Google TV hasn’t been the company’s best venture, but that doesn’t stop other companies from expanding on the concept. At CES 2014, Hisense showed off their new set-top box, the Pulse Pro, which runs what Hisense calls Android TV v4. While it’s technically not Google TV, it runs Google TV apps and has the same PrimeTime guide.
However, Pulse Pro has some big differences from Google TV, including a very image-focused home screen design that allows for quicker access to hubs like Netflix, Vudu, and Amazon Video. Also, Pulse Pro comes with a better remote that has built-in buttons for Netflix, Vudu, and Amazon in addition to a microphone and motion sensor. Pricing and availability info is still up in the air, so we’ll have to see just how well it works.
Source: 9to5 Google
Plex, the popular media streaming service, recently added support for Chromecast— to keep things up to date, the company just launched a new website with direct casting options.
Koushik Dutta has done it again. His popular app, AllCast (which doesn’t require root access), has been released to the Play Store. The app will let you stream pictures and video to pretty much any device. This includes Xbox 360, Xbox One, Roku, Apple TV, Samsung and Panasonic TVs, Google TV, and all DLNA-enabled devices.
Unsurprisingly, Chromecast is not supported because it’s still heavily restricted by Google. You can download the application for free, but you’ll get ads, splash-screens, and a limit on length of videos you can watch. To remove the limitations, you’ll have to pay a $4.99 fee for the unlock key— a price well worth it when you consider what you’re getting from the app.
Hit the break for the link to the app in the Play Store.
Nobody ever questioned the simplicity of the Chromecast. It came without any pre-release buzz, and unsurprisingly was able to create all the hype for itself at launch.
In 2014, Google will have some even bigger plans for the Chromecast.
Not only will the device launch in a number of new countries, but the SDK will be opened up so that thousands of apps can be made Chromecast-compatible, as well as a number of other devices as Google plans to partner with a number of electronics companies. The ultimate goal is to make even the most rare apps “castable.”
Google TV may be dead as a brand but Google isn’t leaving your living room just yet. Coinciding with a previous rumor, The Information is reporting that the company has plans to release a set-top box of its own in 2014. The device, which is being dubbed as ‘Nexus TV’ for now, will go head-to-head with Apple TV, Roku, and Amazon’s set-top box that was delayed to next year.
It would unsurprisingly be able to stream services like Netflix, Hulu, WatchESPN, and more while also running Android games. It is believed that games are controlled via a touchscreen controller; however, it is likely that this means Android phones and tablets can be used as a controller. Not on board is live TV, which isn’t too much of a surprise since it was a feature that failed to gain traction with Google TV. The gaming aspect is what could differentiate ‘Nexus TV’ from Chromecast because the $35 dongle has yet to, and likely couldn’t handle, gaming. ‘Nexus TV’ is rumored to stay true to the Nexus brand and deliver respected specifications at an aggressive price.
What would ‘Nexus TV’ need to make you choose it over the current crop of set-top boxes?
Source: The Information
Finally fulfilling a promise made back in May, some of LG’s Google TV devices are receiving the long-awaited Android 4.2.2 update. While updates are always welcome, this one takes away some of the finer treats of a Google TV device. The Chrome browser has been switched from the PC to Android version, leaving users without access to services like Hulu, watchESPN, or Crackle because Adobe Flash is gone. The update is 297.8 MB, so sit tight if you plan on grabbing it right away. Hit the break for the full changelog and another image of the update. Read more
It was recently reported that Google is dropping the “Google TV” branding in favor of “Android TV.” How Android TV is going to differ (if at all) from Google TV remains a question, but it’s obvious Google is serious about the living room with the recent launch of the Chromecast. The latest word out of Korea is that Android 4.4 Kit Kat is going to include more enhancements regarding Android TV rather than smartphone UI.
According to etnews, many industry insiders have said “I heard Google say the next OS has greatly improved its utilization in TV. In particular, there will be many changes in the interface between smart devices and the TV.” Two questions come to mind: What does Google have in store for us and how will they get more TV manufacturers to adopt Android TV? The former will probably be answered soon enough, but the latter is more difficult. Other than set-top boxes from Vizio, Hisense, and ASUS, the only TV manufacturer on board is LG. Samsung has no plans to bring Android TV to their sets, and in fact, they are more likely to utilize Tizen instead. We should hopefully no more by the end of the month.
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.