for instance, the quickest way is to backtrack from ‘A’, through all the numerals to the ‘space’. To select a band such as ‘The Cure’ you must type in the ‘The’ rather than the smarter ‘Cure’.
Once you have assembled a playlist, the video and audio starts to stream immediately, all in 4:3 which wastes some of you expensive 16:9 aspect ration TV, and, I could be wrong, but some video’s seem to suffer a little from audio/video sync issues.
Remote Play through the PlayStation Portable works well, with all the functionality of direct PS3 viewing being available, as well as opportunity to create playlists for that big gathering at home on the weekend. Font size is an issue for these fading eyes, but otherwise functionality is fine.
For the Australia/New Zealand territories starved of any game-console video download service, VidZone is a good start. With some of the search and speed edges smoothed out, this will be a must have for those not concerned with download caps.