Congratulations! You just won the holidays by getting a brand new PlayStation!
While there is undoubtedly plenty of excitement around the game system, now comes the real fun part: getting it set up properly.
The good news is that, thanks to HDMI – a single cable that transmits digital audio and video from the console to the screen – setting it up in 2018 has gotten a lot simpler than in years past.
Here’s what you’ll need to do for each system to not just get it on, but to make sure you’re making the most of it right out of the box.
The PlayStation 4 comes in two varieties: the “Slim,” or regular PS4, and the more powerful PS4 Pro. Luckily for the basic setup, both are the same.
Both consoles come out of the box with everything you’ll need to get going, including the required power cable and HDMI cable for plugging into your HD TV. Plug those two cables into their respective ports first and turn on your TV.
The PS4 comes with one wireless controller. Simply plug it into the USB port on the front of the PS4 using the included USB cable and press the PlayStation button on the controller to sync it with the system. This is how you can charge the controller and how you can also sync additional controllers.
The wireless controller is also where you can plug in headphones or a headset to chat online.
Follow the on-screen instructions for language, date and time and connecting to the internet. If your PS4 is next to an Ethernet port in your wall (or it’s by your router), plug the PS4 into that device (you may need to find an Ethernet cable) and choose the “use a LAN cable” option. Ethernet is often a better, faster connection than WiFi so if the option is available, you should use that for your gaming.
If not, connect the PS4 to your WiFi network. You can use the controller to add in your WiFi password if needed. The left joystick or directional pad on the left of the controller can be used to move the cursor while the “X” button selects.
You may need to download a software update after doing this. It’ll slow things down, but you’ll need it before playing online anyway; so download and install it, and then leave it for a bit and go open some more presents.
Setting up the PlayStation Network
Now that that’s done, you can finish going through the setup process including setting up a PlayStation Network ID for downloading games and playing online. Like Microsoft and Nintendo, for most games, Sony requires a subscription to its PlayStation Plus service ($59.99 per year) to play online.
A 14-day free trial is included with each system. But depending on the bundle you bought, you might already have a full year. Sony also sells the subscription directly on the console – in addition to selling it at Target, Amazon, Best Buy and other major retailers – if you want to buy it right away.
Clicking on the icon labeled “Profile” (located next to trophy and headset icons on the main menu line) will allow you to sign in to your PlayStation Network account if you’re coming from a PlayStation 3, PlayStation Vita or earlier PlayStation 4. You can also create a new account if this is your first PlayStation.
You can also access this login screen by going to the “Plus” icon for PlayStation Plus.
Downloading games and apps
To start the PlayStation Plus trial or enter in any codes for games included in your bundle, you can head to the PlayStation Store. From there, you’ll see an option at the bottom of the left-hand side labeled “Redeem Codes.”
Pro-tip: Sony has PlayStation apps for both iOS and Android. Once your account is created and signed into on your PS4, you can log in on these apps to more easily enter in codes for services and games for your account. All the games you’ve bought can be found in the “purchased” section of the “Library” app.
The PlayStation Store is where you’ll also find games like “Fortnite” available for purchase or download. As part of PlayStation Plus, Sony includes discounts on a variety of games in addition to offering two free, selected games each month.
Note: “Fortnite” does not require a subscription to PS Plus to play online. If you want to play other games, such as “Call of Duty” or “NBA 2K19,” you will need PS Plus.
In addition to games, the Store is also where you’ll find apps for Netflix, HBO, Hulu, Spotify and more for those times when you want to use your PlayStation for something other than gaming.
Making the most of the latest TVs
If you have a new or recent TV, you’ll want to turn on HDR and 4K. All PS4s support HDR, which can be turned on by going to “Settings,” “Sound and Screen” and then “Video Output Settings.”
Make sure the settings for HDR and “Deep Color Output” are set to “Automatic.”
Note: Some TVs will need you to go into the picture settings to enable HDR. This sometimes is referred to as HDMI UHD Color (on Samsung TVs), HDMI Ultra HD Deep Color (on LG TVs) or making sure the TV input is set to HDMI 2.0 (on Roku TVs). When in doubt, a quick search on how to enable HDR on your TV of choice should help to get things promptly set up.
If you have a PS4 Pro, you will also be game to utilize 4K on your new TV. If your TV supports 4K, make sure the “Resolution” section is set to “Automatic,” which will have the PS4 play at the maximum resolution your TV supports.
Congrats! Your new PS4 is now set up, online and ready to go. Now it’s time to sit back, relax, and play some “Spider-Man” or “Fortnite.”
Follow Eli Blumenthal on Twitter @eliblumenthal
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