TV- and PC-maker Vizio announced today (June 26) a new set-top box loaded with online video and game options.
The new Co-Star Stream Player is based on the controversial Google TV online system that provides streaming internt video and Web access, but its complex interface has been met with widespread disdain. New versions of the software have made improvements on the original, however, so this product may meet a better reception.
Vizio is including a Bluetooth remote with an "innovative touchpad" and a full keyboard on the underside. The quality of the remote could have a big influence on how people receive the product. And at $100, the Co-Star Stream Player is not as big of an investment as previous Google set-top boxes. (Some flat screens also have Google TV built in.) [ How LG Models Will Improve Google TV ]
The Co-Star Stream Player integrates with cable and satellite TV boxes or a DVD or Blu-ray player. It has one HDMI input to attach either a TV or a disc video source, but not both. (An HDMI output goes to the TV.) The product's universal remote controls both the Co-Star and the TV or disc sources.
The Stream Player offers apps that play internet videos, including the by-now-obligatory Netflix, as well as Amazon Instant Video, YouTube and iHeartRadio.
According to Vizio, it's also the first such box to offer access to OnLive, which allows users to play high-end video games that are hosted in the cloud instead of running on a console such as Xbox 360 or PlayStation 3. (OnLive does sell its own set-top adapter, but that by itself costs $100.)
Vizio says it will be taking preorders for the Co-Star Stream Player on its website, sometime in July.