Google rumored to be working on a Nexus-branded set-top box

By on December 9, 2013, 1:30 PM
google, amazon, android, nexus, set-top box, nexus tv box

Google is rumored to be working on a Nexus-branded set-top box that could debut in the first half of 2014. In addition to typical streaming media duties, the box will double as a gaming platform according to people who have seen the device or were told about it as first published by The Information (subscription required).

The box reportedly doesn’t handle live television but it does run Android game apps using a touchscreen controller. It isn’t entirely clear if the touchscreen controller in question is a device bundled with the box or simply a user’s existing smartphone or tablet although if I had to venture a guess, it’d be the latter.

The publication suggests that an aggressively priced gaming machine that is versatile enough to play streaming videos from the web could give Google the advertising leverage it needs to make a serious run at the living room.

Google is off to a solid start with regard to their living room takeover as the $35 Chromecast dongle has sold incredibly well thus far. Sure, a dongle is a bit different than a true dedicated set-top box and as Engadget points out, it’ll be interesting to see what the search giant can bring to the table to compete with the likes of Apple TV, Roku and even the Ouya.

Amazon has also been the subject of similar rumors as of late. Given their vast content network, they stand a good chance to emerge as one of the frontrunners when (and if) they ever bring a set-top box to market.




User Comments: 9

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MilwaukeeMike said:

Another tv 'box' ?! Seriously, between satellite, cable, Apple TV, Amazon TV, Roku, Smart TVs, Home Theater PCs (HTPCs), the Xbox One, PS4, internet equipped Blu-ray players, the Wii U, Chromecast and now Google TV, the local community college is going to have to start offering a course in internet entertainment just so people can figure out what to get!

t3chn0vamp said:

...If ya smell what the 'Google' is cooking. lol

customcarvin customcarvin said:

Wait... didn't they already try this? I think it was called "Google TV" or something like that. -"¯-"

All these "set-top boxes" coming out, and I'm still waiting for one under a hundred bucks that can run XBMC and play 1080p x264 without any issues. My Pi does really well for what I paid, but its still too sluggish. I've been eyeballing the low end intel NUC to use as a media center pc, but the price is still a bit too high for me to bite.

Skidmarksdeluxe Skidmarksdeluxe said:

If I had to buy all these set top boxes I'd have to throw out all my lounge (or living room furniture if you speak American) and TV.

mrtraver said:

My Seagate Freeagent Theater+ is dying, but the rumor is enough for me to hold out for a while on a replacement. I'm looking for something else that can stream local files either from a network or from a drive, as well as access internet services such as Netflix.

Vrmithrax Vrmithrax, TechSpot Paladin, said:

Wait... didn't they already try this? I think it was called "Google TV" or something like that. -"¯-"

All these "set-top boxes" coming out, and I'm still waiting for one under a hundred bucks that can run XBMC and play 1080p x264 without any issues. My Pi does really well for what I paid, but its still too sluggish. I've been eyeballing the low end intel NUC to use as a media center pc, but the price is still a bit too high for me to bite.

I've frequently used an OUYA (friend's setup) running XBMC at 1080p, decodes h.264 just fine, and it's $99... Was there something else missing in the equation?

hitech0101 said:

There is barely enough watchable content on tv these days.

customcarvin customcarvin said:

I've frequently used an OUYA (friend's setup) running XBMC at 1080p, decodes h.264 just fine, and it's $99... Was there something else missing in the equation?

Hi Vrmithrax! Thanks for the suggestion. I was actually considering getting the OUYA, but then I started doing some research, and found that there are a bunch of - still - unresolved issues that make me nervous. For instance, they are having licencing issues with some of the audio codecs, there is no CEC remote support, and lack of full hardware acceleration scares me off from spending $100. Besides, I wouldn't use the "gaming" aspect of the system (I have my Optimus G, and PC for that)

The G-Box MX2 looks more appealing to me atm, as it has a custom build of XBMC for Android, and its being streamlined for that device. Unfortunately there seems to be many reports of poor manufacturing, as I am always reading about failed units in forums and user reviews.

At the end of the day, I don't want to spend $100 to gamble on another device that might work, or just work *okay*. I would rather wait until Intel NUC prices drop and get that. It will cover all of my criteria requirements, and then some. ie: a proven reliable brand, full hardware acceleration, CEC, low power consumption, double as a pc, and it will even have full XBMC plugin compatibility since its x86/64 based. Unfortunately, it fails one: price... its ~$150 for the lowest model, and doesn't come with RAM, making it a somewhat expensive solution :-/

Vrmithrax Vrmithrax, TechSpot Paladin, said:

Hi Vrmithrax! Thanks for the suggestion. I was actually considering getting the OUYA, but then I started doing some research, and found that there are a bunch of - still - unresolved issues that make me nervous. For instance, they are having licencing issues with some of the audio codecs, there is no CEC remote support, and lack of full hardware acceleration scares me off from spending $100. Besides, I wouldn't use the "gaming" aspect of the system (I have my Optimus G, and PC for that)

Yah, funny enough, my friend uses it just for the XBMC and streaming (Netflix, Pandora) primarily. I'm not aware of him hitting any of those codec snags, but I'll have to ask him if he's ever had it go wonky on him. The only gaming he does with it is a little retro emulation stuff, which he freely admits he could do on his phone or tablet if he chose - I think he just likes reliving his NES/SNES childhood on the big screen

I'm a little with you though, been on the fence with OUYA. Great concept, still a little rough on the implementation and acceptance. If they keep to their planned 1 year update cycle, we may see a nice Tegra4 (or similarly powerful) unit in 2014. It's slowly maturing, the new UI is a real improvement, and it's still got some legs. It'll be interesting to see how it fares when/if the big dogs like Google and Amazon jump into the same pool. I think it'll be a struggle, which is sad considering the OUYA was really the early conceptual front-runner for the "Android Gaming on TV" wave.

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