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Sony has just released an update for the PlayStation 4 which extends the console’s Remote Play feature beyond devices like the PS Vita and onto your Mac or Windows PC. It’s easy to set up and provided you’ve got a good enough Internet connection, you can play games even when you’re away from home.

The update opens up a whole new world of possibility for those who share a TV or want to play games on the go, but there are a few things to keep in mind when using the feature. Here’s what you need to know.

Setting Up Remote Play

Before you start using your Mac or PC as a remote display, you’ll need to set up your PS4 and computer to use the feature. Fortunately the process is pretty straight-forward.

What You’ll Need

  • A PlayStation 4 console, running firmware version 3.50 (head to Settings > System Software Update if your console doesn’t prompt you automatically).
  • PC running Windows 8.1 or 10, an Intel Core i5 at 2.67GHz or faster, 2GB of RAM and a spare USB port; OR
  • Mac running OS X Yosemite or El Capitan, an Intel Core i5 at 2.4GHz or faster, 2GB of RAM and a spare USB port.
  • A Dualshock 4 controller and USB cable (the one you use to charge your controller is fine).
  • A wired or Wi-Fi network for local play, and an Internet connection of 5 megabits upload and download for remote online play.

Install & Configure:

  1. Download and install the PS4 Remote Play client from Sony for your particular system.
  2. Set up your PS4 by ensuring that your PS4 is designated as your primary PS4 under Settings > PlayStation Network/Account Management > Activate as Your Primary PS4. You will also need to enable remote play under Settings > Remote Play (on by default) and it’s a good idea to check that your PS4 can be turned on remotely using Settings > Power Save Settings > Set Features Available in Rest Mode and enabling both Stay Connected to the Internet and Enable Turning On PS4 from Network.
  3. Run the PS4 Remote Play app on your Mac or PC, then connect a Dualshock 4 controller How to Use the PS4 Controller on your Mac or PC How to Use the PS4 Controller on your Mac or PC Read More when prompted and sign in using the same PSN credentials you use on your console.
  4. Wait until the PS4 Remote Play app registers your system. If this fails, click Register Manually and follow the instructions (and check that Remote Play is enabled on your console).

That’s it! Once connected you should see your PS4 dashboard appear on your Mac or Windows desktop, in glorious 540p resolution. Fortunately, there’s a few things you can do to get Remote Play to look and perform better.

Games That Support Remote Play

Not all titles support Remote Play, but a great deal do. You can find our whether or not a game supports the feature by looking for the Remote Play icon on the rear of the box, as pictured below. For digital titles you’ll need to check the item description, or better still Google the title and append “remote play” to the end of your query.

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Optimize Your Experience

For best results, Sony recommends that you connect your console directly to your router using a wired ethernet connection. If you can’t do this, moving your PS4 as close to the wireless access point as possible will yield best results. Speaking from experience, my 802.11n wireless connection Understanding the Most Common Wi-Fi Standards Understanding the Most Common Wi-Fi Standards Wi-Fi can be a bit confusing because there are a handful of different standards being used. Here's what you need to know. Read More (that’s two rooms away from my PS4) provides excellent results, which is lucky as I can’t really do much about my network setup at the moment.

remoteplay_dashboard

If you’re in the same boat as me and you encounter issues, you might want to check our guides about optimizing your Wi-Fi speed 10 Ways To Improve The Speed of Your Current Router 10 Ways To Improve The Speed of Your Current Router Here are a few simple router tweaks that could make a world of difference on your home Wi-Fi network. Read More  and troubleshooting connection issues Does Your WiFi Speed Drop? Here Is Why & How To Fix It! Does Your WiFi Speed Drop? Here Is Why & How To Fix It! One moment you're absolutely dominating in your online game while downloading some movies (legally, of course), and the next moment you can barely load a simple web page. What gives? Read More . Remote Play also works over the Internet, and if you intend to use this Sony recommends an upstream and downstream speed Understanding Your Internet Speed Understanding Your Internet Speed So you're paying for a certain internet speed but what does that speed actually mean? How fast is it? And why does it seem so slow at times? Read More of at least 5 megabits per second.

