Google Debuts Nexus Player, First Android TV Set-Top Device
Google announced its latest attempt to conquer the living room market, the Android TV platform, at its I/O developer conference in June, and now it has introduced the first set-top box built on that platform. Created with Asus, the Nexus Player offers all the streaming TV and movie options that a $99 set-top box needs, but adds in Chromecast support and even gaming. While the set-top box market feels crowded and consumers might have a hard time keeping track of the competitors, those features could give the Nexus Player a needed advantage.
The Nexus Player is a compact (4.7-inch) disc designed to be put on display. It only works with an HDMI TV connection and a Wi-Fi internet connection. It doesn't include a USB port, but does have a micro USB port, which could make adding downloaded content more difficult. It runs off a 1.8Ghz Quad Core Intel Atom processor, and includes 1GB of RAM and 8GB of storage. The ultra-streamlined remote makes even the Roku remote look complicated. It includes a microphone for voice searching, and should understand natural language commands.
The gamble with the Nexus Player is the optional $39 gaming controller. Google will either tap a large market of people who want a more casual living room gaming experience than the current consoles provide or it will find that people don't want gaming on a set-top box.
The Nexus Player will be available for pre-order from the Google Play store on October 17th, and will ship on November 3rd.
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