PlayStation 4 owners using televisions compatible with HDMI-CEC can navigate the next-gen console's operating system using their television's remote control. Through a series of tests, Polygon found that functionality seems to differ between apps, brands and setups.
Sony's next-gen console does not include an infrared (IR) receiver that could receive a signal directly from a remote control. As noted in Polygon's PlayStation 4 review, the PS4 does not support the Bluetooth remote control for the PlayStation 3. However, televisions that include the HDMI Consumer Electronics Control (CEC) feature can receive input from a remote control and pass that information to the PS4 through an HDMI connection.
According to the online PlayStation 4 User's Guide, certain Sony Bravia televisions with the Bravia Sync-branded HDMI-CEC feature allow remote control functionality. In a statement to Polygon, a Sony representative specified what the technology is capable of on PlayStation 4.
"PS4 does support the use of compatible remote controls with limited functionality to navigate the PS4 system's user interface and some applications. The TV must support HDMI-CEC and have a compatible HDMI cable linking the TV to the PS4 system. To activate this feature, set a checkmark in [System] > [Enable HDMI Device Link] with the PS4's settings. Because implementation of CEC commands vary greatly among manufacturers, the level of functionality and compatibility also varies."
The PlayStation 3 supported Bravia Sync beginning with the "Slim" CECH-2000 model first released in 2009. The PlayStation 3 Users's Guide includes language similar to that in the PS4 Guide about compatibility with other HDMI-CEC devices.
After we toggled the "Enable HDMI Device Link" option in the PS4's System > Settings menu, we were able to navigate the console's user interface with remote controls on four televisions from three manufacturers. For each test, the consoles were connected directly to the televisions via HDMI unless otherwise noted.
In tests performed on a Panasonic TC-50S60, in which menu settings for "VIERA Link" and "Power on link" were enabled, we could navigate the PS4's menus with the remote's directional buttons, select icons with the OK button and back out of menus with the Return button.
Powering on the PS4 when connected directly into the TV also powered the television on, and the television switched to the correct HDMI input automatically. When we routed the HDMI input first through a Pioneer VSX-523 A/V receiver and then out to the TV, the console turned the TV on and switched to the correct input, but we lost the ability to control the PS4 interface with the remote.
We were also able to navigate the menus on the Blu-ray for Star Wars Episode 4: A New Hope, though none of the Panasonic's built-in buttons for video playback (play, pause, fast-forward, rewind, etc.) had any effect, and we couldn't leave the Blu-ray to return to the Blu-ray's or the console's menus by using the TV's remote. We were able to pause playback with the Return button.
Tests we performed on a Panasonic TC-P46G10 with a PS4 routed through a Denon AVR1910 A/V receiver allowed us to control the console in the same way as the TC-50S60 when it was plugged directly into the TV. During Blu-ray playback, the rocker navigational button allowed us to play and pause video.
After toggling the "Enable HDMI Device Link" menu item in Samsung's PN42A450P1DXZ, the television allowed us to navigate menus with the directional buttons, use the Enter button to launch apps and games and use the Exit button to return to previous menus or the home screen. The functionality is limited, however, because of its inaccuracies. For example, hitting a directional button moves several spaces with each press, rather than just one.
Powering on the console also powers on the TV and switches to the correct input. As with the Panasonic, although we were able to start a Blu-ray and navigate the main menu to begin playback, we couldn't return to the menu. We could pause playback with the Back button.
On Sony televisions, the HDMI-CEC feature is called Bravia Sync. Sony's KDL-26M4000 television performed similarly to the Panasonic and Sony after we enabled the "Control for HDMI" option in its menu. Once enabled, the Input menu displayed the name of the device as PlayStation 4, and we could navigate the menus with the remote's directional buttons, select items with its version of the Enter/Return button and back out with the Return button. We could also power on the TV by powering on the PS4, but the TV did not switch to the correct input once powered on.
Two anomalies specific to this TV: We were unable to back fully out of any menus or apps and return to the home screen using the Return button. Also, we could begin playing a Blu-ray by selecting play with the button in the center of the directional rocker, but the Return button could only play or pause playback once. It then became unresponsive. The only way we could get it working again was to switch to a different input, then switch back to the correct HDMI input. Even then, it would work only once more.
Remote control functionality is limited in certain apps throughout all of the televisions we tested. We could select and launch the Netflix app, but the remotes would not function within the app. It's difficult to say whether this is an issue specific to the app or HDMI-CEC implementation. For example, we were able to navigate within the Amazon Instant Video app using a remote on the Panasonic TC-50S60 but not on the Panasonic TC-P46G10.
Universal remote support
Earlier this week, Logitech announced that it was working with Microsoft to bring day one support for its Harmony universal remotes to the Xbox One. When asked about potential PS4 compatibility, a representative for Logitech told us that the "Harmony team is still working on PS4 compatibility for the Harmony Ultimate and Harmony Smart Control" devices.
Let us know in the comments what experiences you've had with HDMI-CEC on your PlayStation 4. Here's a helpful list of the trade names the functionality has on all applicable television brands.
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