You might be disappointed at the default resolution and framerate when first using Remote Play, but these can be improved. To do so, first make sure your PS4 is off then launch the Remote Play app on your Mac or Windows PC.

remoteplay_resolution

On Windows you can hit Settings to bring up resolution options. On a Mac you’ll have to click PS4 Remote Play in the menubar at the top of the screen, then choose Preferences. Both versions give you a choice of 360p, 540p and 720p resolutions; and standard or high framerates. If you choose the high frame rate, you won’t be able to use the PS4’s gameplay recording feature via the Share button.

Even on my wireless connection, my experience has been silky smooth using the highest resolution and frame rate available. You might need to adjust this if you’re playing via the Internet however, especially if you experience skipping audio and video. Luckily it’s client side, so you only need to return to this menu to tweak things.

How Does It Run?

After initially being disappointed by the low framerate and muddy resolution, I switched to 720p and highest available frame rate and things got much better. On a decent local connection, Remote Play is a great option for those who have to relinquish the TV for whatever reason.

remoteplay_fallout4

I have noticed an occasional frame skip or audio blip, and these got much worse when leaving the Remote Play app active in the background and doing other things (on my Retina MacBook Pro at least). I can’t speak for Windows performance, but Remote Play on OS X is solid. With one eye on my TV and one on my MacBook, latency is imperceptible over a local connection.

Due to the compression used, things are a bit muddy at points; and if you have to resort to 540p or below then you’re probably going to be disappointed with image quality overall. At no point did the experience feel unplayable, but I’m not sure I’d like to spend hours wasting Super Mutants at 360p resolution. I’d be more inclined to play platformers (Broforce, Rayman Legends) and puzzlers (The Witness) when restricted to low resolutions.

I had less joy getting Remote Play working via the Internet. My cable connection is around 30 megabits down, but only provides 2 megabits upload speed. Despite my best efforts I simply couldn’t get things working, with the sorry state of Australia’s copper-fiber hybrid network to blame.

remoteplay_tooslow

Heat buildup on my laptop has been minimal; things gets warm, but it’s no worse than watching a video. Remote Play doesn’t seem to put much stress on the GPU at all.

What We’ve Wanted for Years

Start typing “use macbook” or “use imac” into Google and you’ll see a flurry of predictions that end in “as monitor” — some even “as monitor for ps4” — which suggests that many of us have wanted a feature like Remote Play for a long time. While it’s not perfect (and 1080p resolution would be very nice), if your network is up to scratch then Remote Play shouldn’t leave you disappointed.

Playing PS4 games on a Mac or PC goes some way toward solving the problem posed when using shared living room TV for gaming purposes. Paired with a laptop, the feature gives you more freedom over where and when you play your games. You can even take your Dualshock 4 to work and play games during your lunch hour if your Internet connection is good enough.

Best of all the feature is completely free, with no need to buy a Sony handheld, PlayStation TV or Xperia device.

Have you tried Remote Play on your Mac or PC? How did it go?

  1. Todd
    July 12, 2016 at 2:41 pm

    Can you remote game play on PC and still use PS4 to do other games in the room where PS4

    • Tim Brookes
      July 15, 2016 at 5:18 am

      Afraid not, think of Remote Play as simply a mirror for the screen. In fact, if you choose a resolution of 720p (providing your network can handle it) you won't be able to use screen recording (share button) features either.

  2. jameel
    April 19, 2016 at 3:10 am

    So is it possible to play from let say work? or does this only work inside the same house the ps4 is in ?

    • Tim Brookes
      April 20, 2016 at 12:45 am

      Yeah you can play remotely, but you'll need an Internet speed of least 5mbps up and down from both locations. I wasn't able to test this, but I'd also assume that the further you travel from your PS4, the worse the experience becomes.

      On the plus side the quality/framerate settings are all client-side, so you can turn down the resolution if things aren't great. Also make sure you've turned on network power-up, so you can start your PS4 remotely over the Internet (check the article for details).

