Google Debuts Android TV Player

Just in time for the holiday shopping season, Google is plunging into the growing media streaming market with its first Android TV platform device.

Google (Nasdaq: GOOG), which tried but failed to conquer the home TV screen with its previous Google TV platform, is counting on its new puck-shaped Nexus Player to score much better with consumers. The small streaming box, manufactured by AsusTek Computer Inc. , will be available for pre-orders starting Friday and become available in stores on November 3, selling for $99.99. An optional gaming controller will cost an extra $39.99.

Powered by the Android TV operating system for smart TVs, tablets, set-tops, streaming devices and other video devices that Google announced in June, the Nexus Player will feature a remote control device that uses voice-based search technology, much like the new Amazon Fire TV media streaming box that Amazon introduced earlier this year. The Nexus Player will also feature nearly 30 video and audio apps, including ones for Netflix, Hulu Plus, YouTube and Pandora. And it will support Google Cast, the same technology used by Google's Chromecast streaming media dongle to "cast" content to TV sets and other video devices in the home. (See Can Google Get TV Right?)

Want to know more about OTT services? Check out our dedicated OTT content channel here on Light Reading.

Google announced the Nexus Player along with the new Nexus 6 "phablet" from Motorola and the new Nexus 9 tablet from HTC on Wednesday afternoon. Like the Nexus Player, the other two devices will run on the latest version of the Android operating system, also known as Android 5.0 Lollipop. (See Google's Nexus 6 'Phablet' Is LTE-A Ready.)

Nexus Player will likely compete most directly with the Amazon Fire TV and the equally new Sony Playstation TV, which Sony just launched in North America earlier this week. All three devices are primarily designed as gaming devices, although all three also offer plenty of video programming.

But the new Google entry could also give Roku and Apple TV, the two early leaders in the online media streaming player market, a good run for their money as well. In a recent report, IHS predicted that the Android TV operating system could disrupt the streaming market by equipping smaller, lesser-known hardware makers with a complete, ready-made platform for media player use. So the Nexus Player could be the first example of that. (See Android TV Could Roil Streaming Market – IHS.)

— Alan Breznick, Cable/Video Practice Leader, Light Reading

Phil_Britt 10/31/2014 | 5:18:53 PM
Re: Energy Joe,

You mentioned a couple of big factors, but apparently the digital channel switching is another big issue. People leave it on because turning it off may mean needing to reprogram for recordings.
Joe Stanganelli 10/31/2014 | 4:40:54 PM
Re: Energy @Phil: I suspect part of the reason why it is an "energy hog" is that 1) many people leave it on all the time and 2) even when it's "off," it still has, in many cases, an electricity-using display.
Phil_Britt 10/31/2014 | 2:48:45 PM
Re: Energy Joe,

It might use more energy, but one of the largest energy hogs in the home is the DVR/cable box, so the incremental cost of adding this device would likely be nil. 
Joe Stanganelli 10/18/2014 | 2:28:15 AM
Energy One problem I'd be concerned about: Android is a notorious energy/battery-drainer.  Might an Android TV use more energy and in the long run cost more for users?
danielcawrey 10/17/2014 | 6:38:38 PM
Re: Run for the money I also think this is a me-too device. But I don't think that will matter. People are familiar with Google and Android as a brand.

And given that streaming video is probably going to become the number one way people access content in the future, people are going to want to have consumer choice in devices that they can buy for access. 
Joe Stanganelli 10/17/2014 | 8:05:21 AM
Re: Run for the money Me-too product development from Google?  Never!  *coughcoughGooglePluscoughcough*
Mitch Wagner 10/17/2014 | 6:29:06 AM
Run for the money Am I missing something here? This doesn't look like a device that will give Roku and Apple TV a run for their money. It looks like a me-too device -- it does the same thing as those devices for the same price. And those two devices have top brand recognition behind them.

Am I missing something.
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