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Vizio Launches Co-Star, $99 Google TV Box

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Only yesterday, Sony announced that it was taking pre-orders for its $199 NSZ-GS7 Google TV set-top box. One day later, Vizio is announcing the long-awaited launch of its own Google TV box, one that has two things the Sony lacks: a catchy name and a low price. The $99 Vizio Co-Star offers the latest version of Google TV, and can connect directly to a cable or satellite box. The promise is that viewers can then enjoy their favorite live or recorded programming, as well as Google TV apps at the same time. Vizio says it's more than a set-top box, delivering an integrated smart TV experience.

The Co-Star includes 1080p HD and 3D video support, as well as 802.11n Wi-Fi connectivity. The Co-Star comes with a Bluetooth remote that includes a touchpad and a QWERTY keyboard. It's a universal remote, and can be configured to work with other entertainment center electronics.

The box's Google TV features let users browse websites and search for online video content, doing so with picture-in-picture technology.

Vizio first announced the Co-Star at CES under a different name. Covering the announcement, StreamingMedia.com's Dan Rayburn said the device trumps Roku and Apple TV in features.

"Vizio has a great brand name, lots of penetration in the living room with their TV sets, and, if the device performs as well as Vizio claims, the company should sell a lot of these boxes," wrote Rayburn.

Vizio will begin taking pre-orders for the Co-Star in July, and will initially offer free shipping. The Co-Star is only being sold through the Vizio website.

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