Out with the old and in with the new. Google is ditching Google TV after three years of struggling to gain traction in the living room. According to GigaOM, a manufacturer explained that Google is opting to rebrand Google TV as Android TV. Although the product has struggled from the start, Google is likely leaning in favor of their new Chromecast, which has been selling out worldwide. The Chromecast functions alongside apps such as Netflix, Google Play Movies/TV/Music, Hulu, and YouTube. Also, the Chromecast shows manufacturers the possibilities of a low-cost media player. Google’s Sundar Pichai did say they would incorporate Chromecast features in an upcoming update to Google TV, but I guess they really meant Android TV.
Remember that Sony Google TV dongle (NSZ-GU1) that hit the FCC last month? Well Sony officially took the wraps off of it today. They aren’t calling it a Google TV device, but it does offer Google services such as Google Search and the Play Store. However, there is one major drawback, and it’s the fact that it appears to be only compatible with 2013 Sony Bravia TVs. It connects to the MHL port on the back of the TV, with a USB cable for power, so I’m not sure why it wouldn’t work any other branded TV or AV receiver that has an MHL port. Sony only mentioned 2013 Bravia TVs in the press release.
It has 8GB of internal storage, HDMI passthrough and an IR blaster. The remote control features a keyboard and a pad for pinch-to-zoom as well as a microphone for voice commands. It will come with Netflix, Pandora, Amazon Instant Video, Google Play, YouTube, the Chrome Browser and more pre-installed. Of course, users can add more apps via the Google Play Store. Chromecast functionality wasn’t mentioned in the presser.
The Bravia Smart Stick is priced at $149 and is already available at Sony Stores and select retailers nationwide. Hit the break for one more image and the full presser.
You remember how we talked about that mysterious Sony model number recently? You know— the NSZ-GU1 model that’s set to revolutionize how we look at the Google TV platform? Well it’s not only the real deal, we finally have our first view of how the cool dongle will look like courtesy of the FCC. The shots show a very unique unit which includes a small terminal that houses the meat of the device like a Marvell DE3108 processor, 8GB of memory, 1GB of RAM, and the heart of the device— the small USB thumb-size dongle that utilizes Chromecast. It even supports MHL, but it also has an integrated IR blaster as well as HDMI in for pass through of your cable or satellite box. If you remember, Google said Chromecast was coming to Google TV, so this could very well be the first such device.
As of now, we know the unit is heading towards American shores, but we don’t know when exactly just yet. We’ll certainly keep our eyes and ears open for any further developments. More images after the break.
Since releasing their Chromecast dongle, Google has insisted the device will live alongside their Google TV platform. Evidence for this surfaced in a recent FCC filing by Sony for a device with the model number NSZ-GU1. The model number is similar enough to previous Sony Google TV boxes, the NSZ-GT1, NSZ-GS7 and the NSZ-GS8, that we can be pretty confident this is part of their Google TV family of devices. Unlike previous models though, the NSZ-GU1 was submitted to the FCC due to some wireless capabilities.
We heard reports that Google was working on a new set-top box, but when the Chromecast was announced, the early assumption was that this was the device. Apparently there is another device in the pipeline, but unfortunately we don’t know if it will ever come out. It was actually referred to as an “over-the-top” set-top box a couple of months ago. The Wall Street Journal is now reporting that Google actually showed the prototype in private back at CES 2013.
It was powered by Android and demoed by Andy Rubin. It even had a video camera and motion sensor for Hangouts. The original plan was to launch this device at Google I/O, but obviously that didn’t happen. Did Google scrap plans for the device in favor of the Chromecast or is there room for the two devices. As expected Google didn’t make a comment on this topic, but one thing they did say was that Google TV isn’t dead. In fact, the plan is to bring the Chromecast feature to Google TVs soon.
The Chromecast seems like an amazing device, but to me it’s not the holy grail. It doesn’t have local media streaming and it doesn’t have HDMI pass through like Google TV boxes. However, at $35 it is a very compelling product for most people. I still think Google is going to come out with yet another product that has more features to satisfy the power hungry users.
source: Wall Street Journal
After Google dropped their Chromecast announcement yesterday, it would be easy to call it the nail in Google TV’s coffin. However, Google doesn’t seem to think so. Sundar Pichai told CNET that Google TV was absolutely going to grow and evolve alongside Chromecast, and neither device would be replacing the other. Considering Google has pledged to update Google TV to Jelly Bean later this year, it makes sense, but with Chromecast preorders sold out within hours, it’s easy to see how much damage Chromecast could potentially do to Google TV’s success.
Pichai also said that Google TV would be getting some newer partners and software updates later in the year, which would go a long way towards helping its popularity. Still, though, it hasn’t had much early success, and it is still possible for Google TV to go the way of Google Reader. I guess we’ll have to wait and see.
According to a recent report, Google is working on offering a traditional TV programming service that would be delivered over the Internet in competition against typical cable or satellite TV providers. For several years now, companies have been working to add a variety of Internet services to their TV hardware leading to things like Netflix coming preloaded on Blu-Ray players or directly on televisions. Google would turn this model on its head though, taking the hardware people typically use for Internet services and offering TV programming on it.
The Wall Street Journal is reporting that Google is working on a videogame console, a smartwatch and a followup to the Nexus Q. None of this is surprising as we have heard tidbits about all three. The big question is when we will actually get to see these devices? According to WSJ, one of them will be launched this fall. The gaming console is probably the most intriguing and one has to wonder why Google would get into this game? One big reason might be that Apple is rumored to be doing the same thing as part of its next Apple TV release. The Nexus Q followup is clearly a TV box of some kind and will most likely be the next generation Google TV that everyone is waiting for.