  3. Edgar1
    April 16, 2016 at 6:57 pm

    Hi, i have the next problem,

    I connect the remote play via wi-fi in two different laptops with no problem at all ( one with windows the other one is mac ) but i have a desktop pc wich is connected via ethernet and i can´t connect with this one, the problem is that when i launch the app and click on sing in, the window that opens doesnt charge si it just stay in blank and i cant log in or do anything just close that window and try to do it again to obtain the same result. any ideas?

    • Tim Brookes
      April 20, 2016 at 12:46 am

      What OS are you running on the desktop? Only Windows 8.1 and 10 are supported, so if you're trying to do it on vanilla Windows 8 or 7 then that might be your problem. Otherwise I'm not sure — you got any firewalls running or anything like that?

      • Edgar Peroza Vallín
        April 20, 2016 at 1:09 am

        Thats the weird part, i have windows 10 . Last night i desactivate my anti-virus and didnt work either, i have a powerfull pc cause i use it for 3D design so i guess the specs are not the problem, i can run recent games without a problem, the speed connection isnt the problem either cause i can use remotely the ps4 on my laptops so... I tried to re-install the program like 10 times, but nothing seems to work, when i click on the login button the window open but it stays in a blank page...

        • Tim Brookes
          April 20, 2016 at 1:54 am

          Hmmm that makes no sense at all. Does the desktop have a wireless card in it? Maybe you could try connecting to your network via Wi-Fi, then trying again? That would then point to the issue being Ethernet-related, perhaps down to how your router handles wired connections?

          It's bizarre because Sony themselves recommend a fully wired connection for best performance, though I have both devices connected to a modem 2 rooms away via dual-band wireless and 720p works pretty much flawlessly, provided network traffic is low.

        • Edgar Peroza Vallín
          April 20, 2016 at 2:15 am

          Yes it has a wireless card, but already tried that, in fact i moved my desktop to another room cause i tought that connected through ethernet would fix the problem but not at all. Thank you and if you get any other idea i would be really grateful

  4. Brendan
    April 13, 2016 at 10:35 am

    This could work for me but it stopped working after i tried playing on my android phone (which worked). Now whenever i connect to my laptop, the controller would be like it is spoilt, no buttons work not even the playstation home button and no light from controller. However if i unplug the controller, it works again and the connection will disconnect from my laptop. Please help

    • Tim Brookes
      April 14, 2016 at 4:21 am

      Have you tried connecting the controller to your PS4 via USB cable? Pretty sure that's how it pairs with the console. Might need to be paired with the console you're connecting to in order use via Remote Play.

      Otherwise, it's probably under warranty if bought within the last 2 years (maybe 1 year, depending on where you live — 2 years in EU and Australia though) and I'm fairly confident plugging your controller into a phone won't void the warranty?

      Let us know.

  5. Jesper
    April 11, 2016 at 6:29 am

    My Remote Play doesn't work even on my home network, most likely due to my fiber network setup. Don't know any more specifics, but it's a bummer

    • Tim Brookes
      April 14, 2016 at 4:24 am

      What's your setup? Assuming both devices are connected to the same network, things should work — you should at least be able to use lower quality settings.

      Unless you're in a college dorm or something? You could maybe try creating an ad-hoc network on your Mac/PC and connecting your PS4 to it?

  6. Don Gateley
    April 10, 2016 at 5:36 pm

    This is very, very significant. The PS4 is moving away from being a game box to being a content portal with powerful graphics. I'm sure it's casting quality will improve but providing the basic connection capability is a big step in that direction.

    • Tim Brookes
      April 11, 2016 at 4:33 am

      I think casting quality is basically limited to the speed and quality of the network equipment we have in our homes. So as that improves, so too will the stability, and we might even see Sony add a 1080p option at some point.

      I agree with you about this being a significant move, but it's also somewhat of a nail in the coffin of the Vita don't you think? One of the last good reasons to actually buy Sony's handheld just disappeared!

  7. GodSponge (EB)
    April 9, 2016 at 8:39 pm

    If I had a PS4 I'd be all over this. I prefer playing on my PC vs a TV anyway so another way to not have to use my TV is always welcome.

    • Matt
      April 15, 2016 at 2:31 pm

      Just get a HDMI switcher for you computer monitor. This will allow you to switch easily between your PC output or your PS4.

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