Report: Android TV is Google's new set-top box

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Less than a week after Amazon debuted Fire TV, it appears Google is ready to launch its own set-top box. Called "Android TV," Google's next attempt at taking over the living room will do pretty much what every other company is doing. "Android TV is an entertainment interface, not a computing platform," writes Google. "It’s all about finding and enjoying content with the least amount of friction." It will be "cinematic, fun, fluid, and fast."

Google has already attempted a number of TV-connected devices. However, Google TV was largely considered a failure. Chromecast, a $35 HDMI dongle, has been popular, and won't be phased out after the introduction of Android TV.

Like other TV-connected devices, Android TV will let you play movies, shows, apps, and of course, games. The initial library appears to be ports of mobile games, including Plants vs Zombies 2, Temple Run, Where's My Water, and more. However, with the exception of Ingress, it doesn't appear Google has much of a focus on gaming. According to The Verge, the device will support "optional" game controllers.

It being a Google device, search will be Android TV's unique differentiator, letting users find content--no matter what app they're in--by using voice search. But will it work better than Microsoft's offering?

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From The Chatty

  • reply
    April 7, 2014 7:00 AM

    Andrew Yoon posted a new article, Report: Android TV is Google's new set-top box.

    Less than a week after Amazon debuted Fire TV, it appears Google is ready to launch its own set-top box. Called "Android TV," Google's next attempt...

    • reply
      April 7, 2014 7:07 AM

      great, just bought a chromecast. the thing barely streams anything as it is and it's too small to be useful to be a paperweight.

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        April 7, 2014 7:08 AM

        Do you have to plug this thing into a computer (like the chromecast)?

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          April 7, 2014 7:09 AM

          I mean, do you have to stream stuff from a computer, as opposed to streaming directly from the internet like every other streaming device.

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            April 7, 2014 7:14 AM

            yeah if you don't it might actually be useful. also if it has an ethernet jack.

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              April 7, 2014 7:18 AM

              I don't understand why people get a boner over the chromecast. It does all the same shit as every other streaming device, except it's totally worthless unless you're streaming from a standalone computer? What's the point in that??? Is there something I'm missing?

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                April 7, 2014 7:24 AM

                You don't need a computer to stream to Chromecast. If you want to stream from a desktop Chrome tab you can, or if you have Plex streaming you need your desktop on anyways to stream to any other device as well. With Chromecast you can stream directly from the internet with HBO Go, Hulu, and Netflix plus a few others without your computer but with your phone. For example, you launch the Netflix app on your phone and then just hit the stream to Chromecast button and it just goes to your TV. This way your phone acts as the remote control to browse, play, rewind or skip around the stream.

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                  April 7, 2014 7:27 AM

                  But you still need another piece of hardware, which makes it not really worthwhile for a lot of people.

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                    April 7, 2014 7:35 AM

                    But it's perfect for some, myself included. I use it exclusively, even after having a Roku and a 360 that could do essentially the same thing. It's much faster to use, and I always have my phone in arms length.

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                      April 7, 2014 7:40 AM

                      Yea, I know it's great for a lot of people. Just not me.

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                        April 7, 2014 7:45 AM

                        Sure, I feel like there are only two very small camps that it would be useful for. Old TVs that you don't want to spend much time setting up with a streaming solution, and people who hate dedicated remotes. Most people don't need one.

                        However, there are a ton of new applications coming out that allow for neat screen casting options for extremely cheap with easy setup, so the user base could potentially grow.

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                    April 7, 2014 7:50 AM

                    I wouldn't consider it another piece of hardware. You would actually have one less piece since most everyone has a smartphone already. I think for me starting a stream from my phone from anywhere in the house is the biggest plus for me.

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                    April 7, 2014 9:09 AM

                    Who doesn't have a smartphone or tablet these days? Plus the Chromecast is only $35.

                    I have an HTPC and my TV has apps built it, but I mostly use my Chromecast these days. It's nicer to browse on a tablet.

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                  April 7, 2014 7:31 AM

                  It's dumb that you must have at least a phone to control it. No remote. Technically there's not even a UI on the thing anyway.

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                    April 7, 2014 7:41 AM

                    That's pretty much the entire point of it. I'm not sure why you're so disappointed about the device when you had no idea what it was for. I absolutely understand why some people don't like it (I'd never get one for my parents, for instance) but you're upset that it's not something it never claimed to be.

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                      April 7, 2014 8:09 AM

                      I thought the point of it was to stream video and I've yet to be able to do that.

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                        April 7, 2014 8:18 AM

                        I really don't feel like that's the fault of the device. It couldn't be easier to set up and use.

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                    April 7, 2014 7:47 AM

                    I think its pretty handy. If I'm in the kitchen/bathroom/bedroom and my phone is within reach I can make sure to start a movie from Netflix, play music/podcasts through my surround sound system hooked up to my TV, start streaming some random internet videos all from my phone without having to leave the kitchen while I'm cooking and hunt down the remote.

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                      April 7, 2014 8:07 AM

                      So you leave your TV on and to the correct input always?

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                        April 7, 2014 8:10 AM

                        Chromecast should switch for you if you start casting something.

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                          April 7, 2014 8:12 AM

                          Yup, ^^^ this. Mine will switch my receiver to the correct channel and turn my TV on.

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                April 7, 2014 7:30 AM

                I just wanted to check it out because it was cheap and I'm regretting it.

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                  April 7, 2014 7:31 AM

                  You can get a Roku for $20 more, see if you can sell your Chromecast back for a few bucks on the amazon marketplace.

