- Audio & Video
The Five Best Google TV Set Top Boxes to Buy for Your HD TV
In case you haven't noticed, Google is slowly taking over our lives. From applications for the way we surf the Internet (Search, Mail, Ads, Chrome, Google+, and YouTube), to ways we can use our mobile devices to interact (Android and Play), Google products are becoming dominant. Now they are coming into our living rooms with Google TV.
Launched in 2010, Google TV was not an instant success. Only Sony and Logitech introduced their own compatible devices. Fast forward to the present: Improvements include souped-up software (the latest Android OS) and more channels (in addition to HBO, Amazon Video, YouTube, PrimeTime, Netflix, and RedBox Instant). The list of companies jumping on the Google bandwagon has grown.
We have selected five of the best Google TV boxes on the market so far.
Five Best Google TV Set Top Boxes: A Breakdown
Netgear NeoTV Prime
More responsive trackpad
Remote includes touch screen and keyboard
Double-sided remote with touch screen on front and keyboard on back
Supports live TV streaming (with SlingPlayer box)
Separate optical port
Convenient teardrop-shaped remote
Voice search function embedded in remote
Priced lower than Sony NSZ-GS8
Easy access to streaming apps
Universal remote compatible
One touch all-apps display
Priced higher than some players
Poor remote control with no backlight and awkward navigation keys
Large keyboard remote
Lower price point
Priced higher than other players
Poor wifi signal
1. Sony NSZ-GS8 Internet Player
Released in July 2013, the Sony NSZ-GS8 Internet Player is the latest Google TV box from consumer electronics leader, Sony Corporation. The NSZ-GS8 is the successor to the popular Sony Internet Player NSZ-GS7, which was launched in 2012.
What is the difference? Aside from the last digit, not much. Like the predecessor, you will be able to browse the web with Google Chrome, launch made-for-TV apps such as Netflix, Pandora, YouTube, Amazon Instant Video and Google Primetime, play games on your TV by downloading apps from Google Play, and play around with the NSZ-GS8 using the intuitive remote control that features a touch screen, QWERTY keyboard, and motion sensor. What's new is the Voice Search function embedded in the remote control. So you won't have a hard time searching for the latest viral video while surfing YouTube in the dark.
Sony's latest iteration of the Google TV box means that the company believes in the future of Google TV and the rest of the world will follow suit.
2. Vizio Co-Star
This square-shaped hockey puck is Vizio's version of the Google TV box called the Co-Star. The Co-Star is perfect for those looking for a budget Google TV box because it only costs about $99.00.
Despite it's clunky and bulky remote, software issues and generic aesthetics, it's still currently the best and cheapest option to experience Google TV if you don't want to spend about twice as much for the Sony NSZ-GS8.
Buy from Amazon
3. Netgear NeoTV Prime
The Netgear GTV-100 NAS NeoTV Prime belongs to our list because of it has an amazing price (below $100), supports live TV streaming with the SlingPlayer app (needs a SlingBox to enable this), plays Flash movies and easily accesses popular streaming apps such as YouTube, Amazon Instant Video, Netflix and HBO Go with the customized buttons in the remote control. We also love it because internet browsing is surprisingly fast.
However, the remote control is Netgear's Achilles' heel. The lack of a backlight in the QWERTY keyboard plus the difficulty in scrolling web pages with up-down-left-right buttons are pretty disappointing. Overall, this Google TV device is not that bad for the price.
4. Logitech Revue
The Logitech Revue Google TV Companion box has been around since 2010 but still belongs to our list of the top Google TV boxes in the market. Although it is one of the more expensive Google TV set-top boxes, the advantages of buying this device include its separate optical port, compatibility with Logitech Harmony universal remote, great Netflix app, optional Logitech camera for video calling, and convenient 2-finger scrolling on the track pad of its keyboard.
The downside is the large keyboard remote, which could bring clutter and mess to the zen feel of your living room. However, if you don't mind the bulkiness of the remote keyboard, it actually sets the Logitech Revue apart from the other Google TV boxes out there because having that keyboard on your lap while you watch TV makes it easier to search for channels, post on Facebook or look for the latest viral video in YouTube. And because of that, we consider the Logitech Revue one of our favorites.
Buy from Amazon
5. Hisense Pulse
Practically everything is made in China now and this Google TV box is actually a Chinese brand that has successfully made it on the Google TV scene. Aside from the price, the things we love about the Hisense Pulse are: the handy, tear drop-type remote, easy set-up, Picture-In-Picture (PIP) button, All Apps button (shows all the installed apps in one click of a button), responsive track pad (unlike the Vizio Co-Star), and Google Primetime.
The downside? Poor wifi signal, single IR blaster, and the Voice search function is still not working.
Overall, for the price, the Hisense Pulse is pretty decent and belongs to top five Google TV boxes.
What's your favorite Google TV Box?
So, what's your favorite Google TV box? We hope we are able to help you choose the perfect Google TV set-top box that will pair nicely with your living room's HD TV.
For more information about Google TV boxes and for reviews of other brands in the market, please head on over to www.googletvboxreviews.com.
© 2013 Byron Cooper