We heard reports of Android-powered laptops back in April, and WSJ confirmed that HP is working on them with the next version of Android. Speaking of the next version of Android, it is known internally as “K release”, or shall we say Key Lime Pie? As we reported earlier, it might be compatible with lower end devices as in ones with as little as 512MB of RAM.
Sony announced a new addition to their line of Google TV devices, the NSZ-GS8 Internet Player. The device is the successor to last year’s NSZ-GS7. The big change for this year is the addition of voice search capabilities to the device. This is achieved just by speaking into the remote control and the unit will take things from there, displaying TV listings or search results if you happen to be surfing the web using the Google Chrome browser that comes on the unit.
Sony indicates sharing photos and videos from Android powered smartphones and tablets will be done seamlessly and wirelessly. Sony even makes sure those individuals stuck using an iOS powered device can use their Google TV device for viewing photos and videos through the Airtight app, which brings Airplay type functionality to the NSZ-GS8.
According to Sony, this new model will be available in Sony stores and other retailers starting in early July for $199. You can visit the Sony Store online to setup a notification for when the device is available for order. You may also notice the NSZ-GS7 has been placed on sale for $169.
source: Sony Blog
In March of this year, streaming service Redbox Instant was launched in a partnership with Verizon to rival Netflix. Starting today, Redbox Instant is supported for Google TV. The app offers a full Redbox Instant experience, including movie streaming and the ability to rent and purchase movies through Google TV. You can even reserve movies at your local Redbox kiosk through the app.
However, at this point, there’s only support for second generation Google TV devices. If you have a compatible device, go try out RedBox Instant by downloading through the Google Play Store. There’s a one month free trial if you sign up now.
source: Google TV Blog
We know that Google is going to introduce a new TV set-top box of some sort, and we are hoping that it will get released by the end of the year. It looks like that may happen since a new media player just passed the FCC. Unfortunately we don’t have too many details at this point, but the device is called the Google H840 and it “functions as a media player”. It also supports WiFi 802.11 b/g/n. The name of the device is obviously a codename, but the model number is H2G2-42. No pictures were filed, so this is all we have to go on.
I know a lot of people have been holding out on buying a Google TV box with the hopes that Google will introduce something soon. Sounds like everyone’s prayers are about to be answered. Lets just hope it’s not another bust like the Nexus Q.
Google TV has always been shunned a little more than other Google products, despite running Android. Well, if you were an early adopter of Google TV, there’s good news. According to Google, Google TV is being moved to Android 4.2.2, and Google TV is being reworked to allow OEM partners to quickly update their devices. The time frame will supposedly be cut from “months” down to “weeks.” Google TV will also be moved to the latest version of Chrome, as well as Chrome’s rather speedy six-week release cycle. Good news for owners, as this means your devices won’t be obsoleted quickly.
Google also said in their Google+ post that older devices should begin receiving updates soon, and we can expect to see new devices later this year. Nexus Q 2.0, anyone?
source: Google Plus
One annoyance of Google TV has always been the lack of video streaming apps for the platform. PlayOn has arrived for Google TV to help, allowing users to stream Hulu, ABC, NBC, CBS, Fox, Comedy Central, MTV, VH1, Nickelodeon, and more than 50 other channels to the set-top box.
For a long time PlayOn has offered a way to stream content from your computer to devices that didn’t support it, including Netflix before it was officially available for Android. PlayOn streams video content though a home network, so a server application needs to be installed on your PC in addition to the PlayOn app on the device being streamed to.
Normally, PlayOn costs $25 per year or $50 for a lifetime license, but for a limited time, PlayOn is free for Google TV, so go and get it now. More information on PlayOn and the official press release can be found after the break.
It was introduced at CES as the ASUS Qube, but it will officially be spelled as the Cube. I found it interesting that they spelled it with a “Q” in the first place, and I suspect there was too much confusion with the Nexus Q, hence the change. Last week it was reported that it would be available on April 23rd, which was darn close as it looks like it will be April 24.
How do we know? Newegg has the Cube on their site with that release date, and it’s available for pre-order now. Pricing is a little higher than what we were told as well. The plan was for $129, but now it’s $139. However, Newegg is offering a $10 promotional gift card, but only for people who order by April 23. This pricing is very surprising when you consider that most of the competition is around $99, and ASUS has a strong history of pricing their Android devices competitively.
I didn’t get to spend too much time with the Cube, but I didn’t see anything that it offered more than other Google TV devices except for the unique cube-like user interface. Priced at $139, does the Cube have a chance of helping bring Google TV to the forefront? Check out our hands on video, and/or hit the break for Neweggs’s 21 minute demo video.
We had a chance to see the ASUS Qube in action back in January at CES, but we have no idea why it wasn’t released yet. We were told that it would be available in February/March for a price of $129. We aren’t sure what the holdup was, but those of you that are waiting for this one will be happy to know that it will be available starting April 23rd for the same price. Unfortunately we don’t know if this is a global release date or if it’s for one region.
The ASUS Qube is a Google TV device that is not only shaped like a cube, but the interface is cube-like. It’s actually a departure from what ASUS has been doing in that they really haven’t change the Android UI all that much as far as their tablets. For whatever reason, they decided to change things up with their first Google TV offering. It also costs a little more than other recent offerings from VIZIO and Hisense. Check out our hands on from CES and let us know if the Qube will be the one that finally gets you onboard with Google TV.