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        April 7, 2014 7:17 AM

        Cut the cord after I bought a Chromecast and am able to watch everything I was interested in previously (Hulu, Netflix, HBO Go, Youtube) and everything I have on my local machine (Plex).

        Leaning towards you not understanding how to use the Chromecast for this one.

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          April 7, 2014 7:22 AM

          Yes, this. The chromecast is the cheapest and easiest way to cut the cord for sure. And the SDK release means more and more developers are making things for it.

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            April 7, 2014 7:30 AM

            It's only a few bucks cheaper than a Roku, and you can't use it standalone (unless I'm missing something).

            You google nerds need to realize not everyone wants to dick around with their phone or laptop to watch a movie ;)

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              April 7, 2014 7:33 AM

              I didn't realize the roku had come down in price that much. The last time i looked at one they were $75 still.

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                April 7, 2014 7:35 AM

                I got a Roku3 refurb for $50 a few months back, it's a really solid device. My only complaints are pretty minor: a) the UI is kind of clunky and b) it never shuts off (it uses very little power so it's not a big deal but I still don't like the idea of it sitting around using energy when I'm not using it).

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              April 7, 2014 7:45 AM

              Dick around with your phone or dick around with a remote...It's all the same to me. I just wish more apps supported the Chromecast.

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          April 7, 2014 7:29 AM

          I am in Canada. Half of that shit doesn't exist, DNS is hard coded in, also Netflix doesn't work on it all the time and plex hosted from a qnap Nas streams a few seconds at a time even though the boxee in the other room 6ft away streams perfectly without plex.

          I shouldn't complain about an impulse buy I made won't research...

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        April 7, 2014 9:46 AM

        super cheap netflix solution for my old televisions. i can't complain about that.

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      April 7, 2014 7:20 AM

      I'm sure Google will get this right the third time...

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        April 7, 2014 7:22 AM

        Third time?

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          April 7, 2014 7:32 AM

          I assume

          1 Google tv
          2 Chromecast
          3 Android TV

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            April 7, 2014 8:47 AM

            But the chromecast is actually a good product. Unlike googleTV.

            So i don't count that as a failure or really in the same exact space as a set top box...?

          • foo
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            April 7, 2014 9:49 AM

            don't forget they had that spherical thing too

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              April 7, 2014 10:05 AM

              Did that ever come out?

              • foo
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                April 7, 2014 10:16 AM

                yeah, i forget what it was called, but everyone at google io during the announcement got one for free, then they sold it on the play store for a few months, then it just disappeared

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                  April 7, 2014 10:21 AM

                  The Nexus Q. I still have one sitting here.

                  It's kind of a shame, because it's super nice hardware with a really great audio amplifier in it. All things said it was a COMPLETE failure, but you never know until you build shit to see if people will use it.

                  It turns out that sharing youtube videos at a party and giving anybody "hijack" capabilities isn't that popular. And it was before Google Play was worth a shit, so nobody really had any music to play on it.

                  I think it would be better now as a network music player, like a Sonos, if it was cheap enough and integrated with the chromecast or something.

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          April 7, 2014 7:35 AM

          I assume that the first Google TV boxes and chromecast are counting.

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      April 7, 2014 7:33 AM

      All I want is something that runs plex and supports 24p output. I'd love to get rid of my 2 wdtv boxes in favor of something with more than a dlna file browser, but they play everything and look really good.

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      April 7, 2014 9:26 AM

      Not sure I'm ready to step into another Android based set top box. I have a bad taste in my mouth that might as well be Android ejaculate from the last Android based set top box I purchased that was a bluray player running on an Android OS. Talk about no updates or support. Its been 3 years now and I'm still waiting for fucking Amazon Instant Play to be in HD.

      I'm pretty sure this cant be good for Sony's Vita TV, IMO they should have released sooner with promises of Playstation Now, 1080P streaming (Netflix, VUDU, etc..) Remote Play for PS4, PS4 controller support and a pledge to make a continued effort to make more games compatible. I'd rather have a Vita TV over the Android TV and Amazon's box. I'm sure some will disagree with me but even in Vita TV's current state, it is more appealing to me.

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        April 7, 2014 9:39 AM

        Vita TV was never going to make it. Not the right branding to really be a contender, regardless of its actual capabilities

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          April 7, 2014 10:52 AM

          It's still not even available in the states right?

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            April 7, 2014 8:18 PM

            Its not available yet and no announcement yet on any pending date or confirmation it will ever come.

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      April 7, 2014 9:38 AM

      didnt they just fail at google tv?

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      April 7, 2014 10:12 AM

      There needs to be a box like these that can do OTA DVR. Till then I can't replace my HTPC

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        April 7, 2014 10:54 AM

        multiple tuners and the required storage would bump the device up a couple hundred bucks mote likely. I could see some kind of addon with those components being doable though.

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          April 7, 2014 11:44 AM

          I'd be happy with compatability with a networked tuner and an external HD. I have an HDHomeRun on my network already I just need the TV front end UI.

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            April 7, 2014 11:51 AM

            That seems like something the HDhomerun people could do then. They just need to make an adroid app right?

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      April 7, 2014 11:41 AM

      Personally, I'm eager to see what Apple's new box is going to be. They might one-up all these devices.

    • Zek
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      April 7, 2014 11:46 AM

      Whatever your preferred platform is, the growth of this market can only be a good thing for cord cutters and thus consumers in general. The only way to loosen the death grip that cable providers have over the industry is for these devices to become the norm so content providers have a reason to play